In the wake of Heideggers announcement of the end of onto-theology and inspired by both Levinas and Derrida, many contemporary continental philosophers of religion search for a post-metaphyisical God, a God who is often characterized as tout autre, wholly other.
The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj iek is an exception to this rule. First, he clearly has another source of inspiration: neither Heidegger, Levinas or Derrida, but Lacan and the great thinkers of German Idealism (Kant, Schelling, and Hegel). Moreover, he does not aim at tracing a post-metaphysical God. His turn to Christianity is the result of his concern to save the achievements of modernity from fundamentalism, post-modern relativism and religious obscurantism.
The Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo is an intermediary. His sources (mainly Nietzsche and Heidegger) seem to indicate that he aligns with those philosophers whose works are inspired by Heidegger, Levinas and Derrida. Indeed, Vattimo is also searching for the God who comes after metaphysics, but he explicitly rejects the wholly-other God. With iek, Vattimo shares a Christological interest, an attention for the event of the Incarnation and the conviction that the Incarnation amounts to the end of Gods transcendence. Both thinkers also defend the uniqueness of Christianity vis-à-vis natural religiosity. In this way, they seem to share at least some affinity with the views of the French-American literary critic and fundamental anthropologist René Girard, who has also defended the uniqueness of Christianity and claims that the latter broke away from the violent transcendence of the natural religions.
The book will investigate the Christological ideas of these three contemporary thinkers, focussing on the topics of the relation between transcendence and the event of the Incarnation on the one hand, and the topic of the uniqueness of Christianity on the other.
Introduction: The Question of Christology after the Death of God
1. Gianni Vattimo
1.1. The Background of Vattimos Christology: How the Return of Religion Became Possible (Nietzsche, Heidegger)1.2. Vattimos Christology: Kenosis and Caritas
2. Slavoj iek
2.1. The Background of ieks Christology: Reading Hegels Christology with Lacan
2.2. ieks Christology
2.2.1. The Deadlock of the Sacrificial Interpretation of Christs Death on the Cross
2.2.2. From God as Wholly Other Thing to God as Barely Nothing
2.2.3. The Coming of Christ, the Death of the Divine Thing
2.2.4. The Crucified Christ, the Ultimate objet petit a
3. René Girard
3.1. The Background of Girards Christology: Mimesis and the Scapegoating Mechanism
3.2. Girards Christology
3.2.1. Girards Account of the Christ Event
3.2.2. Girard vs. Nietzsche: Dionysus and the Crucified One on the impact of the Christ Event in World History
4. Evaluations & Confrontations
4.1. Vattimos Christology, a Return of God Is Dead-Theology
4.2. Girard vs. Vattimo
4.3. The Shared Inspiration of iek and Girard
4.4. The Fate of Transcendence in the Work of iek
4.5. Girard vs. iek
4.6. General Conclusion: On the Transcendence of Love and the Uniqueness of Christianity
Dr Frederiek Depoortere is a Postdoctoral Fellow of the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO) at the Faculty of Theology, K.U.Leuven (Belgium) and a member of the research group 'Theology in a Postmodern Context'.
Christ In Postmodern Philosophy by Frederiek Depoortere was published by Continuum in August 2008 and is our 36846th best seller. The ISBN for Christ In Postmodern Philosophy is 9780567033321.