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The Existential Situation of Our Time: Selected Essays, Volume 1

David Tracy


David Tracy

408 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2019
Cloth $39.00 ISBN: 9780226567297 Published April 2020
E-book $10.00 to $39.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226584508 Published April 2020
David Tracy is widely considered one of the most important religious thinkers in North America, known for his pluralistic vision and disciplinary breadth. His first book in more than twenty years reflects Tracy’s range and erudition, collecting essays from the 1980s to 2018 into a two-volume work that will be greeted with joy by his admirers and praise from new readers.

In the first volume, Fragments, Tracy gathers his most important essays on broad theological questions, beginning with the problem of suffering across Greek tragedy, Christianity, and Buddhism. The volume goes on to address the Infinite, and the many attempts to categorize and name it by Plato, Aristotle, Rilke, Heidegger, and others. In the remaining essays, he reflects on questions of the invisible, contemplation, hermeneutics, and public theology. Throughout, Tracy evokes the potential of fragments (understood both as concepts and events) to shatter closed systems and open us to difference and Infinity. Covering science, literature, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and non-Western religious traditions, Tracy provides in Fragments a guide for any open reader to rethink our fragmenting contemporary culture.

Part 1: The Existential Situation of Our Time

1          Fragments: The Spiritual Situation of Our Time
2          The Ultimate Invisible: The Infinite
3          Responses to Horror and Suffering: The Responses of Tragedy and Some Religions
4          Christianity and Suffering
5          Metaphysics, Theology, and Mysticism

Part 2: Hermeneutics

6          Hermeneutical Reflections in the New Paradigm of Theology
7          Western Hermeneutics and Interreligious Dialogue
8          The Dialogical Turn of Contemporary Thought
9          Paul Ricoeur: Hermeneutics and the Dialectic of Religious Forms

Part 3: Publicness and Public Theology

10        Theology, Critical Social Theory, and the Public Realm
11        Religion in the Public Realm: Three Forms of Publicness
12        Practical Theology: Its Mystical-Prophetic Character
13        Argument, Dialogue, and the Soul in Plato

Part 4: Religion, Theology, and Dialogue

14        Metaphor and Religion: The Test Case of Christian Texts
15        Mystics, Prophets, Rhetorics: Religion and Psychoanalysis
16        Contemplation, Speculation, Action: Reflections on Orthodox Theology

Review Quotes
John McCarthy, Loyola University Chicago
“Consistent with Tracy’s earlier works, these articles display a breadth and depth of theological, philosophical, literary, cultural, and critical scholarship matched by few, if any, contemporary theologians. Each essay is an exercise in interpreting our times, sometimes by interpreting the past, sometimes by interpreting a text, sometimes by interpreting a current situation or flow of events. There are not many authors who share both the breadth of vision and depth of reading and scholarship that Tracy has.”
Currents in Theology and Mission
"Tracy demonstrates the range of his philosophical interests in service of theology, particularly his profound attention to hermeneutics. . . [A] rich feast . . . We can be grateful for the insightful essays collected in this volume from one of America’s leading theologians."
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