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date: 25 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Tanabe Hajime (1885–1962) was one of the pivotal figures in the Kyoto School. The present essay focuses on his idea of God as a gateway to understanding the unfolding of his major philosophical ideas. Despite criticisms of the Christian God, Tanabe gradually transformed the notion in the light of his rediscovery of Buddhist thought and the elaboration of ideas of absolute nothingness, the cultural specificity of rationality, and historical praxis. After a brief capitulation to nationalist thinking during the Pacific War, he undertook a radical rethinking of the philosophical vocation and took a more conciliatory approach to religious faith. His idea of God transformed into a “nothingness-in-love” and the appeal to supporting Christian ideas became a regular feature in his writings. The essay concludes with an attempt to locate an underlying motivation for Tanabe’s concern with the idea of God.

Keywords: Tanabe, God, absolute nothingness, Buddhism, Christianity, nationalism, religion, philosophy, morality

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