Reading List on Modernity and Secularism

Note: many titles from this excellent list by Derrick Peterson.

Primary List:

  • Agamben, Giorgio. Homo Sacer.
  • Asad, Talal.
    • Secular Translations: Nation-State, Modern Self, and Calculative Reason.
    • Formations of the Secular.
  • Berry, Wendell. The Unsettling of America.
  • Betz, John R. After Enlightenment: The Post-Secular Vision of J. G. Hamann.
  • Blumenberg, Hans. The Legitimacy of the Modern Age and The Genesis of the Copernican World.
  • Brague, Rémi. The Kingdom of Man: The Genesis and Failure of the Modern Project.
  • Cavanaugh, William.
    • Migrations of the Holy.
    • The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict.
  • Connolly, William E. Why I Am Not a Secularist.
  • Del Noce, Augusto. The Crisis of Modernity. (Translated by Carlo Lancellotti.)
  • Dupre, Louis. The Enlightenment and the Intellectual Foundations of Modern Culture. (A trilogy.)
  • Funkenstein, Amos. Theology and the Scientific Imagination.
  • Gaukroger, Stephen. 4 volumes on the emergence of scientific culture.
  • Gillespie, Michael Allen. Theological Origins of Modernity.
  • Gonzales, Philip John Paul (editor). Exorcising Philosophical Modernity: Cyril O’Regan and Christian Discourse after Modernity.
  • Gregory, Brad. The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society.
  • Harries, Karsten. Infinity and Perspective. (Derrick Peterson’s all time favorite academic book on the scientific revolution.)
  • Harrison, Peter. The Territories of Science and Religion.
  • Hoff, Johannes. The Analogical Turn: Rethinking Modernity with Nicholas of Cusa (A top recommendation by Jonathan McCormack. See comments at this blog post.)
  • Horkheimer, Max and Theodor W. Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment. Translated by Edmund Jephcott. (Goes after logical positivism.)
  • Josephson-Storm, Jason Ānanda.
    • Metamodernism: The Future of Theory.
    • The Myth of Disenchantment: Magic, Modernity, and the Birth of the Human Sciences.
  • Koyre, Alexander. From a Closed World to the Infinite Universe.
  • MacIntyre, Alasdaire. His quadrilogy.
  • Masuzawa, Tomoko. The Invention of World Religions.
  • Milbank, John.
    • Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason.
    • Beyond Secular Order. (Shorter treatment.)
  • Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Knowledge and the Sacred.
  • Nongbri, Brent. Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept.
  • Pannenberg, Wolfhart. Theology and the Philosophy of Science and Anthropology in Theological Perspective.
  • Peterson, Derrick. Flat Earths and Fake Footnotes.
  • Pfau, Thomas. Minding the Modern. (From the angle of anthropology.)
  • Smith, James K. A. After Modernity?: Secularity, Globalization, and the Reenchantment of the World.
  • Smith, Wilfred Cantwell. The Meaning and End of Religion.
  • Taylor, Charles.
    • A Secular Age. (Recapped in How (Not) to Be Secular by James K. A. Smith.)
    • Sources of the Self.
  • Barbour, Ian. Religion in an Age of Science. Two volumes.
  • Lincoln, Bruce. Holy Terrors: Thinking About Religion After 9/11.
  • Tyson, Paul. Defragmenting Modernity. (Superb, easy distillation of Milbank’s and the RO’s critique of modernity recommended by Jonathan McCormack.)

Related:

  • Beck, Richard. Hunting Magic Eels: Recovering an Enchanted Faith in a Skeptical Age.
  • Freeman, Stephen. Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe.
  • Hart, David Bentley. Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies.
  • Lewis, C. S. Abolition of Man.
  • Trueman, Carl. The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution.

Pro Modernity and Secularism Perspectives:

  • Cox, Harvey.
    • The Secular City: Secularization and Urbanization in Theological Perspective.
    • Feast of Fools.

Inspirational quotation from none of the above books:

I take …complacency with regard to the post-religious rationalism of our age to be curiously oblivious to the extraordinary violence that has always been part of the history and the logic of secular modernity: the oceans of blood spilled by the wars of the emergent nation states, the nationalist and imperialist and colonialist adventures of early and late modernity, the racialist ideologies and totalitarian regimes incubated in the deep shadows cast by Enlightenment rationalism, the rise of early modern and industrial and late consumerist capitalism with all the evils—the rebirth of chattel slavery, the commodification of labor, the exploitation of impoverished labor markets, and so on—with which the whole history may justly be charged, the wars of terror we are willing to prosecute in the name of something called liberal democracy in order to protect the sacred space of that consumerist culture from any threat foreign or domestic, and so on.

From Theological Territories by David Bentley Hart.

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