After Disbelief On Disenchantment, Disappointment, Eternity, and Joy Anthony T. Kronman

Publication date:
26 Apr 2022
Yale University Press
184 pages: 216 x 140mm
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An intimate, philosophic quest for eternity, amidst the disenchantments and disappointments of our time

Many people of faith believe the meaning of life depends on our connection to an eternal order of some kind. Atheists deride this belief as a childish superstition.

In this wise and profound book, Anthony Kronman offers an alternative to these two entrenched positions, arguing that neither addresses the complexities of the human condition. We can never reach God, as religion promises, but cannot give up the longing to do so either. We are condemned by our nature to set goals we can neither abandon nor fulfill, yet paradoxically are able to approach more closely if we try. The human condition is one of inevitable disappointment tempered by moments of joy.
Resolutely humanistic and theologically inspired, this moving book offers a rational path to the love of God amidst the disenchantments of our time.

Anthony Kronman is Sterling Professor of Law and a former dean at Yale Law School. He is the author of Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan and Education's End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life. He lives on Block Island, RI.

“In this deceptively quiet and self-effacing book, Anthony Kronman makes an audacious argument: the most important things in our lives make sense only if we believe the world is divine. In a sense, we already believe it, if only we could find the words. Here they are.”—Jedediah Britton-Purdy, author of After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene

“Boldly transcending the debate between traditional theism and traditional atheism with verve, precision, and insight, After Disbelief offers a radically humanistic vision that neither abandons eternity nor falsely promises its attainment. Affirming the longing for eternity as central to the human condition and the wellspring of our desire to know and to love what can never be finally known or loved, Kronman provides a compelling vision of the twinned experience of disappointment and joy that awaits us on the other side of disbelief.”—Christine Hayes, Yale University

“Kronman takes up Paul Tillich’s challenge that we put aside traditional understandings of God (‘perhaps even that word itself’) to focus solely on the depth of our being. Then, he offers an account of the ‘inherently and infinitely divine’ that all who truly seek meaning in life must take seriously.”—John Sexton, President Emeritus of New York University and bestselling author of Baseball as a Road to God

“Anthony Kronman’s deeply personal After Disbelief offers a thoughtful response to the doubt and uncertainty that are driving so many people to the brink of despair. His salvific vision points the way to renewed belief, commitment, and hope that sustain the endless struggle for progressive ideas and ideals.”—Mark C. Taylor, Columbia University

"Tony Kronman’s rare book After Disbelief is a profound achievement. One can think of very few authors who reach such scope and wisdom."—Moshe Halbertal, New York University