Spinoza weer terug op de kaart vanwege "the religious or theological 'turn'"?

U weet wel: naar analogie van de door Rorty zo getypeerde "linguistic turn" is de sinds enige jaren op alle fronten weer teruggekeerde belangstelling voor godsdienst en theologie - in de praktijk en in de wetenschap - te typeren als een godsdienstige of theologische wending. Soms krijg je zelfs het gevoel dat we weer helemaal terug zijn in de 17e eeuw. Als iemand vraagt: "waarom bezig zijn met Spinoza?" ligt hier één van de antwoorden.

Ik begin met een voetnoot uit de inleiding van een boek dat ik in dit blog ga signaleren, welke die indruk versterkt:

[Voetnoot 27] “The attitude in Radical Orthodox circles to Spinoza is symptomatic. Conor Cunningham’s dismissal of Spinoza reads like the worst sort of eighteenth-century heresy-hunting, claiming perversely and hyperbolically, “In the world of Spinoza there can be no difference between a Holocaust and an ice cream.” (Conor Cunningham, Genealogy of Nihilism: Philosophies of Nothing and the Difference of Theology (London: Routledge, 2002), 68) Just like Blond*, Cunningham attempts to bring about a return to the religious through inspiring fear and superstition in his readers. We should, it is implied, run screaming into the arms of the Church on encountering this nihilistic spectre. Apparently, this theology does not know the difference between scholarship and assertion, blindly referencing Spinoza scholars like Yovel and Deleuze out of context to support his own peculiar reading. For example, he claims Spinoza was trying to trick his readers by hiding behind Scholastic concepts and, as evidence for this view, quotes Deleuze: “It is for this reason that Deleuze says that ‘the Ethics is a book written twice simultaneously’.” (Ibid, 68) However, the point Deleuze is making (in Spinoza: Practical Philosophy, trans. Robert Hurley (San Francisco: City Lights, 1988), 28) has nothing to do with Spinoza’s use of Medieval terminology, but is rather to do with the inextricably linked metaphysical and practical lines of thinking in the Ethics.” [zie hier deze inleiding]

Deze voetnoot komt uit dit boek (dat ik niet gelezen heb, maar heden ontdekte).

Anthony Paul Smith and Daniel Whistler (Eds.): After the Postsecular and the Postmodern: New Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion. Cambridge Scholars Publishers, 2010 **) 

De uitgever schrijft: Continental philosophy of religion has been dominated for two decades by “postsecular” and “postmodern” thought. This volume brings together a vanguard of scholars to ask what comes after the postsecular and the postmodern—that is, what is Continental philosophy of religion now? Against the subjugation of philosophy to theology, After the Postsecular and the Postmodern: New Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion argues that philosophy of religion must either liberate itself from theological norms or mutate into a new practice of thinking in order to confront the challenges religion presents for our time. The essays do not propose a new orthodoxy but set the stage for new debates by reclaiming a practice of philosophy of religion that recovers and draws on the insights of a distinctly modern tradition of Continental philosophy, confronts the challenge of rethinking the secular in the light of the postsecular event, and calls for a move from strictly critical to speculative thought in order to experiment with what philosophy can do. This collection of essays is indispensable for anyone interested in the relationship between philosophy and theology, political questions regarding religion and in what contemporary speculative Continental philosophy has to add to philosophy of religion.

Rocco GangleOp 1 maart 2010 had ik het blog: Een lecture: Spinoza, Language, and Relational Identity. Ik wees daarin op een interessante lecture van Rocco Gangle (Assistant Professor of Philosophy School of Arts & Sciences, Endicott College, USA) waarvan de tekst én een video op internet waren geplaatst. Zijn thema was: "Spinoza, Language, and Relational Identity."

Welnu deze Rocco Gangle bracht voor het eerste deel van dit boek (The Contribution of Modernity) het eerste hoofdstuk aan: Theology of the Chimera: Spinoza, Immanence, Practice.

De website insidehighered.com bracht vandaag een e-mail-interview met de redacteuren van het boek (en zo kwam ik op het onderwerp voor dit blog). Ik haal daaruit twee citaten:

“While the historical canon for mainstream Anglophone philosophy of religion tends to focuses on Locke, Hume, and Kant, we hope our volume helps to establish an alternative canon that draws on more speculative thinkers from the modern tradition, like Spinoza, Schelling, and Bergson. We think that not only will this help us to address the persistent questions of philosophy of religion but will allow us to reframe those very questions.” […]

“However, I want to nuance it somewhat, as I do think some of what lies behind what we do as academics, the reasons we take up this work, can participate in political struggles or help to deal with the very serious problems we face without our thought being directly “useful” in some crude practice of meeting targets or productivity goals. Spinoza wouldn’t have been much use as the ruler of the Netherlands, I’m sure, but when his ideas were taken up by others, and thereby mutated, they did have a real effect, and much of it positive.

Tenslotte nog een citaat uit de inleiding op het boek van de redacteuren:

Vaught—in a fruitful parallel to Deleuze’s comments on the essential atheism in modern philosophy of religion—argues that the driving force of Schelling’s 1809 Inquiries into the Essence of Human Freedom is a realisation of the “philosophical atheism” at work in theodicy. This atheism is the result of Schelling’s fidelity to philosophically think the problems of theology. Again, the concern here is to isolate a properly philosophical operation on religion. A different approach, however, is taken by the first essay of the volume. Rocco Gangle provides a succinct introduction to the practice of automutation. Spinoza’s commitment to immanence, Gangle argues, is only fully understood when one acknowledges the strategies by which he subverts and disrupts theological orthodoxy with heterodox, philosophical devices. All the essays in the “Modernity” section therefore share a concern with uncovering the distinctive history and forgotten resources of Continental philosophy of religion—history and resources which have been covered over by theological critique and postmodern prejudices. This process of uncovering, it is to be hoped, will give us a fuller picture of what Continental philosophy of religion can be and so enable it to enhance its power of acting and being acted upon. For (to continue the parody of Spinoza) no one has yet determined what Continental philosophy of religion can do. "


*) Phillip Blond, “Introduction: Theology before Philosophy” in Phillip Blond ed, Postsecular Philosophy: Between Theology and Philosophy (London: Routledge, 1998)

 **) Zie over de cover dit blog van 27 jan. 2014



De citaten, die je geeft, Stan, overtuigen mij nog niet van de waarde van watg in dit hybride boek wordt nagestreefd. Ik vind de beweringen nogal duister. Ik heb wel even de vermelde blog opgeslagen en vond daar iets wat mij erg aansprak Het boek is resultyaat van een 'blogging community' vana mensen die half tegen de academische wereld aanhangen en daar nogal wat kritiek op hebben. Een van de redacteuren spreekt over "the democratic nature of blogging which can disrupt the usual hierarchies in the academic world ... and can also lead to incredible intellectual friendships". Klolpt.

Die eerdere lezing van Rocco Gangle waar ik naar verwees, vond ik werkelijk goed. Dus als zijn hoofdstuk over Spinoza dezelfde geest ademt, is het voor mij al een geslaagd boek.

Dat Spinozistische anti-hiërarchische van een blogging-community with the right kind of inequality, vind ik wel fraai. Kom daar hier maar eens om.