Reading on the First Day of the New Year

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I’ve been sick (thanks to my nephew), so the last two days have afforded me quite a lot of time to read. I began (as promised) trekking through Church Dogmatics. I hope to produce a post per week on CD. I can already tell Karl and I will be disagreeing a bit when it comes to theology, but I know I have much to learn. Side note: why is that when they translate a work from German to English, they don’t likewise translate Latin to English (sorry but I’ve yet to memorize pages of Augustine in Latin)?

On a happier note, I’m finally making my way through Difference and Repetition. I failed the first time this summer, but I’ve done quite a bit of preparing (along with the help of Caputo’s audio lectures) to engage the text. The work is quite maddening. Deleuze takes you on a trip from differential calculus to modern art to Duns Scotus’ theology all in a span of a couple of pages. However, this work is so much fun. Although, it’s dense and complex it somehow manages to be joyful and exciting. I really enjoy the historicization of his ontology of immanence. He traces his metaphysics from Scotus to Spinoza and finally to Nietzsche. Deleuze is trying to map out his philosophy of difference and repetition that overthrows the shackles of identity and representation. He wants to re-conceive of difference as primary not secondary to identity. For instance, Deleuze says, “difference is behind everything, but behind difference there is nothing”. “Re-petition opposes re-presentation: the prefix changes its meaning, since in the one case difference is said only in relation to the identical, while in the other it is the univocal which said of the different.” (Difference and Repetition, 57). I’m sure I’ll be back with more especially when he discusses Freud’s death drive and its relationship to repetition and repression.

Interesting side note: Caputo has audio files for his two last classes at Syracuse: http://religion.syr.edu/caputo.html. He taught a class on Husserl and Merleau-Ponty and one on radical theology. The radical theology course attempted to situate the debate between Zizek and Milbank in the Monstrosity of Christ by studying Hegel’s Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion followed by a study of Tillich, Altizer, and Eckhart. Finally, he completed the course by presenting the different readings of Christianity from both an orthodox and atheistic perspective. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be interesting to listen to especially considering Caputo’s different take on philosophy and theology. Here’s his extended (and I’ll add generous review given the cheap shots Milbank and Zizek are both prone to take at deconstruction) review of the Monstrosity of Christ: http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=17605. It’s interesting to see Caputo moving towards studying Deleuze later on in his career, and he starts sounding like a process theologian at the end of the review (a la Catherine Keller).

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One Response to “Reading on the First Day of the New Year”

  1. Halden Says:

    The new student edition has the Latin and Greek translated in footnotes. Quite nice.

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