Radical Orthodoxy is a new wave of theological thinking that seeks to re-inject the modern world with theology. The group of theologians associated with Radical Orthodoxy are dissatisfied with conteporary theolgical responses to both modernity and postmodernity Radical Orthodoxy is a collection that aims to reclaim the world by situating its concerns and activities within a theological framework. By mapping the new theology against a range of areas where modernity has failed, these essays offer us way out of the impasses (...) that postmodernity represents. (shrink)
The essays in this new book from John Milbank range over the entire field of theology, and both extend and enrich the theological perspective underlying his earlier Theology and Social Theory. The essays are focused around the theme of a theological approach to language, and offer a richly textured and broad ranging inquiry which will contribute to a variety of contemporary debates.
Two expert authors combine a compelling critique of contemporary liberalism with post-liberal alternatives in politics, the economy, culture and international affairs, to provide the fullest account so far of the post-liberal alternative in Western politics.
Sequence on modern ontology -- From theology to philosophy -- The four pillars of modern philosophy -- Modern philosophy : a theological critique -- Analogy versus univocity -- Identity versus representation -- Intentionality and embodiment -- Intentionality and selfhood -- Reason and the incarnation of the logos -- The passivity of modern reason -- The baroque simulation of cosmic order -- Deconstructed representation and beyond -- Passivity and concursus -- Representation in philosophy -- Actualism versus possibilism -- Influence versus concurrence (...) -- Transition -- Sequence on political ontology -- Cosmos, law and morality -- Metaphysics and modern politics -- The fate of the rational animal -- The irony of representation -- On legal concurrence -- The fate of the social animal -- Representation and mixed government -- Bureaucracy and the formal distinction -- Form, matter and contract -- The antiquity of historicism -- The sovereignty of the artist -- Eucharistic creativity and political power -- The conundrum of kingship -- The truth of political fiction -- The two rival constructions -- Creativity and mixed constitution -- Christological constitutionalism -- The fate of the fabricating animal -- The fate of the beast-angel -- The death of charity -- Augustine's three cities -- Church as cosmopolis -- Aquinas and kingship -- The theology of ruling -- The ecumenico-political problem -- Supernatural charity and global order -- Socialism beyond the left -- Critique of all materialisms. (shrink)
As others have argued, modern liberalism can be seen as dominated by the biopolitical. In both the economic and the political realms, this involves a contradictory notion of how the natural gives rise to the cultural and the cultural both suppresses and advances the natural. On either side of this divide, uncontrollable excesses arise, which ensure that this immanentist model is never immune from the return of the theopolitical in a bastardized form. Antique notions of natural justice to some degree (...) escaped these aporias, and yet antiquity had its own version of the biopolitical with its own contradictions: particularly as to whether justice consists in an exchanged balance of legal obligations or a unilateral imposition of equity in the face of living exigencies. Both models of the biopolitical ultimately seek to shore up a doomed finite life in the face of death and hence place limits on the hope for human justice. Only St Paul presented an alternative vision, which makes life itself infinitely indestructible and co-terminous both with meaning and with human existence. His counterfactual of `resurrection' allowed him to imagine an unreserved possibility of human justice beyond legality, which blends equity with hierarchical guidance and makes justice coincide with the entire fulfilment of every human being in relation to all others. Any secular alternative to this is bound to be less radical. (shrink)
Managerialism in the Church is rooted in the very character of Reformation theology. The letter's understanding of salvation as imputation and its reduction of the importance for salvation of belonging to the Church encourages the idea that there is a religious 'product' which can be managed and marketed. Modern evangelicalism consummates this tendency and uniquely allows a combining of the capitalist product with the capitalist actor. 'Fresh Expressions' in the Church of England fuses this trend with a liberal ideology of (...) choice and the assumption that parish life must inevitably decline. The new modes of Church which it sponsors deny the very idea of the need to encounter different others in a specific locality which is crucial to the Pauline notion of the Body of Christ. It is hence a misconstrual of Christianity as such. (shrink)
Invoking Zygmunt Bauman’s acute exposition of a left-critical hesitation between intellectuals as saviours and intellectuals as oppressors, this essay argues that while Bauman reveals this hesitation as crucial and symptomatic, nevertheless he leaves it unresolved. The essay shows how the human nature/ culture distinction is, in fact, constitutive of human culture as such; moreover, the essay argues that this constitutive distinction reproduces itself within culture in terms of reciprocal hierarchies of social division — intellectual/non-intellectual, shamanistic/folk, aristocratic/popular. This pattern of vertical (...) reciprocity is precisely what the purely horizontal axis of capitalist-bureaucratic liberalism excludes, collapsing the hierarchical axis of political culture into the horizontal false-binary of ‘left’ versus ‘right’. In this way the essay argues that the crux of an authentic resistance to capitalist-bureaucratic liberalism will involve not a triumph of the ‘left’ over the ‘right’, but the retrieval of the dynamic paradox of the vertical axis of the hierarchical communion of guiding excellence fused with popular spontaneity. The hierarchical yet dynamically educative interplay between innovators and those being constantly innovated is the organic root of human culture and the means of the authentic practice of human justice. (shrink)
Today we live in very peculiar circumstances indeed. The welfare of this world is being wrecked by the ideology of neo-liberalism, and yet its historical challengers—conservatism and socialism—are in total disarray. Socialism, in particular, appears to have been wrong-footed by the discovery that liberalism and not socialism is the bearer of “modernity” and “progress.” As the suspicion arises that perhaps modernity and progress are themselves by no means on the side of justice, then socialists today characteristically begin to suspect that (...) their own traditions, in their Marxist, Social Democratic, and Fabian forms, have been too grounded in modes of thought…. (shrink)
IntroductionThis essay is divided into two distinct parts.In the first I shall explore the complex way in which Carl Schmitt’s thought was split three ways: between a Catholic universalism that extends the “law of humanity” to the whole of the globe; a modern defense of the normativity of the absolutely sovereign nation-state; and finally a stress upon the primacy of a more limited civilizational landmass, smaller than that of the whole planet but larger than that of the state. In this (...) third case, it is actually “empire“ that is covertly to the fore and supremely the Western land-based empire that had once been Christendom. (shrink)
The following essay explores the way in which notions of truth are linked to those of secure identity and hence to certain mathematical issues, from Plato and Aristotle onward. It argues that this recognition underlies traditional resorts to notions of form or eidos as securing both particular and general identity—at once the integrity of things and the link among things. I contend that nominalism rightly saw that there were certain problems with this notion in terms of the strict application of (...) the logical law of identity and the recognition of the “artificial” character of human understanding. However, I also argue that the most extreme fulfillment of the nominalist program after Frege itself ran foul of the law of identity because of the paradoxes of set theory. In the face of this double impasse I press for a re-configured Thomistic realism, taking account of the insights of Nicholas of Cusa that would abandon the ultimacy of the law of identity as paradoxically the only way to save identity and so truth, and would admit that the passage to the recognition of universals lies through the human creative construction of universals. Realism can still be saved here because in the Divine Son or Logos, in whom human reason participates, divine ideas are at once made and seen. (shrink)
The apparent contradiction between subjective and objective approaches to time in Augustine can be resolved if it is understood that he regarded cosmic time and the finite things it engenders as being of itself, in some sense, both psychic and self-recording. This interpretation holds whether or not Augustine affirms a world soul. It is justifiable in terms of the continued applicability of his earlier liberal-arts writings to his later texts and his blending of Plotinian vitalism, Porphyrian spiritualism, and his own (...) ‘theurgism’ (especially in his commentary on the Psalms), which is parallel to that of Iamblichus. Augustine’s ‘musical ontology’, which is also a metaphysics of number, word, and seminal reason, leads him to develop a theory of time and memory that anticipates more the spiritual realism of Bergson than it does idealist and phenomenological philosophies. However, for Augustine, time as an image of eternity remains aporetic, and its aporia is ‘resolved’ only by the Incarnation and its sustaining as the liturgical and political community of the Church. Through Christological, and not just angelic, mediation, our memories and expectations truly reach to past and future realities, just as our intentions reach to really located things, but only because all of these are both inherently psychic/intellectual and sustained by the divine eternity. (shrink)
The current global economic crisis concerns the way in which contemporary capitalism has turned to financialisation as a double cure for both a falling rate of profit and a deficiency of demand. Although this turning is by no means unprecedented, policies of financialisation have depressed demand (in part as a result of the long-term stagnation of average wages) while at the same time not proving adequate to restore profits and growth. This paper argues that the current crisis is less the (...) ‘normal’ one that has to do with a constitutive need to balance growth of abstract wealth with demand for concrete commodities. Rather, it marks a meta-crisis of capitalism that is to do with the difficulties of sustaining abstract growth as such. This meta-crisis is the tendency at once to abstract from the real economy of productive activities and to reduce everything to its bare materiality. By contrast with a market economy that binds material value to symbolic meaning, a capitalist economy tends to separate matter from symbol and reduce materiality to calculable numbers representing ‘wealth’. Such a conception of wealth rests on the aggregation of abstract numbers that cuts out all the relational goods and the ‘commons’ on which shared prosperity depends. (shrink)
The popular field of 'science and religion' is a lively and well-established area. It is however a domain which has long been characterised by certain traits. In the first place, it tends towards an adversarial dialectic in which the separate disciplines, now conjoined, are forever locked in a kind of mortal combat. Secondly, 'science and religion' has a tendency towards disentanglement, where 'science' does one sort of thing and 'religion' another. And thirdly, the duo are frequently pushed towards some sort (...) of attempted synthesis, wherein their aims either coincide or else are brought more closely together. In attempting something fresh, and different, this volume tries to move beyond tried and tested tropes. Bringing philosophy and theology to the fore in a way rarely attempted before, the book shows how fruitful new conversations between science and religion can at last move beyond the increasingly tired options of either conflict or dialogue. (shrink)
_The Radical Orthodoxy Reader _presents a selection of key readings in the field of Radical Orthodoxy, the most influential theological movement in contemporary academic theology. Radical Orthodoxy draws on pre-Enlightenment theology and philosophy to engage critically with the assumption and priorities of secularism, modernity, postmodernity, and associated theologies. In doing so it explores a wide and exciting range of issues: music, language, society, the body, the city, power, motion, space, time, personhood, sex and gender. As such it is both controversial (...) and extremely stimulating; provoking much fruitful debate amongst contemporary theologians. To assist those encountering Radical Orthodoxy for the first time, each section has an introductory commentary, related reading and helpful questions to encourage in-depth understanding and further study. (shrink)
Community and Gift Despite growing uneasiness about the economic and social consequences of the free market, today socialism, like religion, exhibits merely a spectral reality. It no longer seems either plausible or rational, and it has been consigned to the realm of faith. Yet, as with Christianity, socialism still haunts the West because nothing has emerged to replace it. Just as the story of a compassionate God who became a man was seen as the “final religion,” so the hope of (...) a universal fraternity based on sharing was seen as “the final politics.” With its demise, all that seems to…. (shrink)
The Christian Bible was from the outset a dogmatic and Christological conception, which entailed a mystical reading of signs and events, a practise of speculation at once narratological and phenomenological. The trilogy of Olivier‐Thomas Venard OP – Thomas d'Aquin, poète théologien – is proposed as crucial to understanding how Thomas Aquinas preserves the authentic biblical character of Christian theology, proceeding along the diagonal axis of the mystagogical, an axis neither purely vertical nor purely horizontal but a blending of both at (...) once. Here a reading of Aquinas is offered as initiating a participational ‘linguistic turn’, an alternative modernity that can heal the dissociation of the science of being from the phenomenal and hermeneutical embeddings in which human life is constituted. (shrink)