Challenges in Contemporary Theology. Oxford: Blackwell, The Derridean critique, notoriously, sees orality as implying a fixed and frozen metaphysics of presence and is partly derived from a strong reading of Plato. Philosophy, for Picks- tock, gets into difficulties it cannot get out of unless it accedes to the understand- ing of its own activities implied by the Roman Rite. But this book is no exercise in whimsy; neither is it an attempt to be outre, to shock the intellectual bourgeoisie of the academy for whom, by now, it is a truism but taken still to be true that all philosophy is a kind of writing. It is, instead, a deeply serious work of constructive thought that is, in my judgment, largely successful and that should command the attention of philoso- phers, theologians, and liturgists.
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Catherine Pickstock of Cambridge University is an unusual philosopher: she has an ear for liturgy and, though a member of the Church of England, she has studied and is deeply inspired by the traditional Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. She explains how, with the coming of Christendom, the doxological dimension of antique thought was brought to a fuller realization in early liturgical texts, and thereby shaped the culture and politics of civilization of the pre-modern era.
A Customer on Nov 20, There are some really fantastic elements in this book. But let me tell you first that I am a Catholic associated with the movement to restore the Tridentine Rite, and I can legitimately call myself a Thomist as far as my metaphysics and theology go. And so my criticisms of the work do not flow from a rejection of either of these. But she also seems very comfortable with that sort of discourse and makes little effort to speak to those who are untouched by post-modernist drivel.
Still, it is a very rich and incisive critique of Derrida, the best I have read. Unfortunately, she has some gross misunderstandings of medieval philosophy, in particular Duns Scotus and Thomas Aquinas.
The fact that the two are inseparable in material beings has no bearing on the issue. Wherever there is composition, potency and act must be really distinct. The distinction of matter and form is therefore not a logical one as she claims.
This error is astounding in one who claims to follow Thomas. Her portrayal of Scotus is so flawed that it would take a short book to refute it. But let me get at least to the root of her difficulties, namely the "univocity of being". There is a great danger in learning your Scotism from thomists, because they are so intent on proselytizing Thomas that they rarely make an honest effort to understand alternative formulations.
There is a common myth, no doubt reassuring to these thomists, that the golden age of medieval philosophy ended with the death of Aquinas in Rather than actually argue the philosophical facts, everyone today seems content with telling these rhetorically charged "histories" of philosophy.
They are in fact quite useless. Everyone before Aquinas is his precursor or opponent. Everyone after him represents a deviation and a failure to understand him. There is a rise, a peak in Aquinas, then a progressive decline. It is a lot more complicated than this. He does not thereby deny that being is also predicated analogously!
But Scotus also meant something different by univocity. Univocity is simply that which suffices for a middle term in a syllogism.
It does not have the baggage that Thomists try to foist upon it. And Scotus points out that even those who reject univocal being in fact make constant use of it. Now Aquinas describes several sorts of "analogy". The "analogy of proportion" is the proportion between essence and act-of-being. It is only within created beings, because there is properly speaking no proportion between essence and act-of-being in God, only identity.
This class will later be called the "analogy of attribution. So this kind of analogy reduces to a combination of univocity and equivocity. Scotus simply isolated this univocal aspect, and showed that it is the foundation of quantitative comparisons of beings.
Hence his distinction between the infinite mode of being God and the finite mode of being creatures. Rather than produce these unending mock contests between Scotus and Aquinas, Thomists should spend more time actually reading both philosophers.
She seems far too concerned with the social role of religion, as though Christianity were first and foremost about Christians and only then about Christ. A Catholic certainly cannot accept this distortion. The Reality follows infallibly from the sacramental action of the ministerial priesthood, not from the priesthood of all believers.
So the Real Presence has priority over the Mystical Body. And it is precisely this that was forgotten after Vatican II. It is worth a read, but Catholics need to be wary when she claims to accurately characterize medieval i. Catholic thought.
A treatise of startling intellectual power A Customer on Mar 01, This is a remarkable treatise, and I can do no better than to quote what Latin Mass Magazine Winter had to say: "Dr.
By Robert C. The argument is exceptionally difficult, but I believe Pickstock means to say that since the deconstructive "trace" constantly postpones meaning in a chain-like structure, meaning never actually exists, leaving nothing but "pure" difference. This last jump, however, strikes me as somewhat wishful thinking. To say deconstruction is "nihilistic" is potentially defensible; to insist that such nihilism is somehow logocentric does not follow so clearly.
As Descartes is so frequently identified as the progenitor of all that is wrong with modernity, this critique is less original, though still interesting. Descartes, she argues, only appears to begin from pure epistemology in the cogito; really, such a beginning requires a metaphysics in which the world is mapped out and comprehensible in a simple, propositional way -- a conception of reality Pickstock refers to as "mathesis.
For me, it goes without saying that such a sweeping claim and, really, a sweeping condemnation requires a good deal more careful proof than can be contained in half of a odd page book. Much of this first section goes by breathlessly, assuming that readers will take it almost on faith that for instance Derridean philosophy depends upon Cartesian-style mathesis, a claim that flies in the face of much in Derrida and other prominent spokespeople for "postmodernity.
Marring the section is a perhaps too willing acceptance of 13th century Europe as a liturgically-oriented paradise, only ever contradicted by a half-hearted disclaimer at the very end of the section. Although Pickstock claims later to have no truck with conservatism, her vision of a guild-based feudalism in which, for example, the presence of praying beggars allows for a truly humanized charity not "impersonal" contemporary philanthropy wanders dangerously close to fetishization, and willfully elides the cruelties and depredations of the era.
If I have spent so much time on the deficiencies of this text, it is only because I consider even its weakest sections to be worthy of close attention. The book really begins to shine in the final section, in which Pickstock defends the Roman Rite as the "consummation of philosophy. Her interpretation of the meaning of the eucharist is equally sophisticated.
It is, she argues, the grounds for the possibility of "the sign" itself; when Christ says of what is clearly bread "this is my body," he completely bypasses deixis and leaves us with pure language that is, paradoxically, overflowing with meaning; the meaning is grounded not in "reference" but solely in the overflowing orality of Christ. The section develops what Pickstock saw in Platonism -- a conception of being as gift and excess, in which the world is characterized not by lack but by plenitude, in which being flows as gift from the trinity, and in which all beings including human beings and inanimate nature can participate in the divine being through liturgical orientation.
Throughout the text, Pickstock continues to distinguish herself at every turn from Derrida and deconstruction. Similarly, Derrida has claimed in an interview that the primary philosophical maneuver is not question but affirmation -- again, he seems concerned specifically with exonerating himself from charges of nihilism. As usual, choosing Jacques Derrida as a whipping-boy comes at a high cost But, then again, it is not meant to be for the uneducated mind.
It is a philological answer to modernism and its culture of death. Through the use of language and the traditional Roman Latin rite of the Mass, Ms.
Pickstock shows how those who have brought death to the intellectual world have done so through the misuse of language and philosophy, and how the best and perhaps only answer to that is the life giving structure, language and ritual of the Tridentine Roman Rite of the Mass. Some of it makes absolutely no sense at all. This particular edition is in a Hardcover format. It was published by Wiley-Blackwell and has a total of pages in the book.
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After Writing : On the Liturgical Cosummation of Philosophy
Christian Theology Back cover copy After Writing provides a significant contribution to the growing genre of works which offers a challenge to modern and postmodern accounts of Christianity. Catherine Pickstock shows how Platonic philosophy did not assume a primacy of metaphysical presence, as had previously been thought, but a primacy of liturgical theory and practice. The author also provides a significant rethinking of Christian understandings of language, temporal and bodily life, and notions of the presence of God by discussing the Christian understandings of the liturgical practice, especially in the Medieval and pre-Enlightenment era. This book will be required reading for all systematic and philosophical theologians and their students, besides being of great interest to liturgists, historians and linguists. The ideas presented in the book are both significant in themselves and of great use at a teaching level. Spatialization: The Middle of Modernity. Signs of Death.
The application of linguistics to theories of religious language, analogy and liturgy, with a consideration of the implications of this interaction for linguistics itself A critical consideration of postmodern philosophy in relation to the re-interpretation of premodern theology A reconsideration of the Platonic tradition in interaction with the Biblically based faiths, in particular the question of theurgy and understandings of the soul Research Interests My research is concerned with the relationship between theology and philosophy, and of both to language, poetics and the history of ideas. In After Writing and later articles, I apply modern linguistics to theories of religious language, analogy and liturgy, and consider the implications of this for the relation of language to reality. Repetition and Identity engages with literature and aesthetic theory to problematize the distinction between hermeneutics and metaphysics, arguing that the aporias arising from the necessity of repetition to constitute identity can be resolved theologically. PhD supervision I supervise graduates across a wide range of areas in philosophical theology, ancient and mediaeval philosophy especially Plato, Aquinas and Duns Scotus , postmodern and critical theory from Kierkegaard to Deleuze.
After Writing: On the Liturgical Cosummation of Philosophy / Edition 1
After Writing provides a significant contribution to the growing genre of works which offers a challenge to modern and postmodern accounts of Christianity. From the Back Cover: After Writing provides a significant contribution to the growing genre of works which offers a challenge to modern and postmodern accounts of Christianity. Catherine Pickstock shows how Platonic philosophy did not assume a primacy of metaphysical presence, as had previously been thought, but a primacy of liturgical theory and practice. The author also provides a significant rethinking of Christian understandings of language, temporal and bodily life, and notions of the presence of God by discussing the Christian understandings of the liturgical practice, especially in the Medieval and pre-Enlightenment era. This book will be required reading for all systematic and philosophical theologians and their students, besides being of great interest to liturgists, historians and linguists.