Chapter

Against Theology<sup>1</sup>

Howard Wettstein

in The Significance of Religious Experience

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199841363
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950003 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199841363.003.0006
Against Theology1

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That Athens and Jerusalem represent dramatically different ways in the world is hardly a new idea. But developments in philosophy—like the work of Wittgenstein—suggest that the time may be ripe for another pass through the terrain. This chapter argues that medieval philosophy represents a sea-change—a paradigm shift—in theological reflection, from a poetry-infused, in many ways impressionistic literary mode to a rational reconstruction. Philosophy, one of the jewels of Greek culture, is brought to bear on a very different sort of cultural phenomenon from a very different world, as it were. This chapter sees here an analogy with the Cartesian revolution in philosophy: one may wonder whether the later, revolutionary approach represents progress. It argues that much may be lost in what is really a substantial alteration in religious sensibility.

Keywords: theology; Maimonides; anthropomorphism; perfections; narrative; poetry; Wittgenstein; midrash; aesthetic experience; religious experience; faith; belief

Chapter.  12267 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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