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Political TheologiesPublic Religions in a Post-Secular World$
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Hent de Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226443

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226443.001.0001

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On the Names of God

On the Names of God

Chapter:
(p.137) On the Names of God
Source:
Political Theologies
Author(s):

Laclau Ernesto

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823226443.003.0006

This chapter formalizes the irreducibility of difference in the constitution of the political with a central insight of mysticism. By way of a powerful rereading of Pseudo-Dionysius and Meister Eckart, it elaborates the systematic parallel between the chapter's own assessment of the meaning of “empty signifiers” for a theory of hegemony and the tradition of the divine names. Mystical discourse reveals something belonging to the general structure of experience: not only the separation between the two extremes of radical finitude and absolute fullness but also the complex language games that it is possible to play on the basis of the contamination of each by the other. This chapter examines the strategies made possible by this unavoidable contamination, citing two examples: one from the field of politics, the other from ethics. It concludes that God cannot be named; the operation of naming Him, either directly or indirectly, through the equivalence of contents that are less than Him, involves us in a process by which the residue of particularity, which mystical intervention tries to eliminate, proves to be irreducible.

Keywords:   God, mysticism, divine names, Pseudo-Dionysius, Meister Eckart, hegemony, experience, finitude, politics, equivalence

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