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Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan

Cover of Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan

Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan

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In this passionate and searching book, Anthony Kronman offers a third way—beyond atheism and religion—to the God of the modern world

We live in an age of disenchantment. The number of self-professed "atheists" continues to grow. Yet many still feel an intense spiritual longing for a connection to what Aristotle called the "eternal and divine." For those who do, but demand a God that is compatible with their modern ideals, a new theology is required. This is what Anthony Kronman offers here, in a book that leads its readers away from the inscrutable Creator of the Abrahamic religions toward a God whose inexhaustible and everlasting presence is that of the world itself. Kronman defends an ancient conception of God, deepened and transformed by Christian belief—the born-again paganism on which modern science, art, and politics all vitally depend. Brilliantly surveying centuries of Western thought—from Plato to Augustine, Aquinas, and Kant, from Spinoza to Nietzsche, Darwin, and Freud—Kronman recovers and reclaims the God we need today.

In this passionate and searching book, Anthony Kronman offers a third way—beyond atheism and religion—to the God of the modern world

We live in an age of disenchantment. The number of self-professed "atheists" continues to grow. Yet many still feel an intense spiritual longing for a connection to what Aristotle called the "eternal and divine." For those who do, but demand a God that is compatible with their modern ideals, a new theology is required. This is what Anthony Kronman offers here, in a book that leads its readers away from the inscrutable Creator of the Abrahamic religions toward a God whose inexhaustible and everlasting presence is that of the world itself. Kronman defends an ancient conception of God, deepened and transformed by Christian belief—the born-again paganism on which modern science, art, and politics all vitally depend. Brilliantly surveying centuries of Western thought—from Plato to Augustine, Aquinas, and Kant, from Spinoza to Nietzsche, Darwin, and Freud—Kronman recovers and reclaims the God we need today.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 26, 2016
    Situating his book between the spiritual polarities of atheist and true believer, Kronman (Education’s End) focuses on a third way of thinking about the afterlife: born-again paganism. Critiquing the loss of love and gratitude that comes with what he calls the self-defeating doctrine of Christian salvation and the disenchanted “loveless world of rights” it has created (“the poisonous fruit of the Christian religion”), Kronman recommends a religion that “reconciles the longing to be close to God with the ideals of our secular age.” Part intellectual history and part doctrinal statement, this massive confessional work is concerned with humans making their way in the modern world with joy and gratitude. In order to make his case, Kronman seeks to dissolve what he sees as Aristotle’s errors and to deconstruct the disenchanting philosophy of Christian salvation. Furthermore, he explores the practical implications of born-again pagan theology, specifically through the writings of Baruch Spinoza (the book’s hero), Walt Whitman, and Friedrich Nietzsche. The book is daunting in length (over 1,000 pages), and its unapologetic emphasis on Western philosophy (to the neglect of philosophies stemming from other worldviews) limits it from being truly universal in scope. However, what the book diligently provides is an intellectual history of neo-paganism and a commendable attempt at navigating the practical ethics of what a post-Christian society would look like.

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    Yale University Press
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Anthony T. Kronman
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