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A philosopher takes on religious life

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6 April 2023

What would drive someone to renounce all their possessions, relationships, and ambitions to join a religious community? Sean talks with Zena Hitz, whose new book A Philosopher Looks at the Religious Life explores this question — drawing from her own experience. They discuss the occasionally perplexing relationship between faith and reason, why Hitz thinks the act of renunciation is the pinnacle of Christian belief, and why the radicalism at the heart of Christianity seems so absent from mainstream practice. Host: Sean Illing (@seanilling), host, The Gray Area Guest: Zena Hitz, (@zenahitz) author; tutor, St. John's College References:  A Philosopher Looks at the Religious Life by Zena Hitz (Cambridge; 2023) Lost In Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life by Zena Hitz (Princeton; 2020) The Madonna House in Combermere, Ontario, Canada Confessions by St. Augustine (401 AD) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1866)   Enjoyed this episode? Rate The Gray Area ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Subscribe for free. Be the first to hear the next episode of The Gray Area. Subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Help keep this show and all of Vox's journalism free by making a gift to Vox today: This episode was made by:  Producer: Erikk Geannikis Engineer: Patrick Boyd Editorial Director, Vox Talk: A.M. Hall Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


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