New publication: ‚Idealbildung, Sakralisierung, Religion‘

The Campus publishing house will publish a new book entitled ‚Idealbildung, Sakralisierung, Religion‘ (Ideal Formation, Sacralisation, Religion) on 19 January 2022, which brings together contributions to Hans Joas‘ ‚Die Macht des Heiligen‘ (The Power of the Sacred). Editors are: Magnus Schlette, Bettina Hollstein, Matthias Jung and Wolfgang Knöbl.

What drives the history of religion, how can the dynamics of cultural innovation be understood? Hans Joas gives a concise answer to this with the title of his book ‚The Power of the Sacred‘. However, he also takes the trouble to substantiate this answer on 600 pages between the covers of the book. In the volume now appearing, internationally renowned scholars engage with Joas‘ ambitious attempt to develop a historiography of religion and culture on this side of the common universal-historical narrative of secularisation and disenchantment. Contributors include Christoph Seibert, Jürgen Straub, Charles Taylor and Silvia Terpe.

The editors: Magnus Schlette is a lecturer in philosophy at the FEST in Heidelberg and a private lecturer in philosophy at the University of Erfurt. Bettina Hollstein is Managing Director at the Max-Weber-Kolleg at the University of Erfurt. Matthias Jung is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Koblenz. Wolfgang Knöbl is Director of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research.

Magnus Schlette, Bettina Hollstein, Matthias Jung and Wolfgang Knöbl (eds.)
Idealbildung, Sakralisierung, Religion
Beiträge zu Hans Joas‘ ‚Die Macht des Heiligen‘
(series: Soziologie/Soziologische Theorien)
Campus publishing house, 2022
ISBN/EAN: 9783593511405
521 pages
39,95 EUR

frensh translation of the book ‚Macht des Heiligen‘ by Hans Joas now available.

Französische Übersetzung der ‚Macht des Heiligen‘

Was ist der Platz des Heiligen und der Religion im modernen gesellschaftlichen Leben? Weder eine lineare Sicht der Säkularisierung als fortschreitender und globaler Niedergang der Religion, noch ein mystisches Verständnis der „Rückkehr des Religiösen“ scheint ausreichend, um dieses komplexe Phänomen zu erfassen. Hans Joas diskutiert in seinem Buch die wichtigsten philosophischen und soziologischen Paradigmen, die seit dem achtzehnten Jahrhundert entwickelt wurden, um über das religiöse Leben nachzudenken.

Jetzt ist zu diesem Buch, das einem Universalismus der Menschenrechte verpflichtet ist, die französische Übersetzung erschienen, die trotz der Tatsache, dass sich Frankreich seiner Laizität (einer strikten Trennung von Staat und Religion) rühmt, eine sehr positive Resonanz in der französischen Presse (z. B. im Le Monde) gefunden hat.

Informationen zum Buch:

Matteo Santarelli presents a working paper on ‚Values, concepts, and contingency: re-assessing Joas’ theory of values‘

This paper is part of the introduction to the Italian edition of Hans Joas’s
book Die Entstehung der Werte. This paper aims at discussing and
reassessing Joas’ theses from the standpoint of nowadays scientific,
political and cultural debates.
In the first section of the paper, I will briefly reconstruct Joas’ definition of
values as the articulation of experiences of self-formation and selftranscendence.
In the second section of the paper, I will try to develop Joas’ theory of values presented in his 1997 essay from a theoretical point of view. As an outcome of this discussion, two supplementary theses will be introduced and discussed: values have an abstract (or more precisely, vague) conceptual content; moral judgments and feelings exceed the conceptual content of values. In the third section of the paper I will try to apply this theoretical reelaboration of Joas’ theory to discuss a contemporary issue, that is the role that values play in contemporary political and social life. Specifically, I will try to show how limited is an understanding of western contemporary societies in terms of total loss of values. The critical focus of this discussion will be Wendy Brown´s nihilistic interpretation of the contemporary conservative reactivation of traditional values.

Josef Römelt presents a working paper on ‚Theological Ethics within the rational conditions of Cultural Studies‘

The text offered for the colloquium is intended to demonstrate the increasing interest of geography in ethical questions. Part of the dissertation project describes a process of increasing sensitivity for ethical questions on the part of geography, which overcomes the scientific positivism of the second half of the 20th century and leads to the transdisciplinary questions of the 21st century. Under the heading of „moral geographies“, the PhD project attempts to discuss the results of these cultural studies processes in geography. This could be helpful hints to possibly supplementing this analysis (however, it has already turned out to be relatively broad). However, the aim of the dissertation project is to obtain helpful suggestions for theological ethics from the increasing sensitivity of geography to ethics. „Geographical“ terminology seems particularly helpful for the task of structuring ethical problems. For example, Integrative Ethics speaks of topology, aporetics and poristics as essential components of striving ethics. Just as in geography topography designs maps for orientation, in ethics the demonstration of topoi, i.e. problem centres, paths of possible solutions (poristics) and the description of cul-de-sacs (aporetics) should provide ethical orientation services. In connection with the ethics of responsibility, Hans Jonas contrasts the Christian principle of „charity“ with the principle of „responsibility at a distance“. This addresses the problem that present generations are capable of destroying the living conditions of future generations from an ecological point of view. The spatial metaphors from near (charity) and far (responsibility for the farthest) serve to describe ethical problems in spatial and temporal distance. In media ethics, the attempt to establish spatial and temporal presence via media services (immediacy of the individual’s fate, language of images …) is thematized, so that moral action become politically effective.

The collection of ideas for the analysis of further points of contact between geographical metaphors and attempts at ethical structuring would be helpful for the project.

Bettina Hollstein presents a working paper on ‚The Role of Corporations in the Great Transformation in a Pragmatist Perspective‘

In order to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)
we need a new great transformation as conceptualized by Polanyi,
reintegrating and re-embedding different spheres like the economy,
society, politics and science. This great transformation is merely a
moral project including technological, economical, institutional and
cultural processes. Different actors are part of this project, such as,
civil society, science and corporations. In this paper, I want to focus on
the role of corporations as change agents within the Great
The SDG are, in this respect, the moral compass (Schneidewind
2018) for the Transformation, but the true question is what makes
corporations start to go in the direction the compass shows. To answer
this question, I want to use a pragmatist framework relating on Hans
Joas’ work on action theory in an interdisciplinary manner. I want to
investigate when and how change agents have an impact on societal
change by taking a close look at the interdependencies of individual
and collective action, rational and emotional aspects, intended and
non-intended results etc.