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This book offers a close reading of Romans that treats Paul as a radical political thinker by showing the relationship between Paul's perspective and that of secular political theorists. Turning to both ancient political philosophers (Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero) and contemporary post-Marxists (Agamben, Badiou, Derrida, and Žižek), Jennings presents Romans as a sustained argument for a new sort of political thinking concerned with the possibility and constitution of just socialities. Reading Romans as an essay on messianic politics in conversation with ancient and postmodern political theory challenges the stereotype of Paul as a reactionary theologian who "invented" Christianity and demonstrates his importance for all, regardless of religious affiliation or academic guild, who dream and work for a society based on respect, rather than domination, division, and death. In the current context of unjust global empires constituted by avarice, arrogance, and violence, Jennings finds in Paul a stunning vision for creating just societies outside the law.
The work of Henri Bergson, the foremost French philosopher of the early twentieth century, is not usually explored for its political dimensions. Indeed, Bergson is best known for his writings on time, evolution, and creativity. This book concentrates instead on his political philosophy—and especially on his late masterpiece, The Two Sources of Morality and Religion—from which Alexandre Lefebvre develops an original approach to human rights. We tend to think of human rights as the urgent international project of protecting all people everywhere from harm. Bergson shows us that human rights can also serve as a medium of personal transformation and self-care. For Bergson, the main purpose of human rights is to initiate all human beings into love. Forging connections between human rights scholarship and philosophy as self-care, Lefebvre uses human rights to channel the whole of Bergson's philosophy.
If your mentally ill patient dies, are you to blame? For Dr. Françoise Davoine, a Parisian psychoanalyst, this question becomes disturbingly real as one of her patients commits suicide on the eve of All Saints' Day. She herself has a crisis, as she reflects on her thirty-year career and questions whether she should ever return to the hospital. But return she does, and thus commences a strange voyage across several centuries and countries, in which patients, fools, and the actors of medieval farces rise up from the past along with great thinkers who represent the author's own philosophical and literary sources: the humanist Erasmus, mathematician René Thom, writer Antonin Artaud, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, and physicist Edwin Schrödinger, to name a few. Imaginary dialogues ensue as the analyst conjures up an interconnected world, where apiculture, wondrous rituals, theater, and language games illuminate her therapeutic practice as well as her personal history. Deeply affected by her voyage of discovery, the author becomes capable of implementing the teachings of psychotherapist Gaetano Benedetti, a mentor she visits at carnival time on a final fictional stopover in Switzerland. His advice, that the analyst become the equal of her patients and immerse herself in their madness so as to open up a space for treatment, is premised on the belief that individual illness is a reflection and result of severe historical trauma. Mother Folly, which ends on a positive note, is an important intervention in the debate about how to treat the mentally ill, particularly those with psychosis. A practicing analyst and a skilled reader of literary and philosophical texts, Davoine provides a humane antidote to our increasingly mechanized and drug-reliant system of dealing with "fools and madmen."
Spinoza Contra Phenomenology fundamentally recasts the history of postwar French thought, typically presumed to have been driven by a critique of reason indebted to Nietzsche and Heidegger. Although the reception of phenomenology gave rise to many innovative developments in French philosophy, from existentialism to deconstruction, not everyone in France was pleased with this German import. This book recounts how a series of French philosophers used Spinoza to erect a bulwark against the nominally irrationalist tendencies of phenomenology. From its beginnings in the interwar years, this rationalism would prove foundational for Althusser's rethinking of Marxism and Deleuze's ambitious metaphysics. There has been a renewed enthusiasm for Spinozism of late by those who see his work as a kind of neo-vitalism or philosophy of life and affect. Peden counters this trend by tracking a decisive and neglected aspect of Spinoza's philosophy—his rationalism—in a body of thought too often presumed to have rejected reason. In the process, he demonstrates that the virtues of Spinoza's rationalism have yet to be exhausted.
Jean-Pierre Dupuy, prophet of what he calls "enlightened doomsaying," has long warned that modern society is on a path to self-destruction. In this book, he pleads for a subversion of this crisis from within, arguing that it is our lopsided view of religion and reason that has set us on this course. In denial of our sacred origins and hubristically convinced of the powers of human reason, we cease to know our own limits: our disenchanted world leaves us defenseless against a headlong rush into the abyss of global warming, nuclear holocaust, and the other catastrophes that loom on our horizon. Reviving the religious anthropology of Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, and Marcel Mauss and in dialogue with the work of René Girard, Dupuy shows that we must remember the world's sacredness in order to keep human violence in check. A metaphysical and theological detective, he tracks the sacred in the very fields where human reason considers itself most free from everything it judges irrational: science, technology, economics, political and strategic thought. In making such claims, The Mark of the Sacred takes on religion bashers, secularists, and fundamentalists at once. Written by one of the deepest and most versatile thinkers of our time, it militates for a world where reason is no longer an enemy of faith.

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