Erring: A Postmodern A/theology by Mark C. Taylor

By Mark C. Taylor

"Erring is a considerate, usually superb try to describe and enact what is still of (and for) theology within the wake of deconstruction. Drawing on Hegel, Nietzsche, Derrida, and others, Mark Taylor extends—and is going good beyond—pioneering efforts. . . . the result's a massive publication, entire and well-informed."—G. Douglas Atkins, Philosophy and Literature

"Many have felt the necessity for a research which might explicate in coherent and available model the primary tenets of deconstruction, with specific recognition to their theological implications. This want the writer has addressed in a such a lot striking demeanour. The book's influence upon modern dialogue is apt to be, and merits to be, far-reaching."—Walter Lowe, magazine of faith

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This Cartesian revolution initiated an era of extraordinary intellectual, cultural, and social upheaval, which culminated in the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror. During the period extending from Descartes to Robespierre, the foundations of Western thought, culture, and society began to fissure. Though ostensibly a revolt against irrational belief and repression, the Enlightenment actually rested on faith and became repressive. Belief in man supplanted belief in God as oppressed servants battled harsh mas- 22 PART ONE "DECONSTRUCTING THEOLOGY" ters for intellectual and political freedom.

The divided subject is left to err between the extremes it both joins and separates. As will become clear in the next chapter, the splitting of the subject leads to the disappearance of the self. Narcissus, after all, eventually loses himself in his mirror. It has become apparent that the pursuit of self-possession not only takes the form of the incorporation of otherness within the self, but also finds expression in the self's effort to exclude difference from identity. In order to secure its integrity, the sovereign subject is convinced that it must protect itself from the invasion, violation, and pollution of the other.

While the modern form of the death of God comes to expression in humanistic atheism, the postmodern form points toward a posthumanistic a/theology. By denying God in the name of man, humanistic atheism inverts the Creator/creature relationship and transforms theology into anthropology. Posthumanistic a/theology, by contrast, maintains that this inversion, though it is necessary, does not go far enough. The humanistic atheist fails to realize that the death of God is at the same time the death of the self.

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