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The Uses of Paradox


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The Uses of Paradox is a brilliant systematic account of the functional roles of paradox in religious life. My prediction is that in terms of its methodological sophistication as well as substantive achievement in illuminating its chosen topics of mysticism, asceticism, and skepticism, it will be viewed as paradigmatic for how philosophy of religion should be henceforth pursued. -- Sumner B. Twiss, Distinguished Professor of Human Rights, Ethics, and Religion, Florida State University, and professor emeritus of religious studies, Brown University Matthew Bagger examines different uses of paradox in religious thought and practice and employs tools from analytic philosophy and the social sciences to propose hypotheses about how those uses might be explained in light of their particular contexts. The result is an excellent and thought-provoking contribution to philosophy of religion, conceived not in the service of Christian theology but as part of an interdisciplinary study of religion, with particular attention to the study of mysticism. -- Wayne Proudfoot, professor of religion, Columbia University

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 1. Introduction: Paradox Without Piety 2. Credo Quia Absurdum: Cognitive Asceticism and Kierkegaard 3. Mystics and Ascetics 4. Absolute Transcendence 5. Skepticism and Mysticism Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Matthew Bagger is assistant professor of religious studies at Brown University. He has taught at Dartmouth College and Columbia University and is the author of Religious Experience, Justification, and History.


"A major new voice in the philosophy of religion, thoroughly conversant with recent Anglo-American philosophy, but going his own way methodologically." -- Nancy Frankenberry, Dartmouth College

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