The problem of ontotheology: Complicating the divide between philosophy and theology

Heythrop Journal 43 (2):139–151 (2002)
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This paper examines the problem of ontotheology as it was defined by Martin Heidegger, and how it has subsequently been approached by those philosophers and theologians who have followed in his wake. It argues that Heidegger’s initial analysis of the onto‐theological condition was mistaken by its presumption of a radical divide between philosophy and theology. Furthermore, many of the key thinkers who have followed after Heidegger have merely reinscribed this supposed divide between thought and faith, rather than genuinely questioning the terms Heidegger thought self‐evident. The result, even among some of the most radical and influential contemporary thinkers such as Emmanuel Levinas, John Caputo, and Jean‐Luc Marion, has been a contemporary philosophy deprived of questions of faith and a theology unaccountable to its place in the world. In response to this shortcoming of contemporary philosophical and theological thought, Jacques Derrida has approached the problem of ontotheology from the dual perspective of both thought and faith, and thereby, has provided a new path of thought beyond the problem of ontotheology and towards a renewed appreciation for the possibilities for a genuine philosophical theology



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