The Centre of Theology and Philosophy

University of Nottingham

Eerdmans Publishing and the Centre of Theology and Philosophy (Nottingham) are pleased to announce the formation of a new series entitled INTERVENTIONS, edited by Dr. Conor Cunningham. The Advisory Board is represented by Rowan Williams, Charles Taylor, William Desmond, Mark D. Jordan, Peter van Inwagen, Remi Brague, Sarah Coakley, and Jean-Yves Lacoste.

INTERVENTIONS

It's not a quesiton of whether one believes in God or not.
Rather, it's a question of if, in the absence of God,
we can have belief, any belief...

"If you live today" wrote Flannery O'Connor, "you breathe in nihilism." Whether "religious" or "secular", it is "the very gas you breath." Both within and without the academy, there is an air common to both deconstruction and scientism, which both might be described as species of reductionism. The dominance of thsese modes of knowledge in popular and professional discourse is quite incontestable, perhaps no more so where quesitons of theological import are often subjugated to the margins of intellectual respectability. Yet it is often the case that it is precisely the proponents and defenders of religious belief in an age of nihilism who are among those most--unwittingly or not--complicit in this very reduction. In these latter cases, one frequently spies an accommodationist impulse, whereby our concepts must be first submitted to a prior philosophical court of appeal in order for them to render any intellectual value. To cite one particularly salient example, debates over the origins, nature, and ends of human life are routinely partitioned off into categories of "evolutionism" and "creationism", often with little nuance. Where attempts to mediate these arguments are to be found, frequently the strategy is that of a kind of accommodation: how can we adapt our belief in creation to an already established evolutionary metaphysic or how can we have our evolutionary cake and eat it too? It is sadly the case that, despite the best intentions of such "intellectual ecumenism", the distinctive voice of theology is the first one to succumb to aphony--either from impetuous overuse or from a deliberate silencing.

The books in this unique new series propose no such simple accommodation. They rather seek and perform tactical interventions in such debates in a manner that problematizes the accepted terms of such debates. They propose something altogether more demanding: through a kind of refusal of the disciplinary isolation now standard in modern universities, a genuinely interdisciplinary series of mediations of crucial concepts and key figures in contemporary thought. These volumes will attempt to discuss these topics as they are articulated within their own field, including their historical emergence, and cultural significance, which will provide a way into seeminly abstract discussions. At the same time, they aim to analyze what consequences such thinking may have for theology, both positive and negative, and, in light of these new perspectives, to develop an effective response--one that will better situate students of theology and professional theologians alike within the most vital debates informing Western Society, and so increate their understanding of, participation in, and contribution to these.

To a generation brought up on a diet of deconstruction, on the one hand, and scientism, on the other, INTERVENTIONS offers an alternative that is otherwise than nihilistic--doing so by approaching well-worn questions and topics, as well as historical and contemporary figures from an original and interdisciplinary angle, and so avoid having to steer a course between the aforementioned 'Scylla' and 'Charybdis'.

This series will also seek to navigate not just through these twin dangers, but also through the dangerous "and" which joins them. That is to say, it will attempt to be genuinely interdisciplinary in avoiding the conjunctive approach to such topics that takes as paradigmatic a relationship of "theology and phenomenology" or "religion and science". Instead, the volumes in this series will, in general, attempt to treat such discourses not as discrete displines into themselves, but as moments within a distended theological performance. Above all, they will hopefully contribute to a renewed atmosphere shared by theologians and philosophers (not to mention those in other disciplines)--an air that is not nothing...

 
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