- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 31, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199841365
- ISBN-13: 978-0199841363
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.8 x 6.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,140,219 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Significance of Religious Experience 1st Edition
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"This book is unique in writings in philosophy of religion. In it Wettstein presents a sensitive, philosophically sophisticated, first-person account of his understanding of the religion he practices, traditional Judaism, and uses that understanding to make observations about religion in general. The book is an exceptionally good example of a neo-Wittgenstein type of approach to 'God-talk.' With its autobiographical form it goes further than most to show the reader how such an approach can be lived with spiritual depth."--Jerome Gellman, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
"This book represents, as far as I can tell, the first single-authored manuscript addressing
contemporary issues in the relatively new and steadily growing field of analytic philosophy of Judaism, a field within which Wettstein has been identified as one of earliest and exemplary practitioners."--Sol Goldberg, University of Toronto
From the Author
I am most interested in reactions. Please feel free to write me: Howard.Wettstein@ucr.edu
Top customer reviews
As someone who often finds myself stuck in the mindset of contemporary analytic philosophy of religion, this approach comes as a breath of fresh air and resonates both with my own skepticism of the discipline and the allure which religion holds for me. With an ever present sensitivity and humility, Wettstein explores a new (or perhaps in reality an old) way of looking at religion philosophically as well as personally.
I see this as a much needed voice in contemporary philosophy that along with thinkers like Charles Taylor points towards important avenues of thought at the intersection of religion and philosophy.
Yet this is not a work of revision. The aspects of religious experience that Wettstein uncovers seem at once more essential and more authentic to the phenomenon as we know it than the familiar metaphysical doctrines. In that sense, among others, the book remains a central work in the philosophy of religion, even as it promises to transform what we mean by the phrase.
Philosophy aside, I expect the book will be of enormous benefit to the day-to-day practitioner of religion, or the person trying to reconcile a weakness for religious questions or sensibilities with the rest of her contemporary outlook. Fortunately for them, it is a beautiful and easy read!
In the last few years, as a Rabbinical student, I have been exposed to a number of young Jews who have been searching and lost. One great source of tension is that many of these young people have grown up in a community with a language and values that they can't make any sense of. In school, and in wider society, these intelligent students of mine have imbibed the languages of scientism, naturalism and rationalism. And these ways of thinking just don't seem to sit at ease with the apparently supernatural language of Judaism that they absorbed at home. The tension for them is real.
In Wettstein's book, the reader is invited in to Wettstein's own similar struggles, with a collection of essays written over the duration of a decade. Wettstein's philosophical intuitions are naturalistic, his philosophy of religious language, greatly influenced by the late Wittgenstein, and he comes armed with a touching sensitivity to the rhythm and symbolism of religious life and ritual. This book should become the go-to book for reflection upon naturalistic philosophy of religion, and, much more than that, I think it will give a lot of people a lot of comfort too.
The style of the book walks a delicate line between the ordered and systematic reflections of an academic philosopher, and the confessional, personal style of a person of faith.
As an academic philosopher, I commend this book to my peers, and, as a trainee Rabbi, I have already had the opportunity to commend it to the wider religious community.