Apophasis and the Turn of Philosophy to Religion: From Neoplatonic Negative Theology to Postmodern Negation of Theology [Book Review]

Abstract
This essay represents part of an effort to rewrite the history metaphysics in terms of what philosophy never said, nor could say. It works from the Neoplatonic commentary tradition on Plato's Parmenides as the matrix for a distinctively apophatic thinking that takes the truth of metaphysical doctrines as something other than anything that can be logically articulated. It focuses on Damascius in the 5—6th century AD as the culmination of this tradition in the ancient world and emphasizes that Neoplatonism represents the crisis of Greek metaphysics on account of the inability to give a rational account of foundations for knowing and of the ultimate principle of beings. Neoplatonism discovered how all such ultimate principles were necessarily beyond the reach of reason and speech. This apophatic insight is drawn out with the help of contemporary criticism of Neoplatonic philosophy, defining also some points of divergence. The essay then discusses the motives for thinking the unsayable in postmodern times on the basis of this parallel with Neoplatonic thought. Discourse's becoming critical of itself to the point of self-subversion animates them both. However, the tendency in postmodern thought to totally reject theology, including negative theology, is a betrayal of its own deepest motivations. This tendency is debated through an examination of the thought of Jean-Luc Nancy. While any traditional discourse can be negated, the negating and self-negating capacity of discourse itself is infinite, and this is where a perennial negative theological philosophy of the unsayable is to be located. Language, eminently the language of philosophy, as infinitely open, points in a direction which becomes equally and ineluctably theological
Keywords Apophasis  Negative theology  Neoplatonism  Postmodern thought  Unsayable  Metaphysics  Parmenides  Damascius  Nancy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,007
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
John Dillon (1996). Damascius on the Ineffable. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 78 (2):120-129.
Jean-Luc Nancy (2008). Corpus. Fordham University Press.

View all 7 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

44 ( #37,813 of 1,101,159 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

12 ( #15,076 of 1,101,159 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.