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Critique of Religion and Philosophy Paperback – April 1, 1979


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press; 3rd edition (April 1, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691020019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691020013
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"It would be hard to find a better example of modern atheistic philosophy's love affair with religion, or a more poignant one of the effort of a modern intellectual to keep the faith while eschewing belief."--Religious Studies Review

"The most intellectually exciting modern book on the philosophy of religion."--Anthony Quinton

"Since Kaufmann's book is not only well written, but also the only existing text combining detailed understanding, sympathy, and criticism of both existentialism and analytic philosophy, it becomes a 'must' for any man's spiritual medicine cabinet. Add to this a careful critique of neo-orthodoxy, the Higher Criticism, demythologizing, mysticism, Freudian psychology, and certain aspects of Judaism and Buddhism, and the intellectual treat is obvious."--Commentary

"Kaufmann's discussion, which is lively, extensive in scope, and erudite, contains much to stimulate the philosopher and still more that will give the sincere Christian believer many headaches."--Mind

"A splendid critique of Christianity. A Christian should take this book to a quiet place and enter into a genuine dialogue with it. If it does not make a better man out of him, Kaufmann can hardly be blamed."--Theology Today

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Customer Reviews

This is Socratic philosophy at its best.
Ric Hudgens
He loves Hegel and Wittgenstein (great German thinkers); he hates that low life apologetic Protestant Tillich.
New Age of Barbarism
Anyone who wants to read a thoughtful classic on religion and philosophy would enjoy this book.
James E. Egolf

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 31, 1997
Format: Paperback
Dr. Kaufmann's humbition (his coinage for humility and ambition) to make people see "beyond black and white" is beautifully revealed in all his books including the "Critique of Religion and Philosophy". He explains how theology is dying despite its desperate measures to incorporate the philosophy of different ages from Aristotle to Heidegger in its Procrustean exegesis of the bible. He sheds light on veils of truth - subjective and objective -, the difference between truth and correctness, and belief and atheism to lay bare the complacent simple mindedness of such classifications. The concept of great philosophy has been shown to exist between analysis and existentialism, poetry and science, and a few philosophers' total disregard for psychology and a psychologist's over-interpretation. He compares various religions and scriptures for their humane, authoritarian, poetic and moral aspects, hints at Greek tragedy and shows what timeless appeal there is in their Weltanschauungs "to man's ontological interest." The author of this book, dares his readers to read well, and to reread; to think, and to rethink, more openly and vigorously. He aptly called himself "a disciple of the sarcastic Socrates."
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By booklover on November 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
Kaufmann was one of the most profound critics of Christianity. Unlike other philosophers who brandish external criticisms like the verification principle of meaning Kaufmann concentrates on internal flaws. He points out how theologians gerrymander the Biblical text to get it to mean anything they want. They can do this because the Bible is irreduciably ambiguous coming down squarely on both sides of every question.
There is a lot of interesting material on existentialism.
The book is cleary written and is characterized by Kaufmann's bubbling wit which reminds one of Russell at his best.
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful By David Kleist on August 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
It is appalling that the imperious academic philosophers of our time, as well as more emotional fanatics such as the previous Amazon reviewer, scorn the original philosophic works of the late Professor Kaufmann. I share the view of a still earlier Amazonian that this is a genuinely great philosophical work. Any reader who has openmindedly explored Kaufmann's work in some detail cannot help but marvel at his erudition, his clarity, his humor, his poetry, and his illumination, here, of the realms philosophy and religion. Who would be so bold as to critique both realms in a single tome? Yet Kaufmann pulls it off. One may not concur with all of Kaufmann's conclusions, but any sensitive reader cannot help but be challenged, awakened, and energized by this magnificent book. I love Plato; but I love Kaufmann just as much. Kaufmann belongs in the canon of the few philosophical greats.
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Format: Paperback
To say that Walter Kaufmann's book titled CRITIQUE OF RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY is a thoughtfu book is an understatement. Kaufmann's book engages the reader regardless of his/her religous "convictions." This book should appeal to thoughtful Chtistians and Jews who are serious about religious thought and are not victim of "cheap grace." This book is also a thoughtful literary examination for those who are serious about philosophy.

Kaufmann argues that philosophical systems are not coamprehensive enough to encompass either religion or philosophy. Kaufmann argued that systems omit too much and do not extend to ultimate values. This is one reason why Kaufmann is appreciative of Socrates/Plato. Readers are probably aware that Plato's DIALOGUES can be read for both philosophical insight and as literature.

Kaufmann does not resort to theology whatever theology happens to mean these days. While theology is often based on reason, and reason is based on logic, Kaufmann argues that neither can reach religious or philosophical sublime truth. Kaufmann contrasts both philosophical systems and with literature. One of the usages that Kaufmann applies is the extensive rabbinic literature that offers stories, Hebrew poetry, and literary anecdotes to make this claim.

Kaufmann is not rude to Christianity, but he subjects the history and concepts of Christianity to close examination. As one friend note, "Kaufmann is like a tough presecutor." In other words, Kaufmann makes the devout and honest Christian think about why he accepts the creeds of Christianity.

When this reviewer first read CRITIQUE OF RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY, he was surprised that Kaufmann closely "cross examined" St. Thomas Aquinas.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ric Hudgens on May 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I read Kaufmann twenty-five years ago (can it be?) and loved his style, his wit, and his unrelenting, merciless, and sometimes devastating critiques of our intellectual hypocrisies. I didn't agree with everything then and I don't today, but Kauffman wouldn't want that. This is Socratic philosophy at its best. Kauffman promotes a love of learning, a love of thinking, and a love of life. Not just a great intro to philosophy (which it is) but a great intro to life itself. Enjoy.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 1, 1998
Format: Paperback
Dr. Kaufmann's humbition (his coinage for humility and ambition) to make people see "beyond black and white" is beautifully revealed in all his books including the "Critique of Religion and Philosophy". He explains how theology is dead despite its desperate measures to incorporate the philosophy of different ages from Aristotle to Heidegger in its Procrustean exegesis of the bible. The New Testament, seen as a theology of Jesus' four apostles! He sheds light on veils of truth - subjective and objective -, the difference between truth and correctness, and belief and atheism to lay bare the complacent simple mindedness of such classifications. The concept of great philosophy has been shown to exist between positivism and existentialism, poetry and science, and a few philosophers' total disregard for psychology and a psychologist's over-interpretation. He compares various religions and scriptures for their humane, authoritarian, poetic and moral aspects, hints at Greek tragedy and shows what timeless appeal there is in their Weltanschauungs "to man's ontological interest." The author of this book, dares his readers to read well, and to reread; to think, and to rethink, more openly and vigorously. He aptly called himself "a disciple of the sarcastic Socrates."
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