Spiritual Exercises for a Secular Age
Desmond and the Quest for God
400 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Hardcover | 9780268108137 | September 2020
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268108151 | September 2020
eBook (PDF) | 9780268108168 | September 2020
In A Secular Age, Charles Taylor, faced with contemporary challenges to belief in God, issues a call for “new and unprecedented itineraries” that might be capable of leading seekers to encounter God. In Spiritual Exercises for a Secular Age, Ryan G. Duns demonstrates that William Desmond’s philosophy has the resources to offer a compelling response to Taylor. To show how, Duns makes use of the work of Pierre Hadot. In Hadot’s view, the point of philosophy is “not to inform but to form”—that is, not to provide abstract answers to abstruse questions but rather to form the human being such that she can approach reality as such in a new way. Drawing on Hadot, Duns frames Desmond’s metaphysical thought as a form of spiritual exercise. So framed, Duns argues, Desmond’s metaphysics attunes its readers to perceive disclosure of the divine in the everyday. In this way, Desmond’s metaphysics is not about conjuring a different reality but instead leads readers to behold reality itself in a different way by helping them to encounter the presence of God, who abides in, and is disclosed through, all things in the world.
Spiritual Exercises for a Secular Age offers a readable and engaging introduction to the thought of Charles Taylor and William Desmond, and demonstrates how practicing metaphysics can be understood as a form of spiritual exercise that renews in its practitioners attentiveness to God in all things. As a unique contribution at the crossroads of theology and philosophy, it will appeal to readers in continental philosophy, theology, and religious studies broadly.
Ryan G. Duns, SJ, is assistant professor of theology at Marquette University.
“Ryan Duns rightfully reads William Desmond as not only giving us ideas for consideration but ways of being in the world—ways of being in a present age pre-framed in terms of flattened immanence that open cracks if not breakthroughs onto a wider and deeper reality.” ~Christopher Ben Simpson, editor of The William Desmond Reader
“This book offers a penetrating, yet entirely accessible, account of not only the contours of William Desmond’s metaxological metaphysics, but more importantly how Desmond’s metaphysics serves to heal those forms of theological discourse that have become malnourished by the neglect of the practice of spiritual exercising at the heart of all theology.” ~Brendan Sammon, co-editor of William Desmond and Contemporary Theology