Theology and Contemporary Continental Philosophy

The Centrality of a Negative Dialectic

By (author) Colby Dickinson

Publication date:

31 December 2018

Length of book:

170 pages


Rowman & Littlefield International

ISBN-13: 9781786610591

This book aims to put modern continental philosophy, specifically the sub-fields of phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, deconstruction, critical theory and genealogy, into conversation with the field of contemporary theology. Colby Dickinson demonstrates the way in which negative dialectics, or the negation of negation, may help us to grasp the thin (or non-existent) borders between continental philosophy and theology as the leading thinkers of both fields wrestle with their entrance into a new era. With the declining place of “the sacred” in the public sphere, we need to pay more attention than ever to how continental philosophy seems to be returning to distinctly theological roots.

Through a genealogical mapping of 20th-century continental philosophers, Dickinson highlights the ever-present Judeo-Christian roots of modern Western philosophical thought. Opposing categories such as immanence/transcendence, finitude/infinitude, universal/particular, subject/object, are at the center of works by thinkers such as Agamben, Marion, Vattimo, Levinas, Latour, Caputo and Adorno. This book argues that utilizing a negative dialectic allows us to move beyond the apparent fixation with dichotomies present within those fields and begin to perform both philosophy and theology anew.
Dickinson argues for more fluid fertile borderlands between philosophy and theology. Deploying a dialectics of 'double negation' he critiques the mega-narratives of modernity in order to open a new 'logics' of transfusion between faith and reason. This allows for a positive revisiting of the roots of theological inquiry while embracing the most robust resources of postmodern thinking. A timely, bold and engaging work.