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Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia

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Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia

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Apophatic Bodies

Negative Theology, Incarnation, and Relationality

Chris Boesel

The ancient doctrine of negative theology or apophasis-the attempt to describe God by speaking only of what cannot be said about the divine perfection and goodness-has taken on new life in the concern with language and its limits that preoccupies much postmodern philosophy, theology, and related disciplines. How does this mystical tradition intersect with the concern with material bodies that is simultaneously a focus in these areas? This volume pursues the unlikely conjunction of apophasis and the body, not for the cachet of the cutting edgebut rather out of an ethical passion for the integrity of all creaturely bodies as they are caughtup in various ideological mechanisms-religious, theological, political, economic-that threaten their dignity and material well-being. The contributors, a diverse collection of scholars in theology, philosophy, history, and biblical studies, rethink the relationship between the concrete tradition of negative theology and apophatic discourses widely construed. They further endeavor to link these to the theological theme of incarnation and more general issues of embodiment, sexuality, and cosmology. Along the way, they engage and deploy the resources of contextual and liberation theology, post-structuralism, postcolonialism, process thought, and feminism.The result not only recasts the nature and possibilities of theological discourse but explores the possibilities of academic discussion across and beyond disciplines in concrete engagement with the well-being of bodies, both organic and inorganic. The volume interrogates the complex capacities of religious discourse both to threaten and positively to draw upon the material well-being of creation.

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Decolonizing Epistemologies

Latina/o Theology and Philosophy

This anthology gathers the work of three generations of Latina/o theologians and philosopher who have taken up the task of decolonizing epistemology by transforming their respective disciplines from the standpoint liberation thought and of what has been called the “decolonial turn” in social theory, theology, and philosophy. At the heart of this collection is the unveiling of subjugated knowledge elaborated by Latina/o scholars who take seriously their social location and that of their communities of accountability and how these impact the development of a different episteme. Refusing to continue to allow to be made invisible by the dominant discourse, this group of scholars show the unsuspecting and original ways in which Latina/o social and historical loci in the US are generative places for the creation of new matrixes of knowledge. The book articulates a new point of departure for the self-understanding of Latina/os, for other marginalized and oppress groups, and for all those seeking to engage the move beyond coloniality as it continues to be present in this age of globalization.

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Divinanimality

Animal Theory, Creaturely Theology

Edited by Stephen D. Moore, Foreword by Laurel Kearns

A turn to the animal is underway in the humanities, most obviously in such fields as philosophy, literary studies, cultural studies, and religious studies. One important catalyst for this development has been the remarkable body of animal theory issuing from such thinkers as Jacques Derrida and Donna Haraway. What might the resulting interdisciplinary field, commonly termed animality studies, mean for theology, biblical studies, and other cognate disciplines? Is it possible to move from animal theory to creaturely theology? _x000B__x000B_This volume is the first full-length attempt to grapple centrally with these questions. It attempts to triangulate philosophical and theoretical reflections on animality and humanity with theological reflections on divinity. If the animal–human distinction is being rethought and retheorized as never before, then the animal–human–divine distinctions need to be rethought, retheorized, and retheologized along with it. This is the task that the multidisciplinary team of theologians, biblical scholars, philosophers, and historians assembled in this volume collectively undertakes. They do so frequently with recourse to Derrida’s animal philosophy, but also with recourse to an eclectic range of other relevant thinkers, such as Haraway, Giorgio Agamben, Emmanuel Levinas, Gloria Anzaldúa, Hélène Cixous, A. N. Whitehead, and Lynn White Jr. _x000B__x000B_The result is a volume that will be essential reading for religious studies audiences interested in ecological issues, animality studies, and posthumanism, as well as for animality studies audiences interested in how constructions of the divine have informed constructions of the nonhuman animal through history._x000B_

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Ecospirit

Religions and Philosophies for the Earth

Laurel Kearns

We hope-even as we doubt-that the environmental crisis can be controlled. Public awareness of our species' self-destructiveness as material beings in a material world is growing-but so is the destructiveness. The practical interventions needed for saving and restoring the earth will require a collective shift of such magnitude as to take on a spiritual and religious intensity.This transformation has in part already begun. Traditions of ecological theology and ecologically aware religious practice have been preparing the way for decades. Yet these traditions still remain marginal to society, academy, and church. With a fresh, transdisciplinary approach, Ecospirit probes the possibility of a green shift radical enough to permeate the ancient roots of our sensibility and the social sources of our practice. From new language for imagining the earth as a living ground to current constructions of nature in theology, science, and philosophy; from environmentalism's questioning of postmodern thought to a garden of green doctrines, rituals, and liturgies for contemporary religion, these original essays explore and expand our sense of how to proceed in the face of an ecological crisis that demands new thinking and acting. In the midst of planetary crisis, they activateimagination, humor, ritual, and hope.

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Entangled Worlds

Religion, Science, and New Materialisms

Catherine Keller

Historically speaking, theology can be said to operate “materiaphobically.” Protestant Christianity in particular has bestowed upon theology a privilege of the soul over the body and belief over practice, in line with the distinction between a disembodied God and the inanimate world “He” created. Like all other human, social, and natural sciences, religious studies imported these theological dualisms into a purportedly secular modernity, mapping them furthermore onto the distinction between a rational, “enlightened” Europe on the one hand and a variously emotional, “primitive,” and “animist” non-Europe on the other. The “new materialisms” currently coursing through cultural, feminist, political, and queer theories seek to displace human privilege by attending to the agency of matter itself. Far from being passive or inert, they show us that matter acts, creates, destroys, and transforms—and, as such, is more of a process than a thing. Entangled Worlds examines the intersections of religion and new and old materialisms. Calling upon an interdisciplinary throng of scholars in science studies, religious studies, and theology, it assembles a multiplicity of experimental perspectives on materiality: What is matter, how does it materialize, and what sorts of worlds are enacted in its varied entanglements with divinity? While both theology and religious studies have over the past few decades come to prioritize the material contexts and bodily ecologies of more-than-human life, Entangled Worlds sets forth the first multivocal conversation between religious studies, theology, and the body of “the new materialism.” Here disciplines and traditions touch, transgress, and contaminate one another across their several carefully specified contexts. And in the responsiveness of this mutual touching of science, religion, philosophy, and theology, the growing complexity of our entanglements takes on a consistent ethical texture of urgency.

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Toward a Theology of Eros

Transfiguring Passion at the Limits of Discipline

Virginia Burrus

What does theology have to say about the place of eroticism in the salvific transformation of men and women, even of the cosmos itself? How, in turn, does eros infuse theological practice and transfigure doctrinal tropes? Avoiding the well-worn path of sexual moralizing while also departing decisively from Anders Nygren's influential insistence that Christian agape must have nothing to do with worldly eros, this book explores what is still largely uncharted territory in the realm of theological erotics. The ascetic, the mystical, the seductive, the ecstatic-these are the places where the divine and the erotic may be seen to converge and love and desire to commingle.Inviting and performing a mutual seduction of disciplines, the volume brings philosophers, historians, biblical scholars, and theologians into a spirited conversation that traverses the limits of conventional orthodoxies, whether doctrinal or disciplinary. It seeks new openings for the emergence of desire, love, and pleasure, while challenging common understandings of these terms. It engages risk at the point where the hope for salvation paradoxically endangers the safety of subjects-in particular, of theological subjects-by opening them to those transgressions of eros in which boundaries, once exceeded, become places of emerging possibility.The eighteen chapters, arranged in thematic clusters, move fluidly among and between premodern and postmodern textual traditions-from Plato to Emerson, Augustine to Kristeva, Mechthild to Mattoso, the Shulammite to Molly Bloom, the Zohar to the Da Vinci Code. In so doing, they link the sublime reaches of theory with the gritty realities of politics, the boundless transcendence of God with the poignant transience of materiality.

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