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Apophatic BodiesNegative Theology, Incarnation, and Relationality$
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Chris Boesel and Catherine Keller

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780823230815

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823230815.001.0001

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The Apophasis of Divine Freedom: Saving “the Name” and the Neighbor from Human Mastery

The Apophasis of Divine Freedom: Saving “the Name” and the Neighbor from Human Mastery

(p.307) The Apophasis of Divine Freedom: Saving “the Name” and the Neighbor from Human Mastery
Apophatic Bodies

Chris Boesel

Fordham University Press

This chapter provides a very brief and very general characterization of a deconstructive reading of negative theology. It discusses, in addition to Jacques Derrida himself, the interpretations by John Caputo and Kevin Hart of Derrida's reading of Pseudo-Dionysius. Calling negative theology here, is, as all traditions, varied and multiform, and Derrida's deconstructive analysis and critique of one of its featured practitioners should in no way be taken as an authoritative representation of the tradition as a whole. The chapter then focuses on a certain apophatic desire of its own: a twofold desire—theologically, to “save the name” of God from human mastery, and in doing so, to ethically “save the neighbor” from the always toxic consequences of said mastery. The chapter then suggests an alternative strand of the theological tradition that may provide resources for the apophatic desire of theologically minded interpreters of deconstruction.

Keywords:   negative theology, Jacques Derrida, John Caputo, Kevin Hart, deconstructive analysis, apophatic desire, human mastery

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