American Religious Empiricism by William Dean

By William Dean

This can be a transparent and sharply written safeguard of the thesis that American empirical theology, in particular that linked to the Chicago tuition, is a postmodern circulate within the feel encouraged by way of the deconstructionists. while it can be concept that Protestant neo-orthodoxy introduced lifestyles again into theology, Dean argues that it was once only a overdue gasp of the death transcendental-signified culture.

It indicates what unifies the idea, stretching from the idealistic empiricism of Jonathan Edwards, to the pragmatic empiricism of James and Dewey, to the cosmological empiricism of Whitehead, to the socio-historical empiricism of the Chicago institution theologians, to the present paintings of the turning out to be physique of technique theologians. The ebook argues that theology wishes a brand new shape, person who will make American spiritual empiricism right into a trustworthy historicism, a continuing reinterpretation of the spiritual previous.

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About the Author
Burton Raffel is a translator, poet, and pupil whose significant translations comprise The Canterbury stories, Beowulf, Don Quijote, The purple and the Black, and Gargantua and Pantagruel. He has additionally annotated numerous Shakespeare performs for Yale college Press.

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33 While Faas does not make much of William Carlos Williams, I believe that all these artists are indebted to that pioneer, American, post-modern poet. On the boundary line between literary and philosophical post-modernism stands Jacques Derrida, who not only called for the deconstruction of Western logocentric constructions on literature, but who claimed that meanings are constructed by interpretations, and that interpretations interpret nothing but earlier interpretations. 34 Derrida gave real power to the signifier of the past, claiming not that it was merely passive to the reader's interpretation, but that it also interpreted the present reader.

I write out of the conviction that this novelty fits America, that something about American experience once evoked it and still needs it. This distinctively American approach, American religious empiricism, was implicit in the work of Jonathan Edwards, it was theologically extended by the more empirical of the eighteenth and nineteenth century "Enlightenment Christians," and it was carried on by certain liberal religious thinkers around the turn of the nineteenth century. American religious empiricism was philosophically extended first by William James, then by John Dewey and Alfred North Whitehead, and theologically elaborated by members of the Chicago School of theology, as well as by several twentieth century theologians at Yale and elsewhere in the nation.

18 Douglas Clyde Macintosh studied at Chicago and devoted his career at Page 10 Yale to expounding an empirical theology, affecting such theologians as H. Richard Niebuhr and Randolph Crump Miller. William Henry Bernhardt began as a student at Chicago and had much the same sort of major effect at Iliff School of Theology, heavily influencing Harvey Potthoff and Charles Milligan. Daniel Day Williams moved from Chicago to New York's Union Theological Seminary, defending empirical liberalism in a largely neo-orthodox environment, and working with James Alfred Martin, another empirical liberal.

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