Habermas and Religion
Habermas and Religion
To the surprise of many readers, Jürgen Habermas has recently made religion a major theme of his work. Emphasizing both religion's prominence in the contemporary public sphere and its potential contributions to critical thought, Habermas's engagement with religion has been controversial and exciting, putting much of his own work in fresh perspective and engaging key themes in philosophy, politics and social theory.

Habermas argues that the once widely accepted hypothesis of progressive secularization fails to account for the multiple trajectories of modernization in the contemporary world. He calls attention to the contemporary significance of "postmetaphysical" thought and "postsecular" consciousness - even in Western societies that have embraced a rationalistic understanding of public reason.

<i>Habermas and Religion</i> presents a series of original and sustained engagements with Habermas's writing on religion in the public sphere, featuring new work and critical reflections from leading philosophers, social and political theorists, and anthropologists. Contributors to the volume respond both to Habermas's ambitious and well-developed philosophical project and to his most recent work on religion. The book closes with an extended response from Habermas - itself a major statement from one of today's most important thinkers.
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  • December 2013
  • 340 pages
  • 159 x 237 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
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  • 9780745653266
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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations vii

Editors’ Introduction 1

Part I Rationalization, Secularisms, and Modernities

1 Exploring the Postsecular: Three Meanings of “the Secular” and Their Possible Transcendence 27
José Casanova

2 The Anxiety of Contingency: Religion in a Secular Age 49
María Herrera Líma

3 Is the Postsecular a Return to Political Theology? 72
María Pía Lara

4 An Engagement with Jurgen Habermas on Postmetaphysical Philosophy, Religion, and Political Dialogue 92
Nicholas Wolterstorff

Part II The Critique of Reason and the Unfinished Project of Enlightenment

5 The Burdens of Modernized Faith and Postmetaphysical Reason in Habermas’s “Unfinished Project of
Enlightenment” 115
Thomas McCarthy

6 Having One’s Cake and Eating It Too: Habermas’s Genealogy of Postsecular Reason 132
Amy Allen

7 Forgetting Isaac: Faith and the Philosophical Impossibility of a Postsecular Society 154
J. M. Bernstein

Part III World Society, Global Public Sphere, and Democratic Deliberation

8 A Postsecular Global Order? The Pluralism of Forms of Life and Communicative Freedom 179
James Bohman

9 Global Religion and the Postsecular Challenge 203
Hent de Vries

10 Religion and the Public Sphere: What are the Deliberative Obligations of Democratic Citizenship? 230
Cristina Lafont

11 Violating Neutrality? Religious Validity Claims and Democratic Legitimacy 249
Maeve Cooke

Part IV Translating Religion, Communicative Freedom, and Solidarity

12 Sources of Morality in Habermas’s Recent Work on Religion and Freedom 277
Matthias Fritsch

13 Solidarity with the Past and the Work of Translation: Reflections on Memory Politics and the Postsecular 301
Max Pensky

14 What Lacks is Feeling: Hume versus Kant and Habermas 322
John Milbank

Reply to My Critics 347
Jürgen Habermas (Translated by Ciaran Cronin)

Appendix: Religion in Habermas’s Work 391
Eduardo Mendieta

Notes and References 408

Bibliography of Works by Jürgen Habermas 465

Index 471

About the Author
Craig Calhoun is Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Eduardo Mendieta is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook.

Jonathan VanAntwerpen is Director of the Program on Religion and the Public Sphere at the Social Science Research Council, New York.
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"This groundbreaking book contains a number of penetrating and insightful essays on Habermas's recent work, and on the meaning of the secular and of postsecularism. It will undoubtedly take the debate on all these issues to a much more rigorous and fruitful level. A stellar collection, with papers of a very high quality."
Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus, McGill University

"In 2001, shortly after 9/11, Jürgen Habermas's address 'Faith and Religion' attracted a great deal of attention. Until that time the topic of religion had not been a major concern in Habermas’s extensive oeuvre but he now began to speak of a postsecular age in which religion becomes a major topic in rethinking modernity and in meeting the challenge of religion in public life. This collection includes many of his most sophisticated interpreters and critics and Habermas, in his characteristic dialogical spirit, replies to each of his critics. Anyone seriously interested in the current state of the discussion about religion and public life will find this collection essential reading."
Richard J. Bernstein, New School for Social Research

"Jürgen Habermas has sometimes been called the pope of European secularism, but in recent years he has written frequently and appreciatively about religion without giving up his own position. This volume collects a number of very lively responses to these writings, many of them challenging Habermas in fairly sharp ways, and coming from those close to him, like Thomas McCarthy, and far from him, like John Milbank. The book ends with Habermas’s generous but firm response to his critics: altogether a most readable and thought-provoking book."
Robert Bellah, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
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