Compiled and Introduced by Kenneth G. MacKendrick
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The bibliography has been constructed keeping in mind the various distinctions and conflations of theology, religion, and the study of religion within Habermas’s writings. Primary sources are essays by Habermas dealing with symbols and symbolism, mythic thought, ritual, religious studies, theology, and religion in the public sphere. I have refrained from including essays on the relation between moral philosophy and ethics, political theory and multiculturalism as well as essays on aesthetics, all of which may be relevant to the study of Habermas and religion. Likewise, I have not included his essays on the pragmatics of social interaction which, in essence, deal with learning processes that liberate individuals from dependence upon tradition.
Secondary sources have been limited to writings pertaining almost exclusively to religion or theology in relation to Habermas’s writings. Discussions about multiculturalism and citizenship have been excluded with the caveat that this exclusion can only be justified in lexical terms: if it doesn’t mention the word religion, it didn’t make the short list.
Introduction to Habermas and Religion: There are three principal directions that Habermas’s thoughts on religion offer.
1) A critical theory of society provides a critique of theology and religious thought.
2) Habermas’s theory of social evolution and communicative rationality explains and accounts for the function of religion within processes of socialization and individuation.
3) Habermas’s political theory outlines a programmatic understanding of the appropriate place of religion and religious language within ethical, moral, and political discourses.
Introduction to Secondary Literature: There are three principal responses to Habermas’s work.
1) Responses from theologians and religious thinkers who argue that Habermas underestimates or misunderstands the potential of religion to serve as a progressive or vitalistic force within society.
2) Sociologists and social theorists interested in using or responding to Habermas’s conception of religion and its role within society.
3) Responses from political theorists and moral philosophers on Habermas’s understanding of the relation between religion, law, and morality.
Forewarning: the bibliography is a work in progress; the material listed is not as thoroughly documented as it could be. In future revisions I hope to list material by individual chapter and include German publication dates.
A rough guide, collected from the footnotes of Habermas’s writings on religion. The notes are not exhaustive and are the work product of a quick skim over the authors and titles that are associated with many of the primary sources. Not included in this section are writings pertaining to cognitive development and social evolution.