Faith As the Overcoming of Ontological Xenophobia

Merold Westphal

in Overcoming Onto-Theology

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780823221301
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235483 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Faith As the Overcoming of Ontological             Xenophobia

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This chapter looks at Derrida's attempt to distinguish deconstruction from negative theology. In this context, it argues that Derrida opens the door without entering it, for an Augustinian understanding of divine alterity in terms of the combined motifs of creation and fall, as developed by Augustine, as well as Aquinas and Bonaventure. In Heidegger's view one could not more eloquently express the danger that the metaphysical tradition represents. It follows that Nietzsche is a Neoplatonist in the grips of ontological xenophobia, while Heidegger is, if not an instance of the Augustinian faith that overcomes this fear of meeting a stranger, at least someone who deliberately holds open the space for such a possibility. The chapter presents this Neoplatonist/Augustinian typology as alternative and corrective to the Augustinian/Thomistic distinction presented by Tillich in his famous essay “The Two Types of Philosophy of Religion”.

Keywords: Augustine; Neoplatonist; ontological xenophobia; Thomistic; Tillich; negative theology

Chapter.  11034 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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