Monday, April 11, 2011

Mendieta on Habermas's forthcoming book on religion

In a new essay on Habermas's thoughts on "Rationalization, modernity and secularization", Eduardo Mendieta gives us some information about Habermas's forthcoming book on religion:

"In autumn 2008, Habermas gave a series of lectures at Yale, which were followed the next autumn by another set of lectures, and a seminar at Stony Brook University on "Political Theology". That same autumn a workshop was organized on Habermas's recent work on religion for which he made available several large manuscripts of what appears to be the working draft for a book on religion. The workshop yielded a large manuscript of essays engaging Habermas's comprehensive rethinking of some of his earlier ideas and formulations on religion. One of the centrepieces of this working draft is a critique of modernization theory that links social progress to secularization. Here Habermas aims to show why secularization theory has been mistaken on several accounts and why we must attenuate and revise some of its major claims. At the very least if we are to hold on to the basic claims of modernization theory, we must uncouple them from strong "secularist" assumptions.This critique of modernization theory is matched by a turn towards the latest work on anthropology, ethnography and archeology that is theorizing the relationship between ritual, the emergence of mythological narratives and the evolution of human mind. These is also a long chapter on the Axial Age and the simultaneous emergence of universal, monotheistic religions and world-transcending philosophical perspectives."

Eduardo Mendieta's essay is published in Barbara Fultner (ed): Jürgen Habermas - Key Concepts (Acumen, 2011), pp. 222-238. See my post on the book here.

Eduardo Mendieta is Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. In 2002, he edited Jürgen Habermas's "Religion and Rationality. Essays on Reason, God, and Modernity" (MIT Press & Polity Press, 2002), which includes Mendieta's famous interview with Habermas: "A Conversation About God and the World" from 1999. Later this year a new book on "Habermas and Religion" will come out on Polity Press, edited by Craig Calhoun, Eduardo Mendieta and Jonathan vanAnwerpen.

Also see Mendieta's interview with Jürgen Habermas "A Postsecular World Society?" (2009) [pdf]

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