Sex before God

Philosophy and Theology 12 (1):187-211 (2000)
In a comment on concupscentia, Rahner says that while we may properly draw a distinction between “the spiritual and the sensitive as between two really distinct powers of man,” we must recognize that no human power can be conceived as a “thing.” Given that caution, what would Rahner think of the Freudian “Id”—a word which Freud chose to characterize the nonhuman “it” (thing) at the base of human motivation? Not surprisingly, Rahner says that with the strength of faith we can see in the unconscious “the power of the Holy Ghost.”The essay at hand turns, then, to a significant anti-Freudian theorist, Julia Kristeva, who has developed an extended analysis of the meaningful structures of the psyche prior to the development of self-consciousness in the standard Freudian Oedipal scenario. In contrast to the law of the “castrating” Father who establishes the world of consciousness, of self and other: abstract self-consciousness and abstract signigcation, Kristeva holds out the realm of the Mother in which self andother are “one.” The paradigm of the realm of the Mother is not separation of self and other, but the fusion of self and other in the event of pregnancy. Kristeva’s metaphor of pregnancy is used as a comparison to the relation of God and the human. Prior to the thematic, self-conscious sense of self, there is an ontological relation of God and the human which is the foundation of self.Kristeva’ s realm of the mother constitutes a world of “body language.” The essay concludes with a discussion of the “positivity” of sexuality as body language. In so far as sex leads one back into the body, into “the sensitive” it opens up a realm of meaning that is fatally absent from the abstract self-consciousness produced by the Law of the Father
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Philosophy and Religion
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ISBN(s) 0890-2461
DOI 10.5840/philtheol200012113
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