Faith and Knowledge, Reconsidered: Modern Religion and the “Time of Life”


Almost twenty-five years have passed after the publication of Jacques Derrida’s 1996 seminal essay, “Faith and Knowledge: Religion at the Limits of Reason Alone,” one of the most important, but also most enigmatic post-secular texts of late modernity. Six articles in this issue are devoted directly to Derrida’s essay. The other two can also be read along them as dealing with broadly conceived post-secular issues. They all can be brought under the traditional heading of “faith and knowledge” – simultaneously in recognition of Derrida’s title and in opening a wider perspective on fides et ratio today (a few decades after the famous 1994 Capri seminar on religion). Derrida participated in the seminar with his 2000 essay (Glauben und Wissen), on the same subject, along with the equally famous intervention of Jürgen Habermas.
The main theme of Derrida’s take on the confrontation between fides and ratio is the analysis of the relation between modern philosophy/knowledge and modern religion/faith: a complex co-dependence which challenges Hegel’s conviction that philosophy had managed to sublate religion completely and allowed for the survival of its most valuable contents in a new rational form. Pace Martin Hägglund’s thesis, (according to which Derrida’s philosophy should be classified as “radical atheism” in the Hegelian vein), the essays in this volume present Derrida’s thinking on religion as far more ambivalent, leaning toward not so much atheism as radical iconoclasm which does not annul the idea of divinity, but rather hides it away from sight.

How to cite:

Bielik-Robson, Agata. “Faith and Knowledge, Reconsidered: Modern Religion and the ‘Time of Life’.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 5, no. 3 (2021):  1-6. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2021.0023.


Agata Bielik-Robson
Theology & Religious Studies, University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK;
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences
72 Nowy Świat Street, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland

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