101 Key Terms in Philosophy and Their Importance for Theology

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In positioning eschatology at the heart of Heidegger's project, Wolfe situates his sustained six-decade critique of Western philosophy as an engagement with the deepest questions concerning the spiritual ends of humankind, the world, and the philosophical discourses with which we make our way in it. These questions first became urgent for Heidegger, Wolfe reminds us, in his own religious life and work, and given his guiding conviction that "one's origin always remains one's future," the formative theological framing of these questions thrust upon him by his "ownmost provenance" could not help but continue to shape his philosophical development 1.

From his earliest anti-modern polemics in German Catholic "newspaper wars" 11 , to his turn to Protestants like Luther and Kierkegaard for accounts of religious experience adequate to the struggles of daily life, to his strident efforts to segregate putatively fundamental ontological philosophy from merely ontic theology, to his later attempts to overcome ontotheological metaphysics through an "apophatic eschatology" , Wolfe argues persuasively that Heidegger's philosophical journey is animated throughout by deep engagement with Christian theological reflection on cosmic and human ends.

On Wolfe's account, this engagement is congenial and agonistic in turns, but always provocative -- both of Heidegger's most abiding philosophical concerns and, thus, of the careful interdisciplinary attention of philosophers and theologians working in his wake. The book is composed of an introduction and eight chapters.

The exception to the chronological rule is chapter 4, in which Wolfe leverages helpful discussions from chapter 3 of insights gleaned from letters and texts written in the immediate wake of Being and Time to illuminate Heidegger's magnum opus.


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With the full sweep of his thought path in view, Wolfe devotes two remaining chapters to mapping Heidegger's theological reception among his contemporaries chapter 7, Heidegger among theologians and in contemporary theology more broadly chapter 8, Heidegger in theology. About half of HT -- the first four chapters -- is repurposed from HE via revision and abridgment of the more specialized material. The second half of HT extends the scope of HE's research program into new work on Heidegger's path after and his theological reception.

This strategy enables Wolfe both to convert the specialized research of HE into a more accessible, faster-paced narrative and to illuminate the work of Heidegger's middle and later periods -- work that is both politically notorious and conceptually difficult -- by drawing it into the light of this helpful narrative arc. The result is a work that can be appreciated by both Heidegger experts and scholars and students of twentieth-century European philosophy and Christian theology. Scholars will appreciate that Wolfe has prioritized, when possible, the use of new source materials to make her case and that she deemphasizes texts and debates that are beaten tracks in Heidegger scholarship cf.

For those wishing to explore these source materials in detail, Wolfe provides an impressive set of research aids that demonstrates both expansive knowledge of the original language sources and enviable technical skill, right down to reading Kierkegaard in Danish Of the book's pages, 90 are devoted to extensive notes, bibliographical materials, and an index replete with surnames that only the guild's fustiest archivists will recognize.

By keeping the bracing narrative of Heidegger's engagement with theology in the foreground, however, and the scholarly apparatus on which it is framed largely behind the scenes, Wolfe succeeds in maintaining readability without compromising rigor. Speaking of readability, students will appreciate Wolfe's commitment to the view that "Heidegger's philosophy retains much of its cogency in ordinary English," 7 thus sparing them idiosyncratic translations that attempt to retain German etymologies lost on English-speaking readers.

Also helpful to newcomers is Wolfe's discipline, before plunging into a dense patch of exposition or argumentation, of briefly summarizing important background information with which some readers may be unfamiliar. So those coming from Heidegger to theology get a primer on traditional Christian accounts of sin and death before learning how these figure into Heidegger's discussions of fallenness and authenticity Those coming from theology to Heidegger will find cutting-edge resources for understanding his personal and professional theological engagements and their importance for the development of his work, as well as for tracing his influence on important strands of twentieth-century theology.

The range of theological inputs that figure into Wolfe's narrative is remarkable. Martin Abbey in Beuron Resources like these are not overabundant even in the specialized literature which is well canvassed in Wolfe's bibliography , and they are especially rare in the supporting literature for non-experts and students. More concretely, just one essay out of more than sixty chapters on offer in the relevant Blackwell [3] and Cambridge [4] companions provides in-depth coverage of Heidegger and theology, and that essay dates from the early nineties [5] , well before some of the sources that Wolfe consults were available even in German.

Heidegger's theologically-minded readership is bound to find this boon of resources exciting. But Wolfe is careful to show that readers previously uninterested in or unaware of the theological undercurrents in Heidegger's work can profit from them too, insofar as they inform the pivotal themes of his philosophy. As Wolfe tells the story, Heidegger's initial gravitation away from neo-Scholasticism 17 , his discovery of phenomenology 33 , and the development of his treatments of lived experience, anxiety, authenticity, being-unto-death, temporality, and mindfulness all bear the indelible marks of a philosophical imagination stoked, labored, and even tormented, by theologically-inflected eschatological questions.

This may explain why he hates the church as often and as passionately as he loves it" Wolfe's knack for ferreting out just the right juicy bit from the dusty stacks to spotlight the factical ground from which Heidegger's big ideas spring is one of the most compelling features of her approach. In an online interview about HT, she says "I love both detective work in archives and very abstract thought, so perhaps the most fun thing about writing this book was the chance to see what light they throw on each other. The light is bright, and Wolfe's enjoyment in casting it is clear throughout.

101 Key Terms in Philosophy and Their Importance for Theology e-book

The citation of a few key passages at length will give prospective readers a clearer sense both of the narrative's conceptual contours and of Wolfe's style. The first stage. This prioritization consistently comes with a critique of Christianity as quickly abandoning its earliest eschatological experience for secure philosophical and political systems represented in Heidegger's own time by neo-Scholasticism.

The second stage is a more systematic 'deconstruction' of these systems through the postulate of a constitutive and absolute rift between God and man -- a rift that perpetuates affliction of anxiety as the proper mood both of human existence and of theological inquiry. In this emphasis, Heidegger draws on the anti-metaphysical tradition in Christianity, especially St.

Ironically, however, the radical externality of God, for Heidegger, comes to imply that God's agency must remain irretrievably beyond the purview of the phenomenological method: what originally attracted Heidegger as a method adequate to describing Christian faith now emerges as a demarcation of the philosopher's territory against that of the theologian. The third stage, then, is the emancipation of philosophy from theology as an independent mediatrix of authentic existence Ships in 15 business days.

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Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria ()

Industry Reviews ""To theological students I, as a philosopher, have sometimes said that what I hope for is not that they become philosophers but that they become sure-footed in philosophy. Aesthetics p. All Rights Reserved. In Stock.

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