Sophia 58 (2):255-282 (2019)

John Krummel
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
In this paper, I explore a possible a/theological response to what Nietzsche called the ‘death of God’—or Hölderlin’s and Heidegger’s ‘flight of the gods’—through a juxtaposition of the Christian-Pauline concept of kenōsis and the ancient Greek-Platonic notion of chōra, and by taking Nishida Kitarō’s appropriations of these concepts as a clue and starting point. Nishida refers to chōra in 1926 to initiate his philosophy of place and then makes reference to kenōsis in 1945 in his final work that culminates—without necessarily completing—his oeuvre. What he had thereby accomplished is an inversion of Platonism resulting in the collapse of the transcendent/immanent—idea/genesis and by implication the Heaven/Earth—dichotomy. I then unpack the ethical implication of this kenotic chōra Nishida has left us with. It suggests from us a certain response to the desacralization or secularization of the world. I shall build upon this suggestion and unfold its implications by drawing from a variety of sources, starting with Nishida but including others, such as Meister Eckhart, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, Gianni Vattimo, Reiner Schürmann, Mark Taylor, Jürgen Moltmann, and other philosophical and theological sources.
Keywords death of God  chōra  kenosis  place  basho  Nishida Kitarō
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DOI 10.1007/s11841-018-0698-x
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