What is the future of Continental philosophy of religion? These forward-looking essays address the new thinkers and movements that have gained prominence since the generation of Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, and Levinas and how they will reshape Continental philosophy of religion in the years to come. They look at the ways concepts such as liberation, sovereignty, and post-colonialism have engaged this new generation with political theology and the new pathways of thought that have opened in the wake of speculative realism and (...) recent findings in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology. Readers will discover new directions in this challenging and important area of philosophical inquiry. (shrink)
Paul Ricoeur and Jacques Derrida agree that translation is a tensive activity oscillating between the possible and the impossible with reference to the transposition of meaning among diverse systems of discourse. Both acknowledge that risk, alterity, and plurality accompany every attempt at paraphrasing language “in other words.” Consequently, their positions adhere to the traditional adage that “the translator is a traitor,” precisely because something is always lost in the semantic transfer. Yet, Derrida notes an important disagreement between their respective approaches (...) to translation and accuses Ricoeur of harboring a nostalgia for unitive meaning and of promoting the possibility of a transcendental signified that could produce a “pure” translation. In this essay, I critique Derrida’s interpretation of Ricoeur specifically by examining their individual interpretations of the Tower of Babel myth. I argue that Ricoeur’s theory of Babel as a non-punitive celebration of diversity and the open play of meaning “out-deconstructs” Derrida’s own notion of dissemination. (shrink)
Reading Kevin Hart’s creative hermeneutic of the ‘basileic’ reduction in his latest book, Kingdoms of God, naturally leads me to consider another eminent linguistic phenomenologist who continually occupies my thoughts. Although I have been reading Hart now for about 25 years, I have been reading Paul Ricoeur for a decade longer than that, and it is his theory of poetic discourse that my mind keeps tenaciously associating with Hart’s perspectives on parable. Granted, Hart never mentions Ricoeur in Kingdoms of God—unless (...) my careful reading is not so careful and I missed it! In Trespass of the Sign, however, he does note Ricoeur’s significance as a hermeneutical philosopher, specifically his emphasis on the distinction between the hermeneutics of faith and the hermeneutics of suspicion. Also, in an article on John Caputo’s postsecular philosophy of ‘religion without religion,’ Hart makes a brief comment on Ricoeur’s apparent Hegelianism with reference to a general theory of revelation as nonreligious and nontheistic. Still, nowhere that I know of does he extensively address Ricoeur’s fascinating discourse theory regarding metaphor, mimesis, narrative, and parable. If great minds think alike, then Hart and Ricoeur are, indeed, great minds, for, truly, Ricoeur’s reflections on parables and the Kingdom offer an intriguing gloss on Hart’s parabolic ‘basileiology.’ Translating Hart into Ricoeur, therefore, is, in my mind, an easy and profitable exercise that may well enhance the provocative character of Hart’s basileic reduction. Such a translation is the central purpose of this essay. (shrink)
This collection addresses the perennial philosophical and theological issues of human finitude and the potentiality for evil. The contributors approach these issues from perspectives in Continental philosophy relating to phenomenology, philosophical hermeneutics, rabbinical traditions, drawing upon the work of Immanuel Kant, Søren Kierkegaard, and Paul Ricoeur. While centering on the traditional theme of theodicy, this volume is also oriented to the phenomenology of religion, with contributions across religions and intellectual traditions.
Richard Kearney has always insisted that his anatheistic approach to a phenomenology of the sacred stipulates a close connection with aesthetics. He supports this contention throughout his work by constantly referencing important artists, poets, novelists, and film makers. Indeed, this connection between aesthetics and his philosophy of religion has even motivated an anthology of articles entitled The Art of Anatheism. Consequently, in this essay I wish to expand that connection by examining the relationship between Kearney’s anatheism and the ‘supreme fiction’ (...) of the American poet Wallace Stevens. To accomplish this expansion, I inspect several topics shared by the two authors, including God, faith, imagination, and ‘negative certainty’. This last topic forms something of the central focus of the essay, since I argue that the affirmative humility of faith professed by both never avoids the ‘void’ inherent in human existence that disallows every claim to the ‘innocence of an absolute’. (shrink)
This essay examines Ricœur’s mimetic and transfigurative perspective on non-objective art and adopts it as an idiom for examining Mark Rothko’s artistic intention in the multiform canvases of his “classical” period from 1949 until his death in 1970. Rothko unequivocally denied being an abstractionist, a colorist, or a formalist, insisting, on the contrary, that he desired to communicate discrete dimensions of experience and emotions to his viewers, specifically, experiences of the sacred and the spiritual. His large canvases, with their blurred (...) edges, force the spectator into an intimacy of experience that opens the potentiality of heterogeneous interpretations. In other words, one might consider his paintings to be metaphors of dense meanings that imitate reality, not through facile representation, but through a Kierkegaardian repetition of worlds that track Ricœur’s own ideas of prefiguration, configuration, and re-figuration. I contend in this essay that Rothko’s “abstract expressionism” adequately illustrates Ricœur’s contention that non-figurative art succeeds far better than representational art in refiguring new worlds of meaning. (shrink)
In the ninth fragment of his posthumous work Living Up to Death , Paul Ricoeur reflects on Jacques Derrida’s final interview given to the French newspaper Le Monde just months prior to his death. Although he confesses to a genuine distanciation from Derrida regarding salient aspects of their individual memento mori , he does so within the context of significant concessions of agreement. I argue in this article that their differing positions de facto agree at a critical structural level with (...) reference to the possibility of positing something akin to a textual immortality. Both contend that traces of the author remain in the corpus of a work, a remainder that allows for a form of resurrection through reading. By analogizing their perspectives with Rudolf Bultmann’s kerygmatic resurrection of Christ in the proclaimed word, I conclude that Ricoeur and Derrida contend that one truly learns to live up to death ‘ finally ’, that is, enfin — ‘at last’, ‘after all’, or one might say, ‘ in a word ’. (shrink)
This landmark collection features selected writings by John D. Caputo, one of the most creative and influential thinkers working in the philosophy of religion today. B Keith Putt presents 21 of Caputo's most significant contributions from his distinguished 40-year career. Putt's thoughtful editing and arrangement highlights how Caputo's multidimensional thought has evolved from radical hermeneutics to radical theology. A guiding introduction situates Caputo's corpus within the context of debates in the Continental philosophy of religion and exclusive interview with him adds (...) valuable information about his own views of his work. (shrink)