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Religions 2015, 6(3), 819-838; doi:10.3390/rel6030819

Reason, Rhythm, and Rituality. Reinterpreting Religious Cult from a Postmodern, Phenomenological Perspective

Katholisch-Theologische Fakultät, Institut für Bibelwissenschaft (Altes Testament), University of Vienna, Schenkenstraße 8-10, A-1010 Wien, Austria
Academic Editor: Jonathan Hill
Received: 4 May 2015 / Revised: 25 May 2015 / Accepted: 17 June 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Horizons in the Philosophy of Religion)
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Abstract

Contemporary philosophy of religion is often focused, at a theoretical level, on the epistemic value of religious doctrines, and at a practical level, on the possible impact of organized religion on secular society and politics. However, the cultic dimension of religion, such as prayer, religious service, ascetic practices, and other rituals, is considered as completely “irrational” and incomprehensible from a secular perspective and therefore often neglected by postmodern philosophy. The paper intends to call into question this rather simplistic interpretation by retracing the historical origins of the devaluation of religious symbolism in occidental thought, which culminates in Kant’s philosophy of religion. We then shall analyze to what extent certain paradoxical aspects of Habermas’ view on religion can be interpreted as consequences of the dilemma brought about by the Kantian dichotomy between man as moral subject and man as natural, sensible being. In a third step, we shall develop an alternative, phenomenological interpretation, which does not consider religious practice as a primitive, irrational phenomenon but as a proto-ethical schematism that aims at integrating the sphere of pure practical reason into the rhythmic structure of living, embodied consciousness. View Full-Text
Keywords: philosophy of religion; postmodern philosophy; phenomenology; religious rituals; ethics; mind-body problem; language and rationality; Jürgen Habermas; Immanuel Kant; Edmund Husserl philosophy of religion; postmodern philosophy; phenomenology; religious rituals; ethics; mind-body problem; language and rationality; Jürgen Habermas; Immanuel Kant; Edmund Husserl
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Roesner, M. Reason, Rhythm, and Rituality. Reinterpreting Religious Cult from a Postmodern, Phenomenological Perspective. Religions 2015, 6, 819-838.

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