Announcement: Modern European Philosophy and the Problem of Religious Language

Modern European Philosophy and the Problem of Religious Language

In Association with the Forum for European Philosophy and Royal Institute of Philosophy

Tuesday 5th November, 4.30 – 7.00

SOTA Library, 19 Abercromby Square, University of Liverpool

This workshop will explore the rich resources for analysing, theorising and interrogating religious language within the continental tradition. It marks the publication of two new books in the field, Daniel Colucciello Barber’s Deleuze and the Naming of God: Post-Secularism and the Future of Immanence (Edinburgh University Press) and Daniel Whistler’s Schelling’s Theory of Symbolic Language: Forming the System of Identity (Oxford University Press), as well as the reissue of Steven Shakespeare’s classicKierkegaard, Language and the Reality of God (Ashgate, 2001; Biblio, 2013).

The event is free and open to all. No registration is necessary, although, if possible, do let Daniel Whistler (daniel.whistler@liv.ac.uk) know of your intention to attend.

 

Programme

4.30 – 5.15           Daniel Colucciello Barber (ICI, Berlin)

The Senseless Fabulation of Icons

 

5.15 – 5.50           Steven Shakespeare (Liverpool Hope)

The Sign of Contradiction: Paradox versus Apophasis in Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Language

 

5.50 – 6.25           Catherine Tomas (University of Oxford)

The Making of Mystics: How the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Abjects

 

6.25 – 7.00           Duane Williams (Liverpool Hope)

Aristotle, Heidegger, and the Architectonic Structure of Language

Abstracts

The Senseless Fabulation of Icons

Daniel Colucciello Barber

This paper addresses the conjuncture of philosophy and religious language by taking up the work of Gilles Deleuze, according to which there is a constitutive senselessness to language, one that calls for an affirmation of the crack of interstitiality against the relation of association. Such interstitial senselessness is at the heart of Deleuze’s seemingly religious invocation of “belief in the world.” This invocation amounts to a call for the fabulation of icons — a call that is religious but that is likewise posed against the account of language produced by standard Christian soteriological narratives.

Daniel C. Barber is a Fellow at ICI Berlin Institute for Cultural Inquiry. He is the author of Deleuze and the Naming of God: Post-Secularism and the Future of Immanence (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming 2013), and On Diaspora: Christianity, Religion, and Secularity (Cascade, 2011).

 

The Sign of Contradiction: Paradox versus Apophasis in Kierkegaard’s Philosophy of Language

Steven Shakespeare

Approaches to the philosophy of religious language often stress the inadequacy of words to refer to or describe the divine. However, such apparent humility can hide a domineering claim: only this language and these symbols are properly inadequate – only these keep the mystery of God pure. This paper will challenge the notion of proper inadequacy by critically deploying Kierkegaard’s account of the paradoxicality of the sign, and the inevitability of poetic invention in relation to the absolute.

Steven Shakespeare is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Liverpool Hope University. He has recently published Derrida and Theology (T&T Clark, 2009) and (with Katharine Sarah Moody) of Intensities: Philosophy, Religion and the Affirmation of Life (Ashgate, 2012).

 

The Making of Mystics: How the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Abjects

Catherine Tomas

The Catholic Church maintains its doctrine and power through the maintenance and policing of language boundaries. This is demonstrated clearly when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) engage with those who claim to have direct communication with God.  Here, the policing of ‘religious language’ borders gets real: modern day mystics are made ‘abject’ through complex language games employed by those in the CDF, who attempt to remove the epistemic authority of the mystic. Although this is not the only way modern day mystics are rendered abject, it is the most significant, and feeds into wider questions about the role of language and subject formation in mysticism. Julia Kristeva’s model of abjection helps us to describe and understand what goes on when the CDF engage with mystics. In this paper, I will address some of the issues that arise from any attempt to legislate what counts as religious language. Moreover, I will show how the CDF’s treatment of those who disrupt language borders ironically endorses them as true mystics.

Catherine Tomas is a doctoral student in Theology at Christ Church, University of Oxford, working on feminism, mysticism and the philosophy of Julia Kristeva.

 

Aristotle, Heidegger, and the Architectonic Structure of Language

Duane Williams

Heidegger argues that the Stoa saw a change in the way language as a sign was understood. Language is thus seen to merely designate that which is already known by thought, and consequently the true nature of reality is forever out of language’s reach as it becomes no more than a method of logical assertion. But for Heidegger, language speaks existentially and not propositionally, and it is this concrete interpretive discourse that first connects us with the world because we dwell poetically in the world through language as the House of Being. 

Duane Williams is Lecturer in Theology at Liverpool Hope University and the author of The Linguistic Christ (Edwin Mellen, 2011), as well as the forthcoming monograph, Language and Being: Heidegger’s Linguistics.

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