An exploration of how religious faith and the search for transcendence have undergone dramatic change yet have remained undiminished in the post-Enlightenment era.
Trade Information: LPOD
Available as: Paperback (eBook edition available soon)
Specifications: 229x153mm, 402pp
Published: February 2017
In The Mystery and the World, Maria Clara Bingemer explores how the place of religion in society has dramatically shifted since the Enlightenment. The modern era is characterised by a major change in humanity's fundamental desires that means that reason has taken the place of faith. Human beings, in their ongoing search for a scientific understanding of the world, have drifted away from seeking any essence of transcendence in their lives. Bingemer examines this transition and how, especially in the postmodern era, it has led to technology and superficial happiness becoming all-important as opposed to the more sacred sense of contentment that governed us for centuries prior to the Enlightenment. In her discussion, however, Bingemer demonstrates that we as humans have not lost our innate desire to believe in a higher power and that, even in our world of instant satisfaction, we still need to fill the void left by religion. Through well-researched analysis of the modern era and discussion of some of the mystics of more recent times, she reveals to the reader how religious belief, whilst changed, is not dead and is still an important aspect of our existence.
Foreword by Peter J. Casarella
1. Premature or Late Modernity: A Question of Culture
2. Secular Culture and the Crisis of Religion
3. Religious or Mystical Experience: A New Moment, a New Configuration, New Challenges
4. Mystical Biographies and Theological Narrative
5. Stories and Experiences of Love
Appendix: Translator's Note Regarding Sources and Footnotes for Chapter 5
Foreword by Peter J. Casarella » (PDF, 58 KB)
Introduction » (PDF, 115 KB)
Extract from Chapter 2: Secular Culture and the Crisis of Religion » (PDF, 184 KB)
Maria Clara Bingemer is Professor of Systematic Theology at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She teaches Fundamental Theology and Theology of God. She is the author of many books and articles in various languages, including Simone Weil (2015), A Face for God (2014) and Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Poor (1987), and is co-editor with Peter Casarella of Witnessing: Prophecy, Politics, Wisdom (2014). She is a member of the editorial board of Concilium.
"Maria Clara Bingemer dares to take on our contemporary secular culture and insists on our need for religious experience. While arguing for the reality of religion, she posits a particular course, for all of us, to rediscover the Transcendent. ... Through her account of how it is that we are this way, she proposes other narratives that bring us to an encounter of passion for God. It's Bingemer at her best."
James F. Keenan, Canisius Professor, Boston College
"Reading Dr Bingemer's book, the idea of mystical thought as an outdated, esoteric tradition fairly crumbles in our hands. By carefully laying out the spiritual experiences and ethical concerns of a number of modern mystical personalities who sought a life of grace outside the official church or at its fringes, she challenges people of faith to open their eyes to their tacit conspiracy in the ongoing degradation of human life and the ecology of the earth."
James W. Heisig, Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture