Special Issue "In Anticipation: Eschatology and Transcendence in Contemporary Contexts"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 December 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Justin Sands

School of Philosophy, North-West University Potchefstroom, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Website | E-Mail
Interests: continental philosophy of religion; fundamental theology; metaphysics; cultural studies

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

This special issue of the journal, Religions, seeks to explore the connections between eschatology and transcendence within contemporary philosophical-theological debates. This issue will inquire into the convergence or interrelation between the concepts of transcendence and eschatology and how they have developed within contemporary, primarily Continental, thought. On the one hand, thinkers within a hermeneutical-phenomenological context have made a theological turn to re-evaluate concepts of transcendence after the critique of metaphysics. On the other, political philosophers have explored how eschatology(-ies) undergird societal structures that situate the self into a larger, historical context. Within the former discussion, concepts such as radical transcendence and immanent transcendence – or even a so-called end to transcendence – have arisen as possible re-orientations after onto-theology. Within the latter, the eschatological promise of the impossible becoming possible, or an end to history, have arisen as motivating principles behind the foundational intuitions and concepts in society.

This special issue of Religions thus provides a forum for academics from various academic backgrounds to discuss these interrelated issues. We therefore structure the issue around following:

Introduction: Justin Sands, “The Anticipation between Eschatology and Transcendence”

Part 1, Time: History and Eschatology

  1. The End and Today: Eschatology in Temporality – How does eschatology, and the eschatological hope, influence our understanding of history?
    1. Jason Alvis (University of Vienna, Austria), “Transcendence of the Negative: Günter Anders’ Apocalyptic Phenomenology
    2. Patrick Ryan Cooper (St. Meinrad Seminary, Indiana), “Poor, Wayfaring Stranger: Eric Peterson’s Apocalyptic and Public Witness Against Christian Embourgoisement
    3. Bradley Onishi (Skidmore College, New York), “Transcendence as Indistinction in Eckhart and Heidegger
  2. The End and Tomorrow: Hope in Eschatology – In light of the past, how does eschatology speak to a possible future without violence?
    1. Aaron Simmons (Furman University, South Carolina), “Living Joyfully after Losing Social Hope: Kierkegaard and Chrétien on Selfhood and Eschatological Expectation
    2. Robert Vosloo (Stellenbosch University, South Africa), “Time Out of Joint and Future-Oriented Memory: Engaging Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the Search for a way to Deal Responsibly with the Ghosts of the Past
    3. Colby Dickinson (Loyola University of Chicago, Illinois), “Fragmented, Messianic, Paradoxical, Antinomian, Revolutionary, Secular: The Hermeneutics of Eschatology

Part 2, World: Subjectivity and Transcendence

  1. The End and the Self: Immanence and Transcendence – How does the self’s experience of (possible) transcendence influences its perceptions of a so-called immanent reality?
    1. Anné Verhoef (North-West University – Potchefstroom, South Africa), “Transimmanence and the Im/possible Relationship between Eschatology and Transcendence
    2. Schalk Gerber (Stellenbosh University, South Africa) and Willem Lodewikus van der Merwe (VU Amsterdam, The Netherlands), “On the Paradox of the Political/Transcendence and Eschatology: Transimmanence and the Promise of Love in Jean-Luc Nancy
    3. Nathan Eric Dickman (Young-Harris College, Georgia), “Transcendence Un-extraordinaire: Bringing the Atheistic I Down to Earth
  2. The End and the World: Transcendence in Temporality – How does the intellectual concept of transcendence translate to everyday being-in-the-world?
    1. Keith Putt (Samford University, Alabama), “‘The No to Nothing, and the Nothing to Know’: Immanent Transcendence as Eschatological Mystery
    2. Ulrich Schmiedel (Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich, Germany), “Transcending the Other – Othering the Transcendent: Richard Kearney and Jacques Derrida
    3. Justin Sands (North-West University – Potchefstroom, South Africa), “After Onto-Theology: What Lies Beyond ‘The End of Everything’”

Conclusion: Justin Sands, “Points of Contact: Eschatology and Transcendence Us

Dr. Justin Sands
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • eschatology
  • transcendence
  • metaphysics
  • religion
  • secularity
  • immanence
  • history

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Open AccessEditorial Introduction to “In Anticipation: Eschatology and Transcendence in Contemporary Contexts”
Religions 2017, 8(7), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8070115
Received: 22 June 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 23 June 2017 / Published: 27 June 2017
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Abstract
Although it is difficult to pinpoint when the so-called theological turn in Continental philosophy began in the 20th century, it is fair to consider as a working origin that Martin Heidegger’s critique of metaphysics and his questioning of the forgetfulness of Being touched [...] Read more.
Although it is difficult to pinpoint when the so-called theological turn in Continental philosophy began in the 20th century, it is fair to consider as a working origin that Martin Heidegger’s critique of metaphysics and his questioning of the forgetfulness of Being touched a nerve within both philosophical and theological discourses.[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Transcendence of the Negative: Günther Anders’ Apocalyptic Phenomenology
Religions 2017, 8(4), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8040059
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 26 March 2017 / Published: 7 April 2017
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Abstract
When the apocalyptic is marginalized, not only is theology under threat of malpractice, but phenomenology is also, for at the core of apocalyptic thinking is the attempt to restrain the totalities that are at work implicitly in our social imaginaries. Most totalities are [...] Read more.
When the apocalyptic is marginalized, not only is theology under threat of malpractice, but phenomenology is also, for at the core of apocalyptic thinking is the attempt to restrain the totalities that are at work implicitly in our social imaginaries. Most totalities are subtle, appearing even in efforts of unification through global peace. One might extract such insight from Günther Anders, who depicts an immanent, apocalyptic reality beyond the pale of bourgeois optimism and the theological imaginaries that enervate it. We have fallen out of imaginative touch with our everyday activities, and this has resulted in an apocalyptic blindness (Apokalypse-Blindheit) and optimism rooted in abstraction. Such blindness has degraded our “conscience” into “conscientiousness” to the point that even the Hiroshima bomber can abstract from his actions and be exempted easily from responsibility. Although a kind of phenomenologist, Anders criticized colleagues who, in the name of “presuppositionlessness” and observation, could abstract their thoughts far from the reality in which they lived and acted. This paper provides a general introduction to Anders’ work and interprets his “Transcendence of the Negative” in order to demonstrate the values of “apocalyptic phenomenology” today. Anders extends a Levinasian eschatology of anticipation (which is precisely of that which one cannot “expect”) and demonstrates how transcendence, which typically is understood only in its positive element, also holds the capacity for turning a blind eye to the negative sociality of action. This transcendence often fuels a false optimism for an order of global peace and oneness, which inherently brings about an apocalyptic age, for it ends at “one” and eliminates any “outside”. Apocalyptic phenomenology can be one way to disrupt this tendency of blind abstraction by attending to “unveiling” (apokalypsis) itself, attuning our “conscience” to the level of concern proportionate to the threats that stand before it, and becoming “restrainers” of what Anders calls “annihilism. Full article
Open AccessArticle Poor, Wayfaring Stranger: Erik Peterson’s Apocalyptic and Public Witness against Christian Embourgoisement
Religions 2017, 8(4), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8040045
Received: 3 February 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2017 / Accepted: 20 March 2017 / Published: 23 March 2017
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Abstract
With the present collection of essays reflecting upon the complex convergences and divergences between Eschatology and genuine transcendence, there is perhaps no greater modern Catholic figure to recall than that of the great, German Catholic convert Erik Peterson (1890–1960). As an immediate forerunner [...] Read more.
With the present collection of essays reflecting upon the complex convergences and divergences between Eschatology and genuine transcendence, there is perhaps no greater modern Catholic figure to recall than that of the great, German Catholic convert Erik Peterson (1890–1960). As an immediate forerunner to twentieth century Catholic ressourcement, eschatology, for Peterson, not only factors as the central arc within his diverse corpus of writings, yet he himself is equally credited for having coined the phrase, ‘the eschatological proviso’ in describing the coming of the Kingdom as both ‘already’ and ‘not yet’. Fundamentally, Peterson’s proviso presents a historical view of the suffering Church as necessarily beyond political confinement and ideological capture. As a pilgrim community in-between the “earthly Jerusalem, which is at once polis and temple” and its “ever drawing closer to the eschatological, heavenly temple and its own…polis”, Peterson bears witness to this ontic difference in his writings by framing the Church’s distinctly public act, the liturgy, as the site of a transversal commericum. That is, an angelic participation within the earthly cult as well as her “participation in the worship that the angels offer to God.” In this following contribution, I will examine this eschatological provision as the primary governing optic by first contextualizing Peterson’s critical reception of historicism and its methodological atheism (Troeltsch, Harnack) within German liberal Protestantism and the Religionsgeschictliche schule as the necessary precursor to his conversion. Secondly, I will build upon these critiques in view of Peterson’s concise and influential 1950 essay, “Kierkegaard und der Protestanismus” that theologically focuses specifically upon his attack against Barthian dialectic and its inability in approaching the very concretissimum of revelation and its ecclesial extension of dogma as none other than the “concrete continuation of Christ’s assumption of a body”. Lastly, in view of genuine transcendence, the ambivalent influence of Kierkegaard will be more positively assessed in terms of Peterson’s long held attack upon the bourgeois character of much of modern Christianity. As an immediate parallel to the critique of secular, historical immanentism, focus will center upon the martyrological witness of the poor as aptly encapsulating Peterson’s theopolitical vision. Herein, the invisible poor function as an “eschatological symbol” that lays at the porous threshold of genuine transcendence (Lk. 16, 19–31) wherein Christ recognizes the depths of his very divine person and in whom the poor are integrally inseparable through their witness. Full article
Open AccessArticle Transcendence as Indistinction in Eckhart and Heidegger
Religions 2017, 8(4), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8040056
Received: 8 November 2016 / Revised: 6 March 2017 / Accepted: 7 March 2017 / Published: 5 April 2017
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Abstract
I examine what I call Eckhart’s doctrine of indistinction as a precursor to Heidegger’s approach to the worldhood of the world. Taking cues from textual evidence in various sections of Heidegger’s texts and lecture courses, I demonstrate that Heidegger’s ontology is at least [...] Read more.
I examine what I call Eckhart’s doctrine of indistinction as a precursor to Heidegger’s approach to the worldhood of the world. Taking cues from textual evidence in various sections of Heidegger’s texts and lecture courses, I demonstrate that Heidegger’s ontology is at least partially inherited from Eckhart’s henology. As a result, there is an analogous logic of indistinction operative in Eckhart’s understanding of the relationship between God and creation, and the inseparability of Dasein and the world in Heidegger’s phenomenology. I conclude by suggesting that Heidegger’s reading of Eckhart is a microcosm of the relationship between continental philosophy and religion, because it demonstrates that turning one’s eyes to the logics of a different cosmology, anthropology, or ontology, may permit the eyes to see more fully what is at play in one’s own approach to the human, the world, and the relationship between them. In other words, the secular often illuminates theological blind spots, just as the theological has the power to transform, enlarge, or supplement the secular view of the consciously secular thinker, without converting philosophy to theology or vice versa. Full article
Open AccessArticle Living Joyfully after Losing Social Hope: Kierkegaard and Chrétien on Selfhood and Eschatological Expectation
Religions 2017, 8(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8030033
Received: 18 January 2017 / Revised: 16 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
In this essay, I offer an existential-phenomenological consideration of what it might look like to live joyfully after losing social hope. Using the example of the widespread hopelessness that many are feeling in light of the election of Donald Trump, I suggest that [...] Read more.
In this essay, I offer an existential-phenomenological consideration of what it might look like to live joyfully after losing social hope. Using the example of the widespread hopelessness that many are feeling in light of the election of Donald Trump, I suggest that the danger of losing hope is that we can also lose our selfhood in the process. In order to develop a conception of “eschatological hope” that would be resistant to the loss of such social and political expectations, I draw specifically on Søren Kierkegaard’s notion that “the expectancy of faith is victory,” and Jean-Louis Chrétien’s idea of “the unhoped for,” in order to develop a model of hope that remains when it seems like all other hope has been lost. Rather than being overcome by anxiety about the future, eschatological hope fosters joy in the present. Full article
Open AccessArticle Time Out of Joint and Future-Oriented Memory: Engaging Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the Search for a Way to Deal Responsibly with the Ghosts of the Past
Religions 2017, 8(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8030042
Received: 24 January 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
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Abstract
This article explores in conversation with some of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer the question of how the experience of the dislocation of time and the visitation of “the ghosts of the past” (also in contexts marked by historical injustices) is related to [...] Read more.
This article explores in conversation with some of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer the question of how the experience of the dislocation of time and the visitation of “the ghosts of the past” (also in contexts marked by historical injustices) is related to responsible ethical action. The question is also posed as to how the reconfiguration of the relationship of past, present and future functions on an implicit and explicit level in this regard. In the process, the article affirms the eschatological horizon of Bonhoeffer’s ethics and points to the importance of what is referred to as “future-oriented memory” in the search for responsible and hopeful action. The article acknowledges the dilemmas in relating thought and action (with reference to the so-called “Hamlet doctrine”) and points to the way in which “the future” marks and determines Bonhoeffer’s understanding of ethical action amidst the haunting presence of the past and the experience of the present time as a “time out of joint.” Full article
Open AccessArticle Fragmented, Messianic, Paradoxical, Antinomian, Revolutionary, Secular: The Hermeneutics of Eschatology
Religions 2017, 8(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8030044
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 23 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017
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Abstract
Multiple philosophical-theological efforts in the last century, from W. Benjamin to J. Caputo, have been centered on a messianic opposition to normative structures, a challenge that invokes a long history in the West of breaking down the codes of ordered, civilized and religious society. [...] Read more.
Multiple philosophical-theological efforts in the last century, from W. Benjamin to J. Caputo, have been centered on a messianic opposition to normative structures, a challenge that invokes a long history in the West of breaking down the codes of ordered, civilized and religious society. That such an apocalyptic fervor is nothing new to the history of theology should not surprise us. What should surprise us, however, is how infrequently we are able to see the larger pattern behind these particular movements. Taking up the recent emergence of ‘queer theology’ as the current manifestation of such a trend, I want to isolate and clarify the theological implications of comprehending the existence of humanity as a state of constantly ‘being between’. What I argue is that developing a hermeneutics of eschatology that takes such tensions as foundational rather than merely heterodox indicates that the opposition of grace and law is to be understood not as a dualism to be overcome but as the structure of history itself. The question I am posing is this: to what degree does the queering or subversion of theological normativity, or the development of a ‘theology against itself’, allow us to subvert identitarian politics and to challenge the social and religious institutions that we are a part of? It is through the lens of ‘queer theology’ and its questioning of the existence of normativity itself that we are simultaneously returned to the basic structures that guide human life, while, at the same time, propelled forward into new configurations of resistance to just such structures. By firmly placing ourselves within this ‘queer critique’ we see the ‘already-not yet’ tension of eschatological thought not simply in religious terms, but in ones that reorient our relationship to the political and social orders of this world, calling for a permanent re-envisioning of norms as the individual—and the church—are found to be perpetually—and edifyingly—‘against themselves’. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Transimmanence and the Im/possible Relationship between Eschatology and Transcendence
Religions 2016, 7(11), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel7110135
Received: 2 October 2016 / Revised: 5 November 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
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Abstract
Although we live in a post-metaphysical age, there is a renewed interest in transcendence, especially at the intersection of philosophy, religion, and theology. There are several reasons for this: among others, the important link that the future (eschatology) has with the unknown or [...] Read more.
Although we live in a post-metaphysical age, there is a renewed interest in transcendence, especially at the intersection of philosophy, religion, and theology. There are several reasons for this: among others, the important link that the future (eschatology) has with the unknown or that which lies beyond (transcendence). In this article, this relation between eschatology and transcendence is explored by analysing different concepts of transcendence and their possible relations to the future. Jacques Derrida and Catharine Malabou’s concepts of the future are used to shed light on the link between eschatology and transcendence as “impossible”. Secondly, Jean-Luc Nancy’s concept of transimmanence is introduced, in an attempt to find such a possible link. A reconceptualisation of transcendence as transimmanence and a reconceptualisation of the future of eschatology as something “outside within”, facilitate a link between these terms, but the original or general meanings of these terms then become impossible. This outcome urges a rethinking of the meaning and role of transcendence, eschatology, and the future in our post-metaphysical age. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle On the Paradox of the Political/Transcendence and Eschatology: Transimmanence and the Promise of Love in Jean-Luc Nancy
Religions 2017, 8(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8020028
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 31 January 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
The debate on the possibility of re-thinking transcendence at the so-called end or closure of the metaphysical tradition and its relation to the political is situated at the heart of contemporary continental philosophy of religion. This article engages the debate by reviewing what [...] Read more.
The debate on the possibility of re-thinking transcendence at the so-called end or closure of the metaphysical tradition and its relation to the political is situated at the heart of contemporary continental philosophy of religion. This article engages the debate by reviewing what is to be thought or anticipated at the closure. Firstly, the problem of engaging with transcendence at the closure of metaphysics is outlined as a discussion on what is possibly meant by the end of transcendence and onto-theology. Subsequently, the question concerning the political and its inseparable relation to transcendence is sketched and denoted by the phrase “the political/transcendence”. Secondly, Levinas’ and Nancy’s respective attempts at addressing the problem are explored in the form of a debate, with the outcome suggesting a possible gesture towards Nancy’s reconception of transcendence as transimmanence, found in his notion of “the promise of love”, on “how” to anticipate rather than “what” to anticipate in these end times. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Transcendence Un-Extra-Ordinaire: Bringing the Atheistic I Down to Earth
Religions 2017, 8(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8010004
Received: 13 November 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
I examine challenges to images of a personal god definitive for normatively policed theism (often called “traditional theism”), questioning whether a subject can be conscious of a transcendent being. I examine the challenges to show that disappointment with such images calls for rethinking [...] Read more.
I examine challenges to images of a personal god definitive for normatively policed theism (often called “traditional theism”), questioning whether a subject can be conscious of a transcendent being. I examine the challenges to show that disappointment with such images calls for rethinking terms like “transcendence” in horizontal rather than vertical registers. Through this, I indicate an irony in yearning for transcendence, one in which there is movement toward—rather than beyond—the utterly ordinary. We will see that such un-extra-ordinary transcendence makes a difference once difference is no longer determined under the hegemony of what Levinas calls “the atheistic I.” I bring together resources from feminist philosophies and Asian religions both to elaborate on the nature of the atheistic I and to rehabilitate a redeeming appreciation of the ordinary. My hope is to ameliorate disempowered estrangement by indicating ways the ordinary generates, not inhibits, becoming. However, my broader intent is to contribute to shifting sands in contemporary philosophy of religion due to recent calls for diversifying the field by including multiple religions, questioning the centrality of belief, and engaging multiple methods relevant in religious studies. Full article
Open AccessArticle “The No to Nothing, and the Nothing to Know”: Immanent Transcendence as Eschatological Mystery
Religions 2017, 8(4), 64; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8040064
Received: 13 February 2017 / Revised: 3 April 2017 / Accepted: 5 April 2017 / Published: 11 April 2017
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Abstract
At an annual American Academy of Religion conference thirty years ago, Robert Scharlemann presented a paper in which he compared and contrasted Barth and Tillich with reference to how they named God in their respective theologies. He suggested that the former labeled God [...] Read more.
At an annual American Academy of Religion conference thirty years ago, Robert Scharlemann presented a paper in which he compared and contrasted Barth and Tillich with reference to how they named God in their respective theologies. He suggested that the former labeled God the “no to nothing,” while the latter symbolized God as the “nothing to know”—appellations out of which he formed his presentation title “The No to Nothing and the Nothing to Know: Barth and Tillich and the Possibility of Theological Science.” I have purloined Scharlemann’s title for my own essay, with the intent not only to maintain its theological implications but also to use it as a rubric for prosecuting the putative relationships that obtain among anticipation, nihilism, transcendence, mystery, and eschatology. If there are various species of transcendence, and if one can use and not merely mention the word “mystery” in some constative manner, then how may one speak of the actuality and potentiality of meaning? Is there a futurity to existential significance that empowers a life-affirming hope, which, in turn, embraces the inescapability of the “nothing” without plunging, or leaping, into the abyss of nihilism—the “no to nothing?” Alternatively, may one genuinely anticipate eschatological aspirations while remaining open to the enigma of the unprogrammable aleatoric “to come”—the “nothing to know?” Furthermore, how might one name “God” under either of these circumstances, even were one not to hold to any type of confessional theological ontology? Using John Caputo’s radical theology of the insistence of “God” as my Virgil (or Beatrice, which ever applies!) to guide us through the various paths one might take towards a genuine hope, I propose to investigate the plurivocity of discourses on meaning by inter-relating Caputo’s “nihilism of grace” with several supplementary works, including Ray Hart’s God Being Nothing, Amie Thomasson’s Fiction and Metaphysics, Stuart Kaufmann’s Humanity in a Creative Universe, Catherine Keller’s Cloud of the Impossible, and Richard Kearney’s Anatheism. Additionally, I will also consult aesthetic vocabularies that address the issue, specifically the poetry of Robert Browning, Dan Fogelberg, and Wallace Stevens, along with the Abstract Expressionist work of Mark Rothko. I will conclude the essay by suggesting that although one may expound on the desire for existential meaning through diverse discourses, if there is genuinely any realization of that meaning, it will occur regardless of how it is articulated. That is to say, the creative and transformative function of any transcendent meaning may work ex opere operato in a manner similar to Shakespeare’s rose that does not depend on one exclusive naming. Full article
Open AccessArticle Transcendence, Taxis, Trust: Richard Kearney and Jacques Derrida
Religions 2017, 8(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8030037
Received: 18 January 2017 / Revised: 26 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
Whatever else it takes to drive a taxi, it takes trust. Day after day, the driver has to decide whether the other is or is not trustworthy. I take the taxi as a test case to analyze and assess Richard Kearney’s diacritical hermeneutics [...] Read more.
Whatever else it takes to drive a taxi, it takes trust. Day after day, the driver has to decide whether the other is or is not trustworthy. I take the taxi as a test case to analyze and assess Richard Kearney’s diacritical hermeneutics of the other. I argue that Kearney functionalizes the concept of transcendence in order to connect the transcendence of the finite other to the transcendence of the infinite other. However, in his central critique of the deconstructionists following Jacques Derrida, Kearney counters his connection. While Kearney’s critique of Derrida’s account of absolute alterity is correct and compelling, I argue that Derrida’s critique of a distinction between the trustworthy other and the non-trustworthy other might be more crucial than Kearney contends. Insisting on openness to the other’s otherness, Derrida provokes any hermeneutic of the other to trust in transcendence. The taxi is taken as a test to illustrate the implications which diacritical and deconstructive drivers might have for evaluating the entanglement of ethics and eschatology—inside and outside the taxi. Full article
Open AccessArticle After Onto-Theology: What Lies beyond the ‘End of Everything’
Religions 2017, 8(5), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8050098
Received: 14 March 2017 / Revised: 11 May 2017 / Accepted: 15 May 2017 / Published: 19 May 2017
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Abstract
This article takes up the onto-theological critique of metaphysics and questions whether onto-theology is not something to evade or overcome, but is inevitable. Consequently, it furthers the exploration of onto-theology by asking, if it is inevitable, then what comes after onto-theology? For the [...] Read more.
This article takes up the onto-theological critique of metaphysics and questions whether onto-theology is not something to evade or overcome, but is inevitable. Consequently, it furthers the exploration of onto-theology by asking, if it is inevitable, then what comes after onto-theology? For the past half-century, onto-theology has been a central concern for philosophy, particularly in phenomenology where one sees a theological turn in order to understand and incorporate what might be beyond, or within, consciousness that does not readily appear to the self. In this turn, one often sees philosophers (and theologians) attempt to craft a post-metaphysical understanding. Resultantly, many of these philosophers herald what I call the ‘end of everything,’ often due to their onto-theological character: from the ‘end’ of philosophy of religion, to the ‘end’ of metaphysics, to the ‘end’ of theology. However, when investigating their findings, one often sees these concepts arise from the grave, perhaps showing that some onto-theological construction is inevitable. This paper proceeds by first giving a brief overview of the philosophers Jean-Luc Nancy, Richard Kearney, John Caputo, and Merold Westphal to propose how onto-theology is still an issue for their philosophies by revealing a necessary link between ontology and empirical reality. It then builds off of this proposal through the work of Joeri Schrijvers to show what might lie ahead of philosophy (and philosophy of religion in particular), arguing that if onto-theology is inevitable then philosophy should turn further into theology to explore how theology deals with this inevitability on an empirical basis. Basically, since theology always already accepts being in default (through concepts like original sin), then how does it help believers cope with this inevitability and how does it focus upon the empirical reality of this ontological gesture. Finally, this paper investigates the work of Colby Dickinson in order to solidify this finding into a programmatic, philosophical framework. Full article
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