Title

Grammar and glory : Eastern Orthodoxy, the resolute" Wittgenstein, and the theology of Rowan Williams "

Date of Award

2015

Degree Name

Ph.D. in Theology

Department

Department of Religious Studies

Advisor/Chair

Advisor: Silviu N. Bunta

Second Advisor

Advisor: Brad J. Kallenberg

Abstract

This dissertation argues that the cultivation of a non-dual, Christian theological imagination can profitably be resourced by attending to the convergence between the linguistic non-dualism of Wittgensteinian philosophy and the theological-imaginative non-dualism of ancient Jewish and Christian mysticism (subsequently reflected in Eastern Orthodox theology, liturgy and iconography). I frame this convergence using the writings of Rowan Williams, whose engagement with both traditions witnesses to the fruitfulness of their further mutual encounter. First, as a matter of exposition, chapter one contends that Williams's thought has been profoundly influenced by Orthodox theology, particularly in the kenotic personalism" that inflects his Trinitarian theology, pneumatology and theological anthropology. Second, as a matter of interpretation, chapters two through four trace the trajectory of Williams's thought from an overly formal notion of "intentional" union toward a much "thicker" notion of participation animated by his aesthetic reflection and by the fruitful interaction between the "vocabularies" of the divine energies and Thomistic participation. Finally, in a more constructive mode, chapters five through eight pursue a programme of mutually illuminating dialogue between the two non-dualisms, making further connections between the traditions with respect to theology proper, philosophy of language and the cultivation of a liturgical-theological imagination. The dissertation culminates with an examination of Williams's reflections on the Orthodox liturgy, highlighting both the link between liturgy and poetry and the importance for theology of attending to the formation of a "liturgical humanity" capable of inhabiting a posture of "unselfing attention"--a patient attending to what is given--open to an astonished wonder at the world lit by the divine love. On this reading, the "manifest wonder" of the Eucharist distills a spiritual pedagogy in which both the cause and effect are liturgical."

Keywords

Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 1889-1951, Williams, Rowan, 1950-, Orthodox Eastern Church Theology, Theology, Theology, Religion, Biblical Studies, Philosophy, Rowan Williams, Eastern Orthodoxy, Wittgenstein, Gregory Palamas, theophany, essence-energies distinction, Palamite distinction, participation, Stanley Cavell, Cora Diamond, anthropomorphism, secondary sense, resolute reading

Rights Statement

Copyright 2015, author

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