World Philosophy as a Living Experience
Diana Lobel takes readers on a journey across Eastern and Western philosophical and religious traditions to discover a beauty and purpose at the heart of reality that makes life worth living. Guided by the ideas of ancient thinkers and the insight of the philosophical historian Pierre Hadot, The Quest for God and the Good treats philosophy not as an abstract, theoretical discipline, but as a living experience.
For centuries, human beings have struggled to know why we are here, whether a higher being or dimension exists, and whether our existence is fundamentally good. Above all, we want to know whether the search for God and the good will bring happiness. Following in the path of the ancient philosophers, Lobel directly connects conceptions of God or an Absolute with notions of the good, illuminating diverse classical texts and thinkers. She explores the Bible and the work of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Maimonides, al-Farabi, and al-Ghazali. She reads the Tao Te Ching, I Ching, Bhagavad Gita, and Upanishads, as well as the texts of Theravada, Mahayana, and Zen Buddhism, and traces the repercussions of these works in the modern thought of Alfred North Whitehead, Iris Murdoch, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Charles Taylor.
While each of these texts and thinkers sets forth a distinct and unique vision, all maintain that human beings find fulfillment in their contact with beauty and purpose. Rather than arriving at one universal definition of God or the good, Lobel demonstrates the aesthetic value of multiple visions presented by many thinkers across cultures. The Quest for God and the Good sets forth a path of investigation and discovery culminating in intellectual and spiritual communion.
Diana Lobel's control of the sources is most impressive, and her writing is very lucid. She has a knack for using everyday, concrete examples to explicate complex concepts, and I highly recommend this book.
She enlists her readers in a close reading and careful analysis of enduring texts from several major religious and philosophical traditions as a way to gain and understanding of key issues in fundamental metaphysics and moral philosophy.
For those looking for an introduction to world philosophy, this is an excellent option...Lobel is to be thanked for providing us with a wonderful book that both instructs and inspires our own philosophical and spiritual journeys.
Tracy Sayuki Tiemeier
Lobel's Quest for God and the Good is about the travel, not the destination; it is about raising the questions, not answering them once and for all.
1. "God Saw That It Was Good": The Creation of the World in the Hebrew Bible
2. A Divine Craftsman Shapes All for the Good: Plato's Realm of the Forms
3. Change and the Good: Chinese Perspectives
4. The Harmony of Reason and Revelation: Augustine and Maimonides on Good and Evil
5. You Are the Absolute: Philosophies of India
6. Compassion, Wisdom, Awakening: The Way of Buddhism
7. The Good Is That to Which All Things Aim: Aristotle on God and the Good
8. The Philosopher as Teacher: Al-F?r?b? on Contemplation and Action
9. The Imitation of God: Maimonides on the Active and the Contemplative Life
10. The Dance of Human Expression: al-Ghaz?l? and Maimonides
Read the >preface and an excerpt from the introduction to The Quest for God and the Good.