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Praying, A Philosophy (Prier, une philosophie)

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Original Language: French | 320 pp. | November 2017

2 Seas Represents: Danish, Dutch, English (USA & Canada), Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish Rights.

Rights Sold: Denmark (Kristeligt Dagblads Forlag)

PHILOSOPHY | RELIGION

After the success of Marcher, une philosophie by Frédéric Gros (60,000 copies sold in France and rights sold to 15 countries), Carnets Nord is publishing another work of philosophy aimed at the general public.

‘Is praying a philosophy? Ask a philosopher and they’ll tell you that philosophers don’t pray, they philosophise. Talk to a member of the church and they’ll tell you that you don’t philosophise when you pray, you just pray. And they’re both right and wrong about this.’

In our postmodern age, praying is anything but an obvious thing to do, and attempting a philosophy of it even less so. Is praying not about subsuming oneself within a universal whole and seeking in God that which one ought to be seeking within oneself? And isn’t any attempt to philosophise about it a form of heresy, both philosophically and religiously speaking?

In this book, Bertrand Vergely sets himself the challenge of applying his day job as a philosopher to another passion which is dear to him, namely praying. They are both essential to him and in his view not at all incompatible, as he sets out to show with reference to leading philosophers (Socrates, Novalis, Ricoeur, etc.) and practitioners of prayer in all its diverse forms.

Bertrand Vergely is a professional philosopher and teacher of philosophy. He devotes his energies to bringing philosophy to a wider audience, including through the collection of educational books (Petit précis de philosophie, 2005) published by Milan. Two domains are of particular interest to him: extreme experiences (such as death or illness) and happiness and wonder. He is the co-author with Marie de Hennezel of Une vie pour se mettre au monde (Carnets Nord, 2010), which has sold 40,000 copies.