- List of Contributors
- The Self and the Good Life
- Nationalism and Patriotism
- The Making of the Modern Metropolis
- The Other
- Freedom and Human Emancipation
- Work and Labour
- Suffering In Theology and Modern European Thought
- Nihilism and Theology: Who Stands at the Door?
- War and Peace
- Radical Philosophy and Political Theology
- Beauty and Sublimity
- Time and History
- The Metaphysics of Modernity
- The Bible
- Divine Providence
Abstract and Keywords
The notion of language as both a theological mediation and an arbitrary convention has continued to haunt, fascinate, and complicate the divide between theology and philosophy in the past two hundred years. This chapter, which traces some of the most important developments in this complex history, examines how language became a focal point for much philosophy from the eighteenth century. The mediation of language begins to appear, not as a secondary detour from an original truth, but as a formative and deformative power in its own right. At the same time, through Hamann and others, the need for language to ‘incarnate’ truth still carries with it a theological resonance. The chapter draws upon hermeneutical, structuralist, and poststructuralist thinking to show that language is always referring us to an otherness which escapes total thematic formulation, in a way that holds both promise and threat for theological projects of naming God. Finally, it examines how language (particularly as grammar and ‘language game’) continues to play a key role in contemporary debates about the meaning and reference of talk about God.
Steven Shakespeare is Lecturer in Philosophy at Liverpool Hope University. He is a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics and co-facilitates the Association for Continental Philosophy of Religion. His published work includes Kierkegaard, Language and the Reality of God (Ashgate, 2001); Radical Orthodoxy: A Critical Introduction (SPCK, 2007); Derrida and Theology (T & T Clark, 2009); and (co-edited with Claire Molloy and Charlie Blake) Beyond Human: From Animality to Transhumanism (Continuum, 2012).
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.