Divine Excess: The God Who Comes After

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

Divine Excess: The God Who Comes             After

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This chapter pursues the theme of ontology and onto-theology in greater detail, and examines Augustine's understanding of God. It summarizes three forms of the postmodern critique, those of Heidegger, Levinas, and Marion. The three essays of Heidegger entitled What is Metaphysics? make it clear why onto-theology is bad for philosophy. Onto-theology, as Heidegger understands it, is the project of rendering the whole of being intelligible to human understanding. Since it has no room for that which overflows comprehension, it distorts one's understanding of God. Similarly, ontology, as Levinas presents it, identifies being with its intelligibility to theory, to contemplation, to representation, and to intentionality. Marion charges that onto-theology imposes its metaphysical names, such as causa sui, on God and in doing so hides the mystery of God. The chapter lastly suggests that the God who comes after postmodernism is the God of Augustine, especially as presented in the Confessions.

Keywords: Heidegger; Levinas; Marion; causa sui; Confessions

Chapter.  11735 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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