Religious Mystery & Rational Reflection
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How should philosophy approach religious experience, which by definition surpasses its competence? Can philosophy do more than describe the religious experience without discussing its object? Can religion make genuine truth claims - especially when the prevalence of suffering and evil in the world seems to belie those claims? These are some of the basic questions raised in this engaging collection of essays by philosopher Louis Dupre. According to Dupre, a philosophical analysis of faith must take account of the unique system of symbols in which it expresses its beliefs, rituals, and modes of worship. The justification of religious symbols has become a particular problem in an age that tends to separate the objective from the subjective, interpreting the former literally and denying objective reality to the latter. Dupre's essays on von Balthasar's theory of religious form and on the nature of ritual attempt to restore the original meaning of religious symbols, while integrating them
One of the leading phenomenologists of our generation here addresses from a variety of perspectives the subject of religious experience -- a subject that is central in any rational understanding of the phenomenon of religion. This collection of insightful essays explores such topics as phenomenology; the place of truth in religion; the problem of evil; the roles of aesthetics, ritual, and symbolism in religion; the personal experience of the divine presence; mysticism; and the possibility of spiritual experience in today's secular world.
Dupre is the T. Lawrason Riggs Professor Emeritus of the Philosophy of Religion at Yale University.