Philosophy of Religion

  Sources of Significance confronts consumer capitalism and religious fundamentalism as symptoms of death denial and degenerated cultural heroisms. Advancing and synthesizing the ideas of Ernest Becker, Kenneth Burke, Hans Jonas, Erving Goffman, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and Epictetus, this multidisciplinary work offers a sustained response and corrective. It outlines heroisms worth wanting and reveals the forms of gratitude, courage, and purpose that emerge as people come to terms with the meaning of mortality.   Corey Anton opens a contemporary dialogue spanning theism, atheism, agnosticism, and spiritualist humanism by re-examining basic topics such as language, self-esteem, ambiguity, guilt, ritual, sacrifice, and transcendence. Acknowledging the growing need for theologies that are compatible with modern science, Anton shows how today’s consumerist lifestyles distort and trivialize the need for self-worth, and he argues that each person faces the genuinely heroic tasks of contributing to the world’s beauty, harmony, and resources; of forgiving the cosmos for self-conscious finitude; and of gratefully accepting the ambiguity of life’s gifts.   Winner: 2011 Best Book Award from the Philosophy of Communication Division of the National Communication Association
Separate chapters deal with narrative techniques in gnostic literature, the reception of Luke's Gospel throughout the ages, and the author's own highly sensitive reading of Luke's Gospel. He shows how gnostic enlightenment functions in the development of Jesus as a character as well as in his own teaching technique toward his disciples. Wojcik demonstrates how the implied author of Luke's Gospel uses these same techniques to withhold information and foster insight in the reader. The final chapter isolates the essential differences between canonical and non-canonical biblical scholarship and contains an impassioned argument for the value of scholarly analysis of the Bible from a literary standpoint.
The Amish Schools of Indiana studies the history of the Old Order Amish parochial school movement in Indiana from its beginnings in 1948 through the 2001 2002 school year. Included in the work are complete descriptions of buildings and grounds, as well as descriptive essays on the pupils and their teachers, the curriculum, the values that are taught, and the religious community that surrounds and supports the school. Readers are invited into the school at numerous points, to sit in on classes, school programs, and impromptu celebrations, as they read anecdotal accounts of real experiences. While preserving the anonymity and Amish proscription against posed pictures, the book makes generous use of photographs to document the current state of Old Order Amish education in Indiana.
This authoritative study explores the scientific and mathematical cultural milieu that patterns much of the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges's narrative design.  Although criticism of Borges's fiction and essays has long emphasized philosophical traditions, Merrell expands the context of this interrogation of traditions by revealing how early twentieth-century and contemporary mathematics and physics also participated in a similar exploration.  In this light, Merrell's study provides materials that greatly contribute to a reevaluation of Borges's writings as more than parodies, satires, or metaphysical jokes. Topics treated include the semiotic flows of paradox and contradiction, the patterns of of infinities, the limits of natural and mathematical languages, and the narrative fiction in scientific theory.  Against this background, Merrell provides incisive readings of Borges's complex fiction and essays. Merrell establishes a series of parallels among Borges, mathematics and physics that suggests a large cultural project in the "thinking" of the first half of the twentieth century to "unthink" the closure of traditional models of reality and to press the limits of how the "real" can be described, modeled, and defined.  The result is an integrative study of the relationship between aesthetic and scientific narratives.