London: Routledge (2001)

Andrew Shanks
University of Leeds (PhD)
The Western philosophical tradition and mainstream Christian theology have a common flaw: both have consistently failed properly to appreciate poetic truth as such. Plato proposed to ban Homeric poetry from his ideal city while St. Augustine wished to 'shun the company of the poets entirely'. Nineteenth and twentieth century philosophy has seen a move towards rejection of this prejudice, largely pioneered by Heidegger and Nietzsche. But in this work Andrew Shanks argues that the rebellion of Heidegger and Nietzsche is also deeply flawed, and proposes an alternative strategy for reconciling Christian theology with poetic truth. Heidegger's ideal prophetic poet, Hoelderlin is rescued from the Heideggerian interpretation through being set alongside his equally prophetic contemporary William Blake, and also alongside Nelly Sachs, arguably the greatest religious poet of the twentieth century. In these poets' work, it is argued, we see fresh eruptions of that primordial 'pathos of shakenness' which, pre-eminently in the prophecy of Amos and Deutero-Isaiah, represents the originatingl truth-impulse of the biblical tradition.
Keywords theology  poetry  myth
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Call number BT50.S48 2001
ISBN(s) 0415253268   041525325X   9780415253253   9780415253260
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