How do we stand in relation to everything that comes down to us from the past? Is the very idea of tradition still useful in the wake of historical ruptures, such as the Holocaust, changes in the can, and the end of colonialism? Drawing on a wide range of philosophers and literary theorists, these thirteen essays examine the response and resistance to religious, cultural, and literary tradition by various American, English, German, and African writers. Contributors analyze suspicion of tradition in modernity and present more complex and nuanced accounts of tradition that demonstrate its legitimacy and necessity in the lives of individuals and communities. Tradition emerges from their accounts both as a critique of destructive aspects of modernity and as consistent with some of its central values.
Donald G. Marshall is Fletcher Jones Chair of Great Books at Pepperdine University. With Joel Weinsheimer, he revised the translation of Hans-Georg Gadamer's Truth and Method (1989). He compiled Contemporary Critical Theory: A Selective Bibliography (1993) and has published articles on the theory and history of criticism and rhetoric