Apophasis and the Turn of Philosophy to Religion: From Neoplatonic Negative Theology to Postmodern Negation of Theology [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 60 (1/3):61 - 76 (2006)
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)|
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
Hent de Vries (1999). Philosophy and the Turn to Religion. Johns Hopkins University Press.
John Dillon (1996). Damascius on the Ineffable. Archiv für Geschichte der Philosophie 78 (2):120-129.
John H. Heiser (1991). Plotinus and the «Apeiron» of Plato's «Parmenides». The Thomist 55 (1):53-81.
Jean-Luc Nancy (2008). Corpus. Fordham University Press.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Sara Ahbel-Rappe (1999). Reading Neoplatonism: Non-Discursive Thinking in the Texts of Plotinus, Proclus, and Damascius. Cambridge University Press.
Jean-Luc Marion & Arianne Conty (2002). The Unspoken. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 76:39-56.
Proclus (1992). The Elements of Theology =. Oxford University Press.
Jack Bonsor (1995). Truth and History. Philosophy and Theology 9 (1/2):49-56.
Joseph G. Trabbic (2002). Aquinas and Continental Philosophy of Religion. Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 76:211-228.
Edward P. Butler (2008). Polycentric Polytheism and the Philosophy of Religion. Pomegranate 10 (2):207-229.
William Franke (2006). Praising the Unsayable. Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (1):141-171.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads44 ( #37,295 of 1,099,037 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #14,705 of 1,099,037 )
How can I increase my downloads?