Workshop of Being: Religious Affections and Their Pragmatic Value in the Thought of Jonathan Edwards and William James

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9780739141434: Workshop of Being: Religious Affections and Their Pragmatic Value in the Thought of Jonathan Edwards and William James
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The Workshop of Being brings into conversation Jonathan Edwards and William James on the pragmatic value of religious experience. The author shows how Edwards and James employ psychological dynamics and theological and philosophical investigations to interpret religious feeling and its value for the transformation of an unfinished universe in need of repair. The Workshop of Being offers a meditative analysisof the work of America’s two greatest thinkers on the nature of religious experience.

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About the Author:

S.T. Campagna-Pinto is assistant professor of religious studies at California State University, Bakersfield.

Review:

Streams of scholarship flow together in Campagna-Pinto’s insightful and well-argued book: the reach of American philosophy beyond the classic pragmatists, and the significance of American religious traditions for shaping trunk lines of American thought and culture. For this enterprise, the author has well-chosen examples in Jonathan Edwards and William James, two prime intellectual engines of the American “quest or experiment,” as Campagna-Pinto puts it. Edwards and James shared an enriched empiricism, “stereoscopic” in its attention to the worlds of the heart and mind. And this book is comprehensive: it can appeal to students of religious studies, philosophy, and intellectual history; moreover, its careful reading of disparate topics, including rhetoric, suicide, art, the elusiveness of intimacy, and democracy suggests its ability to contribute to a variety of fields (Paul Croce, Stetson University, former President of the William James Society)

In The Workshop of Being, Campagna-Pinto brings together the two biggest intellectuals in American history—the Calvinist Christian Jonathan Edwards and the post-Christian liberal William James—and gets them singing in harmony. Campagna-Pinto's penetrating readings of both thinkers moves beyond the labels that divide their legacies and into a realm of 'heart religion,' where earnest examination of personal experience and social relations brings Edwards and James together in the pursuit of 'strenuous democracy.'
(Amy Kittelstrom, Sonoma State University)

Workshop of Being provides a searching, deeply conceived, and entirely compelling examination of the religious thought of Edwards and James, one that also sheds important new light on the origins and development of the tradition of American pragmatism. Through a series of penetratingly exact readings, Campagna-Pinto elucidates an abiding concern shared by these two thinkers with the affective ground of speculative thought, while at the same time showcasing the manifest complexity and originality of each body of work. In doing so, he shows how the apparently disparate intellectual projects of these two major American thinkers converge in counseling theologians and philosophers alike to think with the "heart" not only the head. (Alan Hodder, Hapshire College)

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