The Meaning and Power of Negativity

Claremont Studies in the Philosophy of Religion, Conference 2017
Edited by Ingolf U. Dalferth and Trevor W. Kimball

[Sinn und Macht der Negativität. Claremont Studien zur Religionsphilosophie, Konferenz 2017.]

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Published in English.
Negativity is not a negative phenomenon, but omnipresent in human life and thinking. Without it, contingency and otherness, subjectivity and power, transcendence and immanence in human life and culture cannot be understood. The present volume examines forms of negativity in central religious, theological, and philosophical traditions in Western, Buddhist, and Korean thought.
Negativity is omnipresent in human life and thinking. Without it, contingency and otherness, subjectivity and power, transcendence and immanence and other manifestations of the pluriform dynamics between signifier, signified and meaning in human life and culture cannot be understood. This volume explores the significance of negativity in Western and Eastern thought in four central areas: in the traditions of negative theology in the West; in the dialectics of negativity in the wake of Hegel and in existential philosophy; in versions of negative dialectics and negative hermeneutics in the 20th century; and in Buddhist thought about emptiness, Korean philosophies of nothingness, and the similarities and differences between the mystical traditions of the East and the West. Together, the four parts outline a panorama of questions, positions, and approaches that must be explored by anyone who wants to address questions of negativity in the context of contemporary philosophical, theological, ethical, and existential challenges.
Survey of contents
Ingolf U. Dalferth: Introduction: The Meaning and Power of Negativity

I. Negative Theology: The Western Tradition
Willemien Otten: Between Thesis and Antithesis: Negative Theology as a Medieval Way of Thinking Forward – Shane Akerman: Problematizing Progress: A Response to Willemien Otten – Andrew W. Hass: Creatio qua Nihil: Negation from the Generative to the Performative – Deidre Nicole Green: Love in the Time of Negativity: A Response to Andrew W. Hass – Stephen T. Davis: Negation in Theology – Carl S. Hughes: Radical Negativity and Infinite Striving: From the Death of God to the Theologia CrucisNancy Van Deusen: God's Idiots: Nicholas of Cusa and the »Contrary Motion« of Bankrupted Consciousness: A Dialectic with Negativity – Asle Eikrem: »Mystery is what faith essentially includes…«: A Philosophical Critique of the Semantic-Ontological Presuppositions of Negative/Mystical Theology – Raymond E. Perrier: Negative Theology and the Question of Religious Transformation: A Response to Asle Eikrem

II. The Dialectics of Negativity
Lucas Wright: Difference Through the Prism of the Same: Apophasis and Negative Dialectic in Rosenzweig and Adorno – Thomas M. Schmidt: Dialectics and Despair: Negativity After Hegel – Jonathan Russell: The Question of Unrecognizable Negativity: Hegel and Bataille's Philosophies of Religion: A Response to Thomas M. Schimidt – Dustin Peone: Ethical Negativity: Hegel on the True Infinite – Gal Katz: Negativity and Modern Freedom: Hegel's Negation of Pantheism – Yuval Avnur: Denial, Silence, and Openness

III. Negativity, Hermeneutics, and Suffering
Elizabeth Pritchard: Political Theology After Auschwitz: Adorno and Schmitt on Evil – Trisha M. Famisaran: On the Apparent Antinomy Between Ethics and Politics: A Response to Elizabeth Pritchard – Emil Angehrn: Negative Hermeneutics: Between Non-Understanding and the Understanding of Negativity – Thomas Jared Farmer: At the Limits of Understanding: A Response to Emil Anghern – Mara G. Block: Bodily Negations: Time, Incarnation, and Social Critique in the Late Notebooks of Simone Weil

IV. Negativity and Eastern Traditions
Halla Kim: Ways of Nothingness: Ryu Young-Mo on God – Hyoseok Kim: Ryu Young-Mo, a Korean version of an Apophatic, Hickian Religious Pluralistic, and Spiritually Elitist Theologian?: A Response to Halla Kim – Alexander Mckinley: The Apotheosis of Emptiness: God Suniyan and the Soteriological Necessity of Negativity in Sinhala Buddhism

Ingolf U. Dalferth Geboren 1948; 1977 Promotion; 1982 Habilitation; Professor Emeritus für Systematische Theologie, Symbolik und Religionsphilosophie an der Universität Zürich; Danforth Professor Emeritus für Religionsphilosophie an der Claremont Graduate University in Kalifornien.

Trevor W. Kimball 2010 Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy and Theology), Oxford University; 2012 Master of Studies (Theology – Modern Doctrine), Oxford University; 2019 PhD in Philosophy of Religion and Theology, Claremont Graduate University.


The following reviews are known:

In: Lutheran Quarterly — 36 (2022), pp. 341–342 (Mark Mattes)