Thursday, June 21, 2007

...and taking names (1)

A good friend of mine in the homiletics doctoral program at Vanderbilt has some fondness for Jamie Smith's work. In fact, a cadre of the Vanderbilt graduate students in religion apparently nicknamed him "Kick Ass" after his official literary moniker: James K(ick). A(ss). Smith.

I confess that I, too, enjoy Smith's work. Well...some of it. Speech and Theology is an exquisite little book, for instance. The subtitle is inspired: Language and the Logic of the Incarnation. Smith's central focus is the philosophical possibility of theology, of speaking about God. The question he presents is how it is possible to speak about that which resists language. Since concepts are inadequate to the transcendent thing (they are not the thing signified by the concept),“what we are looking for is a ‘third way,’ a mode of speaking which is non-conceptual, non-objectifying, and non-predicative—and therefore non-reductive and non-violent. It will be what we might describe as ‘praise’ (Augustine, Marion) or ‘de-nomination’ (Marion), ‘prayer’ (Derrida), or Augustine’s strategy of ‘confession.’ (44)” In fact, language functions incarnationally, to incarnate the signified in the sign. This is similar to Marion's idea of the icon. In incarnational logic, the transcendent appears in the immanent and yet remains transcendent.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New posts

Although I appear to have fallen off the face of the planet, I assure you I have not. For one thing, the planet is not flat, and gravity prevents us from ascending off of the sphere. But if you need more assurance, you can find a little taste of my work on the Karl Barth Blog Conference going on over at Der Evangelishe Theologe. Travis has graciously published a somewhat smarmy account of F. C. Baur I wrote and should be posting a small piece on D. F. Strauss in the very near future.

For other topics you must wait. I have three or four posts lined up in my drafts folder, but so far none are ready to post. My computer is all gummed up currently, so I use it sparingly. But summer should be an ideal time to get some thoughts out there for my critics to use as future blackmail.

In the meantime, check out the Barth Blog Conference and stay tuned here for future posts on such topics as the theological endeavors of James K. A. Smith, Drama and theology, and apostolic succession.