Abraham Rubin reviews Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age at the blog of the Center for Jewish Law and Contemporary Civilization, Cardozo School of Law:
Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age (2007), a veritable tome spanning close to a thousand pages, attempts to reconstruct a genealogy of secularity from the early modern era to the present. The book is both polemical, arguing against sociological theories of secularization of the Weberian creed, and a profound philosophical excursus that aptly traverses intellectual history, theology, ethics and anthropology, only occasionally resorting to moral exhortation.
The historical and philosophical breadth of Taylor’s work is overwhelming, and the multiple lines of argument can easily lead astray anyone who hasn’t pored over his earlier works such as Modern Social Imaginaries (2004) and Sources of the Self (1989). In this sense, the recent collection of essays entitled Varieties of Secularism is an extremely helpful publication that serves as a guide for the perplexed to Taylor’s latest book, engaging it in critical and constructive dialogue.