Postmodernity's transcending: devaluing God

Notre Dame IN: University of Notre Dame Press (2005)
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Abstract

In Postmodernity's Transcending: Devaluing God, Laurence Paul Hemming grapples with the philosophical weakness that characterizes postmodern theory, its privileging of the visual, and its reductive description of the self. He offers a profound challenge to many theologians and philosophers currently articulating questions concerning God, value, and the supposed "nihilism" of the postmodern situation. He does this by examining the origin and trajectory of the aesthetic sublime, beloved of postmodern theologians, philosophers, and theorists of art. Hemming's work undertakes on one hand a history of the concept of the sublime; on the other, it explores the limits of theological thinking, where theology is understood either as a practice arising from faith or from thinking alone. By examining concepts like soul, experience, analogy, and truth, Hemming provokes contemporary Christian theology to a more serious engagement with philosophy. Hemming gives an authoritative genealogy of the predominance of the visual, beginning with the Presocratics and ending in the present. He examines the confrontation with God and the gods to be found in Protagoras, Longinus, Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hegel, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Zizek, and Derrida, and, in the process, offers innovative readings of these thinkers. A highly original study, Postmodernity's Transcending: Devaluing God will stimulate considerable discussion about postmodernity, representation, and subjectivity and, in particular, philosophical and theological discussions of the sublime and transcendence. Introduction -- Postmodernity's transcending -- Rhetor and rhetoric -- The truth of sublimity -- The soul of sublimity -- Analogia entis -- Counting up to one is sublime -- Negating sublimity -- Devaluing God -- Transcending postmodernity -- Conclusion.

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Laurence Hemming
Lancaster University

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