Bodies without Wholes: Apophatic Excess and Fragmentation in Augustine's City of God*

Virginia Burrus and Karmen Mackendrick

in Apophatic Bodies

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780823230815
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235087 | DOI:

Series: Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia

Bodies without Wholes: Apophatic Excess and Fragmentation in               Augustine's City of God*

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In Saint Augustine's texts, bodies consistently evade wholeness, produce excess, affirm, and negate—and approach a God who likewise does all of these things. City of God describes several modes of what we might call corporeal excess—and in so doing, not only tends to textual versions but also pushes into the conceptual excess of paradox. His is a queer apophasis, then—an apophasis of confession, not least. In confession, there is always more to say—and to unsay. One never gets to the bottom of it all, for no utterance is ever quite right. The self eludes language as surely as God does. The fragmentation, the break not only between intention and expression but also between human and divine in the fallen world, produces excess, not merely by adding on lies to the truth, but by keeping us talking (perhaps fictively) toward a God our words can never reach: there is always more to say.

Keywords: Saint Augustine; bodies; wholeness; God; City of God; apophasis; excess; fragmentation; corporeal excess

Chapter.  6092 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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