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Making Good on the "Good" of Life: Emerging Logics and Poetics of the Kingdom


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A paper given at the "Towards a Philosophy of Life: Rethinking the Concept of Life in Continental Philosophy of Religion" conference at Liverpool Hope University (UK) on June 26 2009.
I argue that Jack Caputo's weak theology is more thoroughly fictionalist than Jamie Smith's Reformed Radical Orthodoxy / catholic postmodernism. Caputo's theology therefore retains more fully the insights from a phenomenology of religion (undecidability of life, contingency of our interpretations of life) than Smith's theology does.

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Making Good on the "Good" of Life: Emerging Logics and Poetics of the Kingdom

  1. 1. Making Good on the “Good” of Life: Emerging Logics and Poetics of the Kingdom Katharine Sarah Moody [email_address]
  2. 2. <ul><li>James K.A. Smith </li></ul><ul><li>Reformed Radical Orthodoxy, or Catholic Postmodernism </li></ul><ul><li>2000, The Fall of Interpretation . </li></ul><ul><li>2002, Speech and Theology . </li></ul><ul><li>2004, Introducing Radical Orthodoxy . </li></ul><ul><li>2006, Whose Afraid of Postmodernism? </li></ul><ul><li>2009, “The Logic of Interpretation.” </li></ul><ul><li>John D. Caputo </li></ul><ul><li>Deconstructive Theology, or Weak Theology </li></ul><ul><li>1997, The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida . </li></ul><ul><li>2001, “What Do I Love When I Love My God?” </li></ul><ul><li>2006, The Weakness of God . </li></ul><ul><li>[2001]2007, On Religion . </li></ul><ul><li>2007, What Would Jesus Deconstruct? </li></ul><ul><li>Smith: The Logics of Determination and Incarnation </li></ul><ul><li>Caputo: Dis/Associating with Christianity </li></ul><ul><li>Fictional Theology </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Logics of Determination and Incarnation <ul><li>The Logic of Determination </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Finite human life is fallen, regrettable. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our (religious) interpretations of life are violent. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The “good life” will never come. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Logic of Incarnation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Finite human life is good... but fallen. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Our (religious) interpretations of life are good but fallen. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The “good life” will , however, come. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Dis/Associating with Christianity <ul><li>Messianic dissociation and Historical association </li></ul><ul><li>Creation narratives </li></ul><ul><ul><li>From being to beyond being, to the good. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>God’s “good.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Life and our (religious) interpretations are affirmed. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Logic of the call > dis/association. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Kingdom parables </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Being a new creation, a way of being otherwise. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making good on God’s “good.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Kingdom (to-)come / (Kingdom) to-come.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Substitutable names name a call, not an origin or a telos . </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Fictional Theology <ul><li>Phenomenology of religion, and theology. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marion reduces phenomenology to theology. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Caputo reduces theology to phenomenology. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Phenomenology of religion: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fictionality. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The status of theology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Smith: from pluralism to out-narration. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Nihilistic meta-metanarrative, interpretation of interp. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Caputo: relative determinacy. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>