19 Jul Interventions
“If you live today” wrote Flannery O’Connor, “you breathe in nihilism.” Whether “religious” or “secular”, it is “the very gas you breathe.” Both within and without the academy, there is an air common to deconstruction and scientism, which both might be described as species of reductionism. The dominance of these modes of knowledge in popular and professional discourse is incontestable, perhaps no more so where questions of theological import are often subjugated to the margins of intellectual respectability. Yet it is often the case that it is precisely the proponents and defenders of religious belief in an age of nihilism who are among those most–unwittingly or not–complicit in this very reduction. In these latter cases, one frequently spies an accommodationist impulse, whereby our concepts must be first submitted to a prior philosophical court of appeal in order for them to render any intellectual value. To cite one particularly salient example, debates over the origins, nature, and ends of human life are routinely partitioned off into categories of “evolutionism” and “creationism”, often with little nuance. Where attempts to mediate these arguments are to be found, frequently the strategy is that of a kind of accommodation: how can we adapt our belief in creation to an already established evolutionary metaphysic or how can we have our evolutionary cake and eat it too? It is sadly the case that, despite the best intentions of such “intellectual ecumenism”, the distinctive voice of theology is the first one to succumb to aphony–either from impetuous overuse or from a deliberate silencing.
The books in this series propose no such simple accommodation. They rather seek and perform tactical interventions in such debates in a manner that problematizes the accepted terms of such debates. They propose something altogether more demanding: through a kind of refusal of the disciplinary isolation now standard in modern universities, a genuinely interdisciplinary series of mediations of crucial concepts and key figures in contemporary thought. These volumes attempt to discuss these topics as they are articulated within their own field, including their historical emergence, and cultural significance, which will provide a way into seemingly abstract discussions. At the same time, they aim to analyze what consequences such thinking may have for theology, both positive and negative, and, in light of these new perspectives, to develop an effective response–one that will better situate students of theology and professional theologians alike within the most vital debates informing Western Society, and so increate their understanding of, participation in, and contribution to these.
To a generation brought up on a diet of deconstruction, on the one hand, and scientism, on the other, INTERVENTIONS offers an alternative that is otherwise than nihilistic–doing so by approaching well-worn questions and topics, as well as historical and contemporary figures from an original and interdisciplinary angle, and so avoid having to steer a course between the aforementioned ‘Scylla’ and ‘Charybdis’.
This series also seeks to navigate not just through these twin dangers, but also through the dangerous “and” which joins them. That is to say, it attempts to be genuinely interdisciplinary in avoiding the conjunctive approach to such topics that takes as paradigmatic a relationship of “theology and phenomenology” or “religion and science”. Instead, the volumes in this series attempt to treat such discourses not as discrete disciplines unto themselves, but as moments within a distended theological performance. Above all, they hopefully contribute to a renewed atmosphere shared by theologians and philosophers (not to mention those in other disciplines)–an air that is not nothing…
SERIES EDITOR: Dr. Conor Cunningham
ADVISORY BOARD: Rowan Williams, Charles Taylor, William Desmond, Mark D. Jordan, Peter van Inwagen, Remi Brague, Sarah Coakley, and Jean-Yves Lacoste.
BOOKS IN INTERVENTIONS:
Heidegger: A (Very) Critical Introduction
by S.J. McGrath
Zizek: A (Very) Critical Introduction
by Marcus Pound
Balthasar: A (Very) Critical Introduction
by Karen Kilby
Hauerwas: A (Very) Critical Introduction
by Nicholas M. Healy
by Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro
Darwin’s Pious Idea: Why the Ultra-Darwinists and Creationists Both Get It Wrong
by Conor Cunningham
Metaphysics: The Creation of Hierarchy
by Adrian Pabst
Words of Christ
by Michel Henry
The Analogical Turn: Rethinking Modernity with Nicholas of Cusa
by Johannes Hoff
A Theology of Grace in Six Controversies
by Edward T. Oakes, S.J.
Ecce Homo: On the Divine Unity of Christ
by Aaron Riches