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Graven Ideologies: Nietzsche, Derrida & Marion on Modern Idolatry Paperback – August 23, 2002

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0830826797 ISBN-10: 0830826793 Edition: Print On Demand

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Editorial Reviews


"Graven Ideologies meets a long-standing demand for a presentation of the theological significance of the work of Nietzsche, Derrida, Levinas and Marion in American English, that is, in a language we can all understand. It raises the level of discussion of these provocative continental thinkers by showing the positive import of their critique of metaphysics--which is mistakenly assumed to be something destructive--as a critique of idolatry that is an essential ingredient in any biblical view. By doing all this in a lively and readable prose, in illuminating comparisons and contrasts, Benson has made a significant contribution to the growing American discussion of theology from a continental perspective." (John D. Caputo, David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy, Villanova University)

"This succinct little book gives us an excellent critique of recent discussions of idolatry. Benson is both fair to Levinas and Marion and astutely perceptive concerning the questions which they fail to raise." (John Milbank, Frances Myers Ball Professor of Philosophical Theology, University of Virginia)

"Graven Ideologies is a clear and coherent exposition of the importance of the figures of Nietzsche, Marion and Derrida to Christian consciousness. It will go a long way not only toward correcting the reductive misreadings of these works by many theologians but toward the strengthening of Christian intellectual life in its ongoing dialogue with philosophy." (Cleo Kearns, Visiting Fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion, Princeton University)

"Rooted in a deep biblical faith that is as reflective as it is committed, informed by a thorough study of the authors discussed, and written with an inviting and accessible lucidity, this volume gives us a splendid guide to the thought of three major postmodern thinkers." (Merold Westphal, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University)

"The difficult but very important thought material dealt with by Bruce Benson in this book has had and will continue to have a profound effect upon the understanding and reception of the gospel of Christ today. Intellectual life is strongly influenced by it--and that includes the thought life of Christians as well as non-Christians. I especially encourage those in positions of Christian leadership to study it carefully, and above all those who expect to be helpful to young people now entering higher education or the professions. You are not likely to find a better guide than Benson." (Dallas Willard, Professor of Philosophy, University of Southern California)

About the Author

Bruce Ellis Benson is professor of philosophy and department chair at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois.

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Product Details

  • Series: Christian Classics Bible Studies
  • Paperback: 243 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic; Print On Demand edition (August 23, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830826793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830826797
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,172,891 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Manuel Alvarez on September 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Bruce Benson has written the clearest treatment of the religious turn in phenomenology in print. Focusing on the idol as a root metaphor for the human proclivity to absolutize conceptual constructs, the author takes us on a tour from Nietzsche to Jean-luc Marion explaining their struggle to speak about the Other in a non-metaphysical idiom; that is to say, in a manner that will remain vigilant of the inadequacy of all possible idioms. Philosophy's conceit that it could ground its epistemological claims and subjugate the Real via rational schemas proved to be a delusion. The story of that delusion culminated in the death of God and the reductio ad absurdum of the modernist project at Auschwitz.
The only serious flaw in the book was the author's exposition of Heidegger which lacked sufficient depth. Heidegger represents an epochal shift in the consciousness of the Western tradition, a mode of thinking which evolved from the classical paradigm of the form/particular (ideational/material), to critical reason and Kant's architectonic model of subjectivity. Hegel's transitional thinking toward a deeper awareness of the historical conditioning of mind, as well as the evolutionary unfolding of consciousness as a universal phenomenon, laid the groundwork for a new, transpersonal gnosticism which would begin to manifest itself in the Heideggarian corpus. Heidegger's receptivity to the numinous, the uncanniness and mystery of Being - which opens up a horizon of luminosity (Lichtung, clearing) wherein Being can disclose itself to Da-sein - marked the beginning of a dialectical conversion to a trans-rational philosophical thinking.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Adam G. Glover on May 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
Bruce Benson's most recent offering GRAVEN IDEOLOGIES is an excellent overview of the several important advances in recent continental philosophy. From the pioneering work of Friedrich Nietzsche to more contemporary works by Emmanuel Levinas and Jean-Luc Marion, Benson consistently and lucidly outlines the battle against the human proclivity to construct conceptual idols that European philosophy and theology have waged for the last two centuries. It also quite refreshing to hear a confessing Christian--and evangelical even!--say that we believers might have something important to learn from Nietzsche and Derrida.

But the work is not without problems, of course. While Benson is doubtless, strongest on his home turf of phenomenology, he is less confident--and less convincing--in the chapters dealing with the relationship between Nietzsche and Jesus. On a related issue, as another reviewer has already pointed out, the material on Heidegger is superficial, and the scope of Benson's work could have been greatly expanded by a more substantive treatment of this central figure.

In the end, though, Benson's work is an excellent introduction highly recommended for anyone engaging in a first-time study of these key thinkers.
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6 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A. garrett on January 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
those who will find this book helpful are college majors and dabblers, these are also the individuals Benson has written this text for. It will also help those of us who need to brush up on our basic grasp of these figures and their additions to questions of religious speech and truth. if you read this book, you will be able to score chicks at bars....
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