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Transcendence and Beyond

A Postmodern Inquiry

Edited by John D. Caputo and Michael J. Scanlon

Publication Year: 2007

Transcendence and Beyond poses the classical questions of transcendence in a postmodern setting. Do we need a transcendence that is ever more beyond or should we put transcendence behind us altogether? Is it the case that, when seen in a postmodern light, transcendence must be itself transcended? In this thought-provoking volume, Jean-Luc Marion, Gianni Vattimo, and a distinguished group of international philosophers and theologians interrogate transcendence for today's philosophy of religion. The essays gathered here examine notions of transcendence to assess its relevance and meaning in a postmodern context as well as to determine how it might be usefully refitted. Various subthemes, such as creation, love, religious language, the question of the impossible and that of becoming, emerge with a new definition of transcendence. Poised at the intersection of philosophy and religion, these reflections provide a benchmark for renewed consideration of this classic philosophical and religious theme.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix

The editors wish to acknowledge the support of Villanova University in making possible the conference ‘‘Religion and Postmodernism 4: Transcendence and Beyond,’’ on 18–20 September 2003, upon which this volume is based. We thank in particular...

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Introduction: Do We Need to Transcend Transcendence?

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pp. 1-14

The idea behind the Religion and Postmodernism conference series, of which the present volume is the latest installment, has been to bring central ideas from the classical tradition into dialogue with the idea of postmodernity. A first conference on the gift was followed by one on forgiveness and a third on St. Augustine’s Confessions.1 We were blessed in these first...


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pp. 15

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1. The Impossible for Man—God

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pp. 17-43

∞. What Transcendence Does Not Transcend Transcendence—the concept will not take us very far, nor truly ‘‘beyond.’’ Not, at least, if we take it in the two ways admitted by philosophy. First, according to phenomenology, transcendence is defined with respect to consciousness, precisely as what surpasses the immanence of consciousness to itself. In particular, we speak...

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2. Nihilism as Postmodern Christianity

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pp. 44-48

Let me begin by clarifying what I mean by nihilism in this essay. I take as a guiding concept the idea of nihilism found in Nietzsche, or, to be more precise, as it is taken up by Heidegger where he defines that process at the end of which there is nothing any longer to Being as such. However, it is not my intention to discuss the lesser or greater...


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pp. 49

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3. Re-imagining God

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pp. 51-65

God, if God exists, exists not just for God but for us. And the manner in which God comes to us, comes to mind, comes to be and to dwell as flesh amongst us, is deeply informed by the manner in which we think about God— in short, how we interpret, narrate and imagine God. This, I suggest, calls for a philosophical hermeneutics instructed by the various and essential ways in which God ‘‘appears’’ to us in and through...

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4. Trinity and Transcendence

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pp. 66-81

In the classical understanding of Christian faith we find the distinction between fides quæ creditur (faith as belief ) and fides qua creditor (faith as trusting obedience). The value of faith as belief is orthodoxy; the value of faith as trusting obedience is orthopraxy. Both are necessary for the full reality of faith, but the first is ancillary to the second. Ideally...

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5. Transcendent Immanence and Evolutionary Creation

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pp. 82-108

The aim of this piece is to bring together a critical account of the Christian doctrine of divine creation with an equally critical account of some relatable elements of the best of postmodernist thought, and then to see, to put the matter perhaps too bluntly, if prospects...

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6. G*d—The Many-Named: Without Place and Proper Name

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pp. 109-126

I approach our topic not as a philosopher but as a feminist theologian. Moreover, my work not only engages a different theoretical discourse—the socio-rhetorical, rather than the onto-philosophical—but also speaks with a different, feminist accent. My goal here is to engender a critical reflection on the sociopolitical location, rhetorical situation...


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pp. 127

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7. Rumors of Transcendence: The Movement, State, and Sex of ‘‘Beyond’’Catherine Keller

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pp. 129-150

Like a rumor, transcendence drifts between philosophy and theology. One doesn’t know quite where the concept originates. Immanent to both discourses, it emanates elusively, tantalizingly, from each, toward the other. Transcendence—as an other or an alterity that ‘‘moves beyond’’—thus characterizes an event that exceeds...

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8. Intimations of Transcendence: Praise and Compassion

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pp. 151-168

I would like to make a modest suggestion: That we look at two characteristic activities of religious people—their habit of praising God and their attempts to love others—as hints or traces of transcendence. Postmodernism has privileged the second of these activities, the ethical, and in fact has helped to return much of western theology to its...

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9. Topologies of Transcendence

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pp. 169-187

By way of orientation, I list seven key moments in thinking and rethinking transcendence, so that readers can see where I am coming from, and where we are and are not on the same page: Kant’s distinction between two senses of transcendence—outside within the world, outside...

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10. Temporal Transcendence: The Very Idea of à venir in Derrida

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pp. 188-203

The word ‘‘transcendence,’’ for all its transcendence, is a relative term. It depends upon what is being transcended or gone ‘‘beyond.’’ It can mean transcending the subject in order to get to the object, or transcending the self to reach the other; transcending beings to reach Being, or transcending innerworldly things to reach the horizon...

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11. Transcendence and Transversality

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pp. 204-218

In this essay I want to approach the topic of the present volume—a topic of both historical and contemporary importance—with some reflections on transcendence as transversal. The concept of transcendence has been in the vocabularies both of the vulgar and the learned for a very long time. The locutions of everyday language and the discourses of expert knowledge provide testimony that it is difficult to converse about...

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Transcendence and Beyond: A Concluding Roundtable

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pp. 219-238

John D. Caputo: Let me say at the start that I have learned a great deal this weekend, both from the gifted speakers we have heard, and from Hurricane Isabel, which roared up the northeastern coast on Thursday and nearly put an end to our program. I have learned something about the transcendence of nature. And I have learned to never again speak in praise of the unprogrammable disruption, the interruption...

list of contributors

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pp. 239-240


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pp. 241-248

E-ISBN-13: 9780253000026
E-ISBN-10: 0253000025
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253348746

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2007

Series Title: Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion

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Subject Headings

  • Religion -- Philosophy -- Congresses.
  • Philosophy and religion -- Congresses.
  • Transcendence (Philosophy) -- Congresses.
  • Transcendence of God -- Congresses.
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