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The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology Hardcover – February 1, 2012

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The Faith of the Faithless: Experiments in Political Theology + Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance (Radical Thinkers) + Ethics-Politics-Subjectivity: Essays on Derrida, Levinas & Contemporary French Thought (Radical Thinkers)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; 1 edition (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844677370
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844677375
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookforum

Critchley's academic work among would-be anarchists and postcolonialists at the University of Essex and the New School responds to a gauchiste Left consumed with a ressentiment toward liberal democracy that he partly shares. His entanglements in that idiom mar this rich if loopy survey of efforts to bridge the abysses separating Western religion from philosophy, and both from politics. —Jim Sleeper


“[A] movingly optimistic work ... ’Everything to be true must become a religion,’ Wilde says, and Critchley, poetically and persuasively, suggests ways in which this might be accomplished.”—Stuart Kelly, The Guardian

“A a sustained and fascinating reflection on the place of religion in political discourse.”—Giles Fraser, New Statesman

“A thoughtful, illuminating exploration ... erudite and measured.”—Publisher's Weekly

“This version of a faithless faith that Simon is fleshing out in this book is a radical break in his own thinking ... in this new book Simon’s insights arrive in their most brilliant splendor: Unlike Derrida’s version of truth (and its political important) that keeps deferring and is always different, here the breakthrough happens precisely when we are able to confront our own toxic void and in the suffering of this confrontation we are able to connect with the immanent other in an act of love in the horizon of a broken embracement. Like Christ’s brokenness on the cross he opens up a way through suffering that does not cancel out the void and lack that grounds us, but unites us in the very brokenness itself.”—Creston Davis, Political Theology

“[T]he book amply demonstrates Critchley’s many strengths as a thinker and teacher. Where the book is exegetical, it is strikingly clear ... Even better, the book displays Critchley’s skill as one of the very best close readers of philosophical texts we have ... this fascinating and important book traces, as it were, a trajectory of his thought and is not an end in itself.”—Robert Eaglestone, Times Higher Education

The Faith of the Faithless provides a powerful vision of what our politics ought to look like.”—David Winters, Los Angeles Review of Books

More About the Author

Simon Critchley is Chair of Philosophy at the New School for Social Research in New York and part-time Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tilburg in the Netherlands. He lives in Brooklyn.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Rex Styzens on September 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
One scholar calls it "Post-Atheism." Others call it "Return to the Religious." Critchley just calls it his search for a political theology with a coherent understanding of the meaning of faith.

This book is a scholarly study that opens with a detailed examination of Rousseau's political philosophy and closes with Critchley's tussle with Zizek over the place of violence in politics. What can be found in between is what I find most intriguing. Among other things, Critchley examines the resurgence of interest in Paul's epistles and adds his own analysis. He uses a close reading of Heidegger's THE PHENOMENOLOGY OF RELIGIOUS LIFE The Phenomenology of Religious Life (Studies in Continental Thought) that then suggests an additional interpretation of BEING AND TIME's Being and Time concept of "thrown projection." It clarifies many of MH's comments for me.

To summarize my best grasp of what MH means would be to accept Critchley's characterization of thrown projection as a double nullity. That is, to be thrown is a nullity (Dasein is "there" if only we knew where that is) and to rely on projection is an additional nullity (Dasein acts as if we know what is coming even though we don't). Dasein finds itself always already somewhere in between those nullities. Heidegger characterizes that position as one of "guilt," which would seem to harmonize with St. Paul's reliance on sin. But the devil is always in the details, and Critchley examines MH's position, instead, as an assertion of the openness of human freedom.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R. A. Weil on April 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I am writing this review because I am in trucking and without anyone who could sort out my confusion. I would suppose that those readers who are well grounded in contemporary philosophy would consider my confusion sophomoric. I was drawn to this title through reading Critchley's small but incisive consideration of Wallace Stevens in "Things Merely Are" and his further application of Stevens idea of a Supreme Fiction to the realm of Politics. I was also intrigued by the idea of nothing as a basis for the powerlessness of conscience as related to the last line of Stevens' "The Snowman" (And nothing himself, beholds/Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.) But the ground quakes and avalanches await all the effort that Critchley makes to buttress his theory that for the body Politic, faith must remain a component more than reason. Professionally, I guess I understand why a philosopher would so carefully construct an argument, but even if his thesis is right on, the course of his argument detracts from its persuasiveness.

For example, in the first section of "The Faith of the Failthless" he proceeds with an analysis of Rousseau that depends on ferreting out the differences between the published manuscript and "The Geneva Manuscript." I understand how this guides his interpretation of Rousseau's "The Social Contract," but for me fails to make "The General Will" and the role of the lawgiver a substantive base to build on. Of course, he notes in the text that the reader should refer to his previous work on "infinite demand" and this would add clarity.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Hugh I. Rodgers on March 14, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a book for theologians and political philosophers only. General readers interested in questions of faith and politics should look elsewhere..
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5 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Joseph T. O. Connor on February 25, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a rant by Critchley, who writes well even while ranting. I did not find his arguments persuasive of any position except he thinks that Critchley is the best.
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