Friendship as Sacred Knowing Overcoming Isolation

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 6/2/2014
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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We are haunted, Samuel Kimbriel suggests, by a habit of isolation buried, often imperceptibly, within our practices of understanding and relating to the world. In Friendship as Sacred Knowing, Kimbriel works through the complexities of this disposition to contest its place within contemporary philosophical thought and practice.

Stories of isolation amidst the fragmentation of community are familiar in this age, as are tales of alienation provoked by the insistent indifference of the scientific cosmos. This book goes beyond such stories, arguing that the crisis of loneliness in the present age is deeper yet, betokening a more fundamental incoherence within the modern personality itself.

Kimbriel engages deeply with the human activity of friendship. Chapters one and two examine friendship to unearth the contours of the habit towards isolation and to reveal certain ills that have long attended it. Chapters three through seven place these isolated ways of relating to the world into critical dialogue with the tradition of late-antique and early-medieval Johannine Christianity, in which intimacy and understanding go hand in hand.

This Johannine tradition drew the human activities of friendship and enquiry into such unity that understanding itself became a kind of communion. Kimbriel endorses a return to an antique and particularly Christian philosophical habit-"the befriending of wisdom."

Author Biography

Samuel Kimbriel is a teaching fellow in philosophical theology at the University of Nottingham. His research focuses on questions of metaphysical realism, with a particular interest in perception and intellection. He holds an MPhil and PhD from the University of Cambridge.

Table of Contents


Part I - Friendship and disengagement
1: Friendship and isolation
2: Friendship, virtue and contemplation

Part II - Friendship and enquiry: Beyond disengagement
3: Sacred knowing and indwelling love
4: The porous enquirer
5: The veiled path: Enquiry, agency and desire
6: Human finitude and the paradox of enquiry
7: Friendship and deification

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