The Sacrality of the Secular

Postmodern Philosophy of Religion

Bradley B. Onishi

Columbia University Press

The Sacrality of the Secular

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Pub Date: April 2018

ISBN: 9780231183925

280 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $65.00£50.00

Pub Date: April 2018

ISBN: 9780231545235

280 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $64.99£50.00

The Sacrality of the Secular

Postmodern Philosophy of Religion

Bradley B. Onishi

Columbia University Press

Through a bold and historically rooted vision for the future of philosophy of religion, The Sacrality of the Secular maps new and compelling possibilities for a nonsecularist secularity. In recent decades, philosophers in the continental tradition have taken a notable interest in the return of religion, a departure from the supposed hegemony of the secular age that began with the Enlightenment. At the same time, anthropologists and sociologists have begun to reject the once-dominant secularization thesis, which both prescribed and described the demise of religion in modern societies.

In The Sacrality of the Secular, Bradley B. Onishi reconsiders the role of religion at a time when secularity is more tenuous than it might seem. He demonstrates that philosophy’s entanglement with religion led, perhaps counterintuitively, to vibrant reconceptions of the secular well before the unraveling of the secularization thesis or the turn to religion. Through rich readings of Heidegger, Bataille, Weber, and others, Onishi rethinks what philosophy can contribute to our understanding of religion and the wider social and cultural world.
The Sacrality of the Secular is a sophisticated study of religious resources implicit in ostensibly secular culture. Onishi demonstrates how the American appropriation of Heidegger and post-Heideggerian philosophy contributed to “the religious turn” in continental philosophy. The significance of this work extends far beyond the field of religious studies. Through a critical reassessment of theories of modernization and disenchantment, Onishi charts new directions for cultural inquiry at a time when the humanities have lost their way. Mark C. Taylor, Columbia University
In The Sacrality of the Secular, Bradley B. Onishi seeks to answer two questions: Does secularity equate to disenchantment? And what and how does philosophy of religion, in particular continental philosophy of religion, contribute to religious studies? Onishi has done a brilliant job at the difficult task of bringing these two questions together, showing how the answer to the second opens the path for a creative response to the impasses to which the first has come. Jeffrey Kosky, Washington and Lee University
In his timely and welcome book, Onishi argues persuasively that philosophers of religion working out of continental philosophy have significant contributions to make to the study of religion and to the study of the modern opposition between the religious and the secular. Tyler Roberts, Grinnell College
Onishi's book is clearly written, offers a thoughtful introduction to the field of continental philosophy of religion, and lays out a coherent case for why the secular can be sacred on its own terms. Anthony D. Traylor, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
Valuable as a contribution to philosophical research on secularity and as a survey of the Continental philosophy of religion after Heidegger. Choice
Acknowledgments
List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Philosophy’s “Turn to Religion” and Secularities
1. Different Worlds: Weber, Heidegger, and the Meaning of Life
2. Philosophizing with Religion: Secular Reenchantment in the Early Heidegger
3. Excendence and Heterology: Religious and Secular in Interwar Paris
4. A Prophet of the Impossible: Bataille’s Mystical Turn and Continental Philosophy of Religion
5. The Sacrality of the Secular: On the History and End of Philosophy of Religion
Conclusion: Contemporary Philosophy of Religion and Religious Studies—Three Examples
Notes
Bibliography
Index

About the Author

Bradley B. Onishi is assistant professor of religion at Skidmore College. He is a coauthor of Christian Mysticism: An Introduction to Theoretical Approaches (2009) and coeditor of Mysticism in the French Tradition: Eruptions from France (2015).