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In various texts, Martin Heidegger speaks of god and the gods, but the question of how exactly Heidegger's thought relates to theology and religion in a broad sense—and to God in a specific sense—remains unclear and in need of careful, philosophical excavation. Ben Vedder provides the first book-length study on Heidegger's relation to the philosophy of religion, offering greater accessibility into an area that continues to fascinate philosophers, theologians, and all those interested in the philosophy of religion. Heidegger's Philosophy of Religion: From God to the Gods deals intimately with hotly debated topics such as Heidegger's interpretation of Saint Paul, Nietzsche and the death of God, ontotheology, and Heidegger's discussion of the “last god,” taking into account the early, middle, and later texts of Heidegger. Significantly, Vedder draws heavily on Heidegger's The Phenomenology of Religious Life, long available in German, but only recently available to English readers. Vedder describes the tension between religion and philosophy, on the one hand, and religion and poetic expression, on the other. If we grasp religion completely from a philosophical point of view, we tend to neutralize it; but if we conceive it in a simply poetic way, we tend to be philosophically indifferent to it. Vedder demonstrates how Heidegger speaks a “poetry of religion,” a description of humanity's relationship to the divine, and why Heidegger's thinking is ultimately a theological thinking. Clearly written and comprehensive in scope, Heidegger's Philosophy of Religion: From God to the Gods represents a major step forward in Heidegger scholarship.
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Ben Vedder is professor of metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of religion at the Radboud University Nijmegen (the Netherlands).Review:
"At the heart of Heidegger's reflections on philosophy of religion (or theology or theism or religious experience) is a plethora of paradoxes—or at least complexities that are hardly easy to resolve. . . . Heidegger's Philosophy of Religion, then, is a most welcome guide to Heidegger's ever developing thinking regarding religion. Vedder's account is highly informed, nuanced, and displays an impressive grasp of both Heidegger's early and late thought. Moreover, much to his credit, Ben Vedder addresses these difficulties in Heidegger's thought head on." --Research in Phenomenology
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