A Theology of Compassion: Metaphysics of Difference and the Renewal of Tradition

A Theology of Compassion: Metaphysics of Difference and the Renewal of Tradition

by Oliver Davies


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The wholesale rejection of metaphysics today has become the test of the postmodern. In this groundbreaking volume Oliver Davies argues for a renewal of metaphysics, as the language of createdness, based not in a return to outmoded concepts of essence but in a dynamic new understanding of ontology as narrative and performance. This repairing of the Western metaphysical tradition is grounded both in the divine self-naming in Exodus-which, for the rabbis, identified God's presence in the world with God's compassionate acts-and in the compassionate resistance of Etty Hillesum and Edith Stein to the violence of the Holocaust. Building on a new metaphysics of compassion that is attentive to the histories of the contemporary world, Davies offers a renewed systematic theology of divine speech and relation, focused in Jesus Christ, who, as the triadic "Word" of God, speaks creatively at the heart of human culture and action and who, as the redeeming "Compassion" of God, regenerates the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781532604737
Publisher: Wipf & Stock Publishers
Publication date: 08/05/2016
Pages: 398
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

I The Metaphysics of Compassion

Preface xi

Introduction xv

A Kenotic Ontology 1

1 Towards a New Metaphysics 3

Refiguring metaphysics 6

The ontology of compassion 10

The priority of compassion 16

Conclusion 22

2 The Compassionate Self 24

Deconstructing the phenomenological subject 24

Three narratives 25

A transcendental analytic of compassion 29

Excursus 37

Conclusion 45

B Narratives of Existence 47

Introduction: The Grammar of Ontology 49

3 Being and Oneness: Hierarchy and Cult 56

Parmenides 56

Plotinus 58

Meister Eckhart 62

Benedict de Spinoza 64

Martin Heidegger 69

Conclusion 73

4 Being and Nothingness: Creation and Community 74

Augustine and the Platonists 75

Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle 81

Søren Kierkegaard and Hegelians 88

Conclusion 94

5 Being and Consciousness: Freedom and Limit 96

René Descartes 98

Immanuel Kant 100

J.G. Fichte 103

Friedrich Hegel 107

Conclusion 111

6 The Death of Being? Deconstruction and Difference 114

Friedrich Nietzsche 115

Gilles Deleuze 118

Jacques Derrida 122

Emmanuel Levinas 129

Conclusion 136

7 Being and Love

Towards a Christian Ontology of Difference 138

Reconstructions 139

Three theologians 146

John Milbank 146

Jean-Luc Marion 150

David Ford 153

Creatureliness and the unity of consciousness 157

A theological reduction of compassion 159

II A Theology of Compassion

C Fundamental Theology 165

Introduction: Word and Silence 167

8 Fundamental Theology and Poetics 171

The form of poeticity 177

Towards a theological poetics 184

9 The Structure of Revelation as Communication 189

Speaking to and speaking with 192

Divine conversations 195

Old Testament 195

New Testament 199

Conclusion 210

10 The Phenomenology of Faith as Cognition 212

Faith as personal knowing 214

Universal world-centredness 217

Infinite kenosis 220

Tradition as presence in memory 221

Conclusion 222

D A Systematic Theology of Compassion 225

Introduction: Doctrine as Christian Knowledge 227

11 Compassion: Human and Divine 232

The concept of compassion 233

The compassion of God 240

Old Testament 240

New Testament 244

The compassion of his people 246

The image of God 249

Conclusion 252

12 Divine Pragmatics: Speech, Space and Power 254

Trinity 256

Triadic speech 262

Creation 266

Incarnation 269

Conclusion 272

13 The Christian Church: Truth as Transgression 274

Christian truth 276

The Marian church 279

The Petrine church 282

Mission 284

Conversation with other religions 285

Conclusion 288

Afterword: Towards a Eucharistic Cosmology 290

Select Bibliography 294

Notes 309

Index of Names 369

Index of Subjects 373

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