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Hope in a Secular Age
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: January 2020
  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online ISBN: 9781108595100

Book description

This book argues that hope is the indispensable precondition of religious practice and secular politics. Against dogmatic complacency and despairing resignation, David Newheiser argues that hope sustains commitments that remain vulnerable to disappointment. Since the discipline of hope is shared by believers and unbelievers alike, its persistence indicates that faith has a future in a secular age. Drawing on premodern theology and postmodern theory, Newheiser shows that atheism and Christianity have more in common than they often acknowledge. Writing in a clear and engaging style, he develops a new reading of deconstruction and negative theology, arguing that (despite their differences) they share a self-critical hope. By retrieving texts and traditions that are rarely read together, this book offers a major intervention in debates over the place of religion in public life.


‘For David Newheiser, hope holds together relation and negation. Hope in a Secular Age explains what this means, drawing on Dionysius the Areopagite and Jacques Derrida and putting the constructive proposal that results in conversation with a range of important thinkers, from Mark Lilla to Giorgio Agamben. Offering important correctives to scholarship on Continental philosophy of religion, this book reframes the field by focusing on ethics rather than epistemology. Particularly exciting are little-known, unpublished, but quite revealing texts by Derrida that Newheiser unearthed and mobilizes to alter how we understand the relationship between deconstruction and negative theology.'

Vincent Lloyd - Villanova University


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