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Culture and the Death of God Hardcover – March 25, 2014

4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A tour-de-force survey of the changing relation of culture and religion."—Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly)

"In this rich, complex work. . . Eagleton deftly explores the shifting relationships among reason, religion, culture, myth, art, tragedy and the modern sensibility of the absurd, all expressed with a dry wit and provocative epigrams. . . . Now that the West is colliding with a resurgent Islam for which God is very much alive, Eagleton’s insights are particularly timely."—Kirkus Reviews
(Kirkus Reviews)

“Eagleton produces an account of the continuing power of religion that is rich and compelling. Open this book at random, and you will find on a single page more thought-stirring argument than can be gleaned from a dozen ponderous treatises on philosophy of sociology. Most of the critical turning points in modern thought are examined illuminatingly.”—John Gray, New Statesman
(John Gray New Statesman 2014-03-07)

‘Wide-ranging and intellectually impassioned.’—Sarah Bakewell, The Financial Times (Sarah Bakewell The Financial Times 2014-04-12)

“Getting rid of God has been a long slog, Eagleton’s concise, absorbing overview of the philosophical and cultural trends of the past three centuries explains.”—Marcus Tanner, The Independent
(Marcus Tanner The Indenpendent 2014-02-22)

‘Terry Eagleton brings all his forensic insights and acerbic wit, to the search for a replacement for God in critical thinking since the Enlightenment. . .Eagleton’s thoughts – “one can kill for all sorts of motives, but killing on a spectacular scale is almost always the consequence of ideas” – are a joy to ponder. That and his depth of knowledge make for fascinating reading.’—Scarlett MacGwire, Tribune Magazine
(Scarlett MacGuire Tribune Magazine 2014-05-16)

About the Author

Terry Eagleton is Distinguished Professor of Literature, University of Lancaster, and Excellence in English Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Notre Dame. He lives in Northern Ireland, UK.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300203993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300203998
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #882,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As an avid reader of religion and philosophy, I was intrigued by Terry Eagleton's decision to enter the "God Debate". As someone who wrote 'Why Marx Was Right', his defense of religion is a bit unexpected, but also great evidence of his point that "the Almighty has proved remarkably difficult to dispose of."

'Culture and the Death of God' is a dense academic text that reviews the last three centuries in which one intellectual movement after another has denied the existence of God only to pursue the divine elsewhere. The irony fuels Eagleton in this cunning exploration of Western religious culture, which I enjoyed quite a lot, although it was quite a challenge. From science to art, Eagleton seems pessimistic that we will find a satisfying alternative to God and remains sympathetic to religion as a basically decent expression of core human dilemmas and values, corrupted as institutions may be.

There are many Westerners questioning the merits of secular society right now and the revival in the philosophy of religion has brought a lot of groundbreaking work! Readers of this book would also like the collection of essays found in Reasoned Faith: Essays in Philosophical Theology in Honor of Norman Kretzmann.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Harrowing ride through the last two centuries of Western thought as Eagleton unpacks the multiple levels of unbelief in religion and skewers so many from the Enlightenment onward with their own bad faith in finding substitutes for God without acknowledging what they were really doing. The uncompromising atheism of Nietzsche stands in contrast to so many others who saw in culture a substitute for religion. Eagleton may not himself be a beliver, but he "gets" the raw and paradoxical call of Christianity which is so unlike the religion rejected in the West. His analysis of the emptiness and pretensions of both postmodernism and contemporary capitalism are withering. A fascinating book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a most wonderful analysis of the Enlightenment and its consequences and successors. Curiously, Eagleton seems to have omitted feminism and womankind from his list of candidates to fill the god-shaped hole left by the Enlightenment.
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Format: Paperback
I figured, despite the difficult content, that hearing these lectures on audiobook might ease their delivery. I like Terry Eagleton's work, and I always mean to read more. The Meaning of Life, for instance, is on my Kindle, where I am saving it up still, having already studied its final chapter.

But the subject matter is challenging. Eagleton's wit is subdued, after early on a joke at the expense of Birmingham. He hones in on not the "death of God" so much as his replacement, high European culture. The kind of thinking that George Steiner represents the last generation to have espoused.

This arose earlier than the Enlightenment, but that period, for the French and the Germans, gave it its fullest diffusion. Many Germans crowd these pages, along with the sometimes somewhat more familiar French. Eagleton looks down on the likes of Diderot and Voltaire, for they suffer the hypocrisy of many of their peers. For they speak a 'double-truth': they claim the masses need religion for its calming messages and social utility. The elite, of course, can rise to a higher worship of reason.

Yet, as Eagleton astutely notes, Deism roused no martyrs. He constantly defers to, or better still champions, the Gospel message as liberation theology (even if he steps aside from this phrasing). His Christ comes to afflict the comfortable and to condemn the authorities, taking up the side of the poor.

If one wonders if this is a selective interpretation of biblical verses, one will end this book unenlightened. Eagleton employs these talks to promulgate his own insistent reading of Jesus as a revolutionary.
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By PM on January 25, 2016
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Eagleton outdid himself with this excellent discussion on the place and importance of the concept of a 'God' in our culture and why it will always be a necessary condition of an unequal society. This book is very unfortunate news for atheists and agnostics as he explains why most people will probably never have the luxury of freeing themselves from religious illusion.
I was very moved by the final few pages of the book which contains a compassionate appeal for collective action to mitigate the suffering of the less fortunate. I found the tone of this appeal to be about as disheartening and fatalistic as can be in our current zero sum political situation.
Religion is here to stay under these circumstances in this culture .
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