Philosophers have long and skeptically viewed religion as a source of overeasy answers, with a singular, totalizing God and the comfort of an immortal soul being the greatest among them. But religious thought has always been more interesting-indeed, a rich source of endlessly unfolding questions. With questions from the 1885 Baltimore Catechism of the Catholic Church as the starting point for each chapter, Karmen MacKendrick offers postmodern reflections on many of the central doctrines of the Church: the oneness of God, original sin, forgiveness, love and its connection to mortality, reverence for the relics of saints, and the doctrine of bodily resurrection. She maintains that we begin and end in questions and t in answers, in fragments and t in totalities-more precisely, in a fragmentation paradoxically integral to wholeness. Taking seriously Augustine's idea that we find the divine in memory, MacKendrick argues that memory does t lead us back in time to a tidy answer but opens onto a complicated and fragmented time in which we find that the one and the many, before and after and w, even sacred and profane are complexly entangled. Time becomes something lived, corporeal, and sacred, with fragments of eternity interspersed among the stretches of its duration. Our sense of ourselves is correspondingly complex, because theological considerations lead us t to the security of an everlasting, indivisible soul dwelling comfortably in the presence of a paternal deity but to a more complicated, perpetually peculiar, and paradoxical life in the flesh. Written out of MacKendrick's extensive background in both recent and late-ancient philosophy, this moving and poetic book can also be an inspiration to anyone, scholar or lay reader, seeking to find contemporary significance in these ancient theological doctrines.
Karmen MacKendrick is a professor of philosophy and an associate chair of the McDevitt Center for Creativity and Innovation at Le Moyne College. Her work in philosophical theology is entangled with several other disciplines, particularly those involved with words, with flesh, or with the pleasures to be taken in both. These preoccupations appear in several books, most recently Divine Enticement: Theological Seductions (Fordham University Press, 2013).