Cover image for Belief or nonbelief? : a confrontation
Belief or nonbelief? : a confrontation
Eco, Umberto.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
In cosa crede chi non crede? English
First English language edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Arcade Pub., [2000]

Physical Description:
102 pages ; 21 cm
Secular obsession with the new Apocalypse / Umberto Eco -- Hope puts an end to "the end" / Carlo Maria Martini -- When does human life begin? / Umberto Eco -- Human life is part of God's life / Carlo Maria Martini -- Men and women-- according to the Church / Umberto Eco -- The Church does not fulfill expectations, it celebrates mysteries / Carlo Maria Martini -- Where does the layman find illumination? / Carlo Maria Martini -- Ethics are born in the presence of the other / Umberto Eco.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PQ4865.C6 Z464 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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A world-renowned novelist and one of the Vatican's leading authorities square off over some of the burning issues of our day, with commentary by leading American writers and thinkers.

Author Notes

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.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

An Italian newspaper had a very good idea: putting a well-educated and respected prince of the church in contact with a famous secular thinker and humanist, have them correspond about several key issues facing the modern world, and publish the result. No two better writers could have been found than Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini and Umberto Eco. Martini is not only a Jesuit, a Catholic apologist, archbishop of Milan, and a contender for the papacy, but also an eminent New Testament scholar and an ecumenical leader within the European church. Eco is a famous novelist and professor of semantics at the University of Bologna, and has studied church history and thought throughout his career. A proclaimed secularist, he rejected the church at the age of 22, yet holds high ethical and humanist principles. Together, these two distinguished scholars grapple with ideas involving abortion, female priesthood, apocalypticism, violence, intolerance, and ethics with or without God. The resulting dialogues (translated from the Italian) are pithy, witty, and profound. --Michael Spinella

Library Journal Review

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 nonbeliever is Eco, renowned semiotician and author of The Name of the Rose. The believer is the Archbishop of Milan. In these letters, originally run in an Italian newspaper, they address topics that divide official Catholic from contemporary secular opinion. First, the cardinal answers Eco's inquiries on hope and apocalyptic expectation, on when life begins, and on why the Church does not ordain women. There are no surprises here, except perhaps in Martini's nuanced "wait and see" response to the last question. Then, in the book's best exchange, Eco replies to the cardinal's question of how those who do not believe in God can be committed to moral absolutes. Would that all "confrontations" between belief and unbelief were so informed and instructive. Recommended for all public libraries.--Steve Young, Montclair State Univ., NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Harvey CoxUmberto EcoCarlo Maria MartiniUmberto EcoCarlo Maria MartiniUmberto EcoCarlo Maria MartiniCarlo Maria MartiniUmberto Eco
Introductionp. 1
Secular Obsession with the New Apocalypsep. 17
Hope Puts an End to "The End"p. 27
When Does Human Life Begin?p. 36
Human Life Is Part of God's Lifep. 45
Men and Women -- According to the Churchp. 53
The Church Does Not Fulfill Expectations, It Celebrates Mysteriesp. 68
Where Does the Layman Find Illumination?p. 80
Ethics Are Born in the Presence of the Otherp. 89