Apophatic Bodies: Negative Theology, Incarnation, and by Chris Boesel, Catherine Keller

By Chris Boesel, Catherine Keller

The traditional doctrine of unfavourable theology or apophasis-the try and describe God through talking purely of what can't be stated concerning the divine perfection and goodness-has taken on new existence within the problem with language and its limits that preoccupies a lot postmodern philosophy, theology, and comparable disciplines. How does this mystical culture intersect with the fear with fabric our bodies that's concurrently a spotlight in those components? This quantity pursues the not likely conjunction of apophasis and the physique, now not for the cachet of the slicing edgebut fairly out of a moral ardour for the integrity of all creaturely our bodies as they're caughtup in quite a few ideological mechanisms-religious, theological, political, economic-that threaten their dignity and fabric overall healthiness. The participants, a various selection of students in theology, philosophy, historical past, and bible study, reconsider the connection among the concrete culture of destructive theology and apophatic discourses extensively construed. They extra undertaking to hyperlink those to the theological topic of incarnation and extra common problems with embodiment, sexuality, and cosmology. alongside the way in which, they interact and installation the assets of contextual and liberation theology, post-structuralism, postcolonialism, strategy suggestion, and feminism.The consequence not just recasts the character and chances of theological discourse yet explores the chances of educational dialogue throughout and past disciplines in concrete engagement with the overall healthiness of our bodies, either natural and inorganic. the amount interrogates the advanced capacities of spiritual discourse either to threaten and definitely to attract upon the cloth healthiness of construction.

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Additional info for Apophatic Bodies: Negative Theology, Incarnation, and Relationality (Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia)

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Perhaps only a staunch, doubtless feminist, anachronism can loosen the mystical tradition from the bonds of its Neoplatonic, body-transcending patriarchy. It will at any rate not help in the present context to evade the tension between the progressive sensibilities of the ‘‘theologies that matter’’9 and the archaicism of the mystical unknowing. For the positive reading of the body privileges all the finite bodies of the creation, while the negative way finds everywhere the infinite. Before such a daunting impasse, Nicholas of Cusa oddly appears as a mediator both of method and of content.

I]nfinity . . exists and enfolds all things and nothing is able to exist outside it. ’’42 In other words once you grant the altogether orthodox proposition of the divine infinity you might choose to skirt around its implications by simply abstracting it from its spatial and therefore cosmic associations. Or you might, like Cusa, explicate from it a universe. His universe—all creatures, all bodies, the universe of bodies—unfolds from the divine infinity even as all beings and things within it are simultaneously enfolded.

Hughes notes that the women mystics remedy this blind spot by setting the divine-human relation in the context of intimate love, which includes the body and the world of human-human relations in a more robustly incarnate vision. However, where the fulfillment of this divinehuman love relation seems to ultimately eclipse the integrity of the human (woman) partner, and with it the embodied world, Hughes argues that the work of Cixous can function as a theologically fruitful supplement. Cixous may offer a vision of an embodied apophatic of intimate love that preserves the embodied integrity of both partners while rendering a poetics that might inform the speech of theology.

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