New book: Peter Dula’s “Cavell, Companionship, and Christian Theology”

We wanted to let our readers know about a very interesting looking new book that Oxford University Press has just published, entitled Cavell, Companionship, and Christian Theology, written by Peter Dula (Assistant Professor of Religion and Culture, Eastern Mennonite University). To visit OUP’s website for Prof. Dula’s book, please click here.

Here is the publisher’s description of the volume, followed by a few endorsements:

In recent decades, theologians and philosophers of religion have engaged in a vigorous debate concerning the status and nature of ecclesiology. Throughout this debate, they have found resources for their arguments in concepts of political philosophy, particularly communitarianism and political liberalism. In this groundbreaking study, Peter Dula turns instead to the work of philosopher Stanley Cavell, examining the ways in which Cavell’s understanding of companionship contributes to the debate over church and community.

Since the 1960s, Stanley Cavell has been the most category-defying philosopher in North America, as well as one of the least understood. Philosophers did not know what to make of his deep engagement with literature and film, or, stranger yet, with his openness to theological concerns. In this, the first English study of Cavell and theology, Dula places Cavell in conversation with some of the philosophers most influential in contemporary theology: Alasdair MacIntyre, Martha Nussbaum and John Rawls. He then examines Cavell’s relationship to Christian theology, shedding light on the repeated appearances of the figure of Christ in Cavell’s writings.

Cavell, Companionship, and Christian Theology finds in Cavell’s account of skepticism and acknowledgment a transformative resource for theological discussions – not just of ecclesiology, but of sin, salvation and the existence of God.

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“Stanley Cavell’s unique aesthetic is not easily shoe-horned into theology-or, for that matter, into philosophy. There is nothing forced, however, in Peter Dula’s honest engagement with Cavell and the unmasterable questions that Cavell is such a master at posing. Dula’s study, beautifully and bravely written, is an invitation into unsettled theology and friendship. There is much to nettle and delight the intrepid reader.”  –James Wetzel, Augustinian Chair and Professor of Philosophy, Villanova University

 

“This book is attentive to the point of brilliance, compelling not least because it is humanly vivid, and rich in possibilities for the future of Christian theology – not to say, of philosophy that speaks English. Dula is a gifted expository stylist: succinct, varied, witty, self-critical, and unfailingly generous.”  –Mark Jordan, Richard Reinhold Niebuhr Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School

“For decades colleagues in academic philosophy have found Stanley Cavell’s work much too unconventional to engage with seriously, apart from the handful grateful to him for his wonderful reading of Wittgenstein (another outsider, these days!). Political theorists, film buffs and literary crit ics, among others, have long enjoyed reading Cavell. Now, in this splendid book, themes in his work that connect with religious issues and especially with the Christian tradition are located and opened up, for the delight and illumination of theologians.” –Fergus Kerr, Honorary Fellow in the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh

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