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Crossover QueriesDwelling with Negatives, Embodying Philosophy's Others$
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Edith Wyschogrod

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226061

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226061.001.0001

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Between Swooners and Cynics

Between Swooners and Cynics

The Art of Envisioning God

Chapter:
(p.331) 21 Between Swooners and Cynics
Source:
Crossover Queries
Author(s):

Edith Wyschogrod

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823226061.003.0022

The wide-eyed ecstatic, or the “swooner”, asks, “Ah, what is beauty really”, while the doubting protester, called the “cynic” in conformity with an ancient philosophical tradition, inquires disparagingly, “What is beauty anyway?”. This chapter focuses on the world orientations or dispositions of the questioner, the “Ah” of the swooner and the “anyway” of the cynic, as each encounters the referent of the term “beauty”. By tracking the philosophical matrices from which these perspectives derive, the chapter hopes to show that swooners and cynics cannot do without one another if the extremes of naivete and nihilism are to be avoided and that each must be taken into account in speaking about God. Having traced the route of the swooner to the threshold of postmodernity, this chapter explores whether cynicism is a necessary moment that disrupts the swoon.

Keywords:   swooners, beauty, cynics, nihilism, God, cynicism, postmodernity

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