The Apophasis of Divine Freedom: Saving “the Name” and the Neighbor from Human Mastery

Chris Boesel

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

The Apophasis of Divine Freedom: Saving “the               Name” and the Neighbor from Human Mastery

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This chapter provides a very brief and very general characterization of a deconstructive reading of negative theology. It discusses, in addition to Jacques Derrida himself, the interpretations by John Caputo and Kevin Hart of Derrida's reading of Pseudo-Dionysius. Calling negative theology here, is, as all traditions, varied and multiform, and Derrida's deconstructive analysis and critique of one of its featured practitioners should in no way be taken as an authoritative representation of the tradition as a whole. The chapter then focuses on a certain apophatic desire of its own: a twofold desire—theologically, to “save the name” of God from human mastery, and in doing so, to ethically “save the neighbor” from the always toxic consequences of said mastery. The chapter then suggests an alternative strand of the theological tradition that may provide resources for the apophatic desire of theologically minded interpreters of deconstruction.

Keywords: negative theology; Jacques Derrida; John Caputo; Kevin Hart; deconstructive analysis; apophatic desire; human mastery

Chapter.  9234 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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