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BOOK REVIEWS 463 both linguistic and sexual import (Taylor and Winquist). Some theolo• gians, like conventional philosophers and critics, may be disturbed by the lack of authority and stability, but the deconstructionist invites them to relinquish mirroring and finality for a Nietzschean dance in the shifting fields projected by la difference (Taylor and Altizer). Finally, the closest thing to an ethical reflection in these pages is Max Myers's thoughtful but sketchy attempt at constructing a theory of communication along the lines of Jiirgen Habermas. It is the revelatory possibility of this discourse which Christians express through the story of crucifixion and resurrection. Synopsizing six authors in a few paragraphs may be unfair, but it has justification in the common threads running through the books and in the common references in current literature. Furthermore, the review does not begin to show how complex and opaque the writing is. All the authors prove themselves capable of crafting a clear sentence and careful paragraph , but too often they fall into linguistic contortions and pedantic name-dropping. Above all, there is little thought given to supportive reasoning . For what reasons one should adopt deconstructionism, other than that it is the newest wave, is not developed. Of course, the theologians can adopt Derrida's tendency to dismiss people who ask for clarity and argumentation as victims of the very rationalist bias deserving of defeat. At that juncture, we are all left babbling. Yet, as I have indicated, these deconstructionist essays do have positions and even rudimentary arguments ; and, when they become clear enough to ponder, they can be taken in ways which are as interesting and plausible as the best process thought or negative theology of earlier periods. Still, pushed to their extreme, even these proposals (on presence and difference, on truth and meaning, on theism and atheism ...) devolve into incoherence. Perhaps, in the end, theologians and philosophers alike need to follow deconstructionism to the depth where it self-destructs. From this depth, we might get a new and better appreciation of traditional and revolutionary theologies. But the deconstructionist theologians must come to write with Derrida's wit and Rorty's lucidity if their theological endeavor is not to sink like the death of God phenomenon before it in the slough of bad writing. MICHAEL J. KERLIN La Salle College Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Love and. Responsib.ility. By KAROL WoJTYLA. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1981. Pp. 319. $15.00. Love and Responsibility is the translation of a work by Karol Wojtyla first presented as a series of leetures at the Catholic University of Lublin 464 B09K REVIEWS in 1958-59, then published as a book in 1960. The book established Wojtyla as an expert in marital ethics by presenting a thorough, insightful , and original analysis of the nature of sexual love and its moral principles . Wojtyla was subsequently appointed to the papal commission which reexamined the issue of contraception prior to the appearance of Humanae Vitae, and he may have influenced the content of that encyclical. In any case, the strong personalistic approach of this book, together with its equally strong rejection of artificial birth control, is consistent with the encyclical and with Wojtyla's own later views. (See Karol Wojtyla, Fruitful and Responsible Love, New York: Seabury Press, 1979, and as Pope John Paul II The Apostolic Exhortation on the Family, November 22, 1981.) The significance of the views on sexuality and marriage Wojtyla expresses in this book, however, is not limited to the admittedly important issue of contraception. There is a danger that the book will only be read polemically in the light of this currently central Catholic issue, and that its greatest contribution will be ignored by both " conservative " and " liberal " alike. That contribution is Wojtyla's presentation of an uncompromising personalistic sexual ethic based on the intrinsic value of the human person and the consequent norm of love. Wojtyla's sexual ethic is based on his insistence that a human being is both a subject and an object (pp. 21-24). As a subject, a human being is a person who is not merely a member of the species, "man," but a being with its own inner life of knowledge...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2473-3725
Print ISSN
0040-6325
Pages
pp. 463-470
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-15
Open Access
No
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