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Considers the problem of pluralism and offers a vision of human solidarity for the postmodern era.
In an increasingly precarious global situation, and in light of the postmodern emphasis on difference, efforts to grasp the "whole" as something universally shared by all human beings have fallen short, according to Thomas E. Reynolds. In this book, he explores the philosophical and theological significance of the problem of pluralism and asserts that the shared resources of the world's religious traditions can be used to cultivate peace and solidarity across diverse boundaries. He engages a range of philosophical thinkerssuch as Gadamer, Marcel, Rorty, Foucault, Levinas, Derrida, and Habermasand brings them into conversation with contemporary theologians and writers in religious studies. Presenting a vision of solidarity that is both religiously charged and philosophically astute, The Broken Whole outlines an inventive approach toward retrieving the relevance of God-talk, an approach rooted in a philosophy of dialogue and cross-cultural hospitality.
“Scholars interested in Continental philosophy and postmodern theology will appreciate Reynold’s treatment of key themes and thinkers.” — Journal of Religion
“…exhibits the kind of erudition, maturity, and elegance rarely seen in academic first books … The Broken Whole belongs in every philosophical and theological library, even as it signals the appearance of what may prove to be one of the more creative, engaging, and profound theologians of our time.” — Religious Studies Review
“The Broken Whole is an ambitious first book. It mounts a persuasive ethical analysis of modern universals and postmodern plurality, while employing postmodern insights about decentering, polyvalence, and brokenness to take a third dialectical step.” — Reviews in Religion & Theology
"The writing is subtle and nuanced, the arguments are well conceived and worked through, and the conclusions are reasonable and balanced. This book is a remarkable achievement which helps to redirect inquiry and reopen more realistic theological questions that have been largely excluded from the discussion." John B. Cobb, author of Postmodernism and Public Policy: Reframing Religion, Culture, Education, Sexuality, Class, Race, Politics, and the Economy
“This book offers one of the most helpful philosophical and theological discussions of the possibilities of experiencing ultimacy and universality across profound cultural and religious differences. Reynolds honors religious pluralism in all its diversity and particularity, but does not surrender the goal of ethical and intellectual solidarity. The ‘whole’ may be ‘broken,’ but it remains a necessary condition of human well-being.” Peter C. Hodgson, Vanderbilt University.
Thomas E. Reynolds is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at St. Norbert College.
Table of Contents
1. Plurality and Historical Consciousness: From Heteronomous Belonging to a Traditioned Belonging to History
2. Pluralistic Consciousness: From Historical Belonging to the Challenge of Radical Contingency and Difference
3. Dwelling Together: Identity, Difference, and Relation
4. Dialectical Pluralism: Truth, the Other, and the Praxis of Solidarity
5. The Transcendent Grammar of Presence and the Religious Sensibility
6. Making the Difference: Rethinking Religious Pluralism in Local and Universal