Belief or Nonbelief?: A Confrontation

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Arcade Publishing, Apr 16, 2001 - Philosophy - 102 pages
Umberto Eco is a famous scholar-novelist, and Cardinal Martini is a famous scholar-bishop. Eco is an urbane ex-Catholic. Cardinal Martini is an urbane prince of the Church. Belief or Nonbelief?, a little book of eight chapters, is a dialogue between them, first published by an Italian newspaper. Each author writes four alternating chapters addressing the hopes of humanity at the dawn of a new millennium, the question of the beginning of human life, the role of the Church, and how we can know Truth. Belief or Non Belief? is a good idea, but it suffers from a couple of problems. The format and content are too obviously recycled newspaper articles. While the engaging, popular style is welcome, the necessary brevity of each chapter means arguments cannot be developed, and the reader is left vaguely dissatisfied. It would have been better if the authors had expanded the project. Both men write well in a sophisticated and polite Italian style that is entertaining at first, but it soon sounds artificial to the English reader. Finally, there are some difficulties in translation: for example, "illumination" is used instead of "enlightenment" and "layman" is consistently used where "non-Catholic" is probably intended. Despite these criticisms, Belief or Nonbelief? is a sharp little book giving a fresh perspective on age-old questions. --Dwight Longenecker

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Belief or nonbelief?: a confrontation

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

This is no contest between debating opponents seeking to score rhetorical knockouts; instead, it's just two thoughtful people who respectfully listen to what the other has to say about faith. The ... Read full review

Review: Belief or Nonbelief?

User Review  - Brad Lengen - Goodreads

short and sweet. respectful and intelligent. light-years above typical american dialogue on religion. Read full review

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About the author (2001)

Umberto Eco was born in Alessandria, Italy on January 5, 1932. He received a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Turin in 1954. His first book, Il Problema Estetico in San Tommaso, was an extension of his doctoral thesis on St. Thomas Aquinas and was published in 1956. His first novel, The Name of the Rose, was published in 1980 and won the Premio Strega and the Premio Anghiar awards in 1981. In 1986, it was adapted into a movie starring Sean Connery. His other works include Foucault's Pendulum, The Island of the Day Before, Baudolino, The Prague Cemetery, and Numero Zero. He also wrote children's books and more than 20 nonfiction books including Serendipities: Language and Lunacy. He taught philosophy and then semiotics at the University of Bologna. He also wrote weekly columns on popular culture and politics for L'Espresso. He died from cancer on February 19, 2016 at the age of 84.

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