chapter  10
14 Pages

On Philosophers (Not) Reading History: Narrative and Utopia

ByGrace M. Jantzen

How does newness enter the world? How can such newness disrupt the violence of (post)modernity, violence whose perpetrators often invoke the names of God? And how can philosophers of religion and theologians help to change the world rather than be reduced to ineffectual hand-wringing, or, worse, be complicit in the violence? Philosophers of religion in the Anglo-American world have traditionally held tightly to disciplinary boundaries, concerning themselves with issues of universal truth: issues of faith, belief, the nature and existence of God, immortality and so on. I have argued elsewhere (Jantzen 1998, 2004) that the pursuit of such abstractions is in fact a masculinist escape from the messy realities of life. In this article, rather than repeat that critique, I wish to show that in order to be effective in helping to change the world, it is necessary for thinkers to transcend disciplinary boundaries, moving beyond ideas of universals and engaging with the concrete narratives of individuals and cultures.