Presence and Distance

George Pattison

in God and Being

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199588688
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191723339 | DOI:
Presence and Distance

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The chapter explores the idea of presence and its role in religious experience with particular reference to poetry, art, and mysticism. After an initial discussion of the notion of presence referring to William James, Wordsworth, and Schleiermacher (noting its ‘Romantic’ provenance), the chapter proceeds to look at how this theme is manifested in modern culture, taking Gerard Manley Hopkins, Paul Cezanne, and D. T. Suzuki as examples. The philosophical implications of these are examined in relation to Heidegger's early lectures on categorial intuition, Kierkegaard's account of the self-relational self, and Heidegger's notion of Dasein. Sartre is seen to conclude that the existential idea of the self leads to the complete annihilation of Being, but it is concluded that the ‘distance’ between self and Being cannot be immediately conflated with simple absence.

Keywords: presence; Romanticism; categorial intuition; selfhood; Dasein; consciousness; distance; nothingness

Chapter.  23587 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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