Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 03 April 2020

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.

Keywords: theology, convention, philosophy, Hamann, truth, grammar, God

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.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.