- Series: Routledge Radical Orthodoxy
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Routledge (September 20, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0415276934
- ISBN-13: 978-0415276931
- Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,309,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Genealogy of Nihilism (Routledge Radical Orthodoxy) 0th Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
'This is an audacious work and it is difficult to do justice to the complexity of the argument or the subtlety of the terms invoked. However, this work also sparkles with simplicity ... Overall this is a dazzling performance ... It provides an important addition to the literature on nihilism.' - Marcus Pound, Reviews in Religion and Theology
About the Author
Conor Cunningham is a doctor of theology and teacher of divinity at the University of Cambridge. His previous academic interests have included the study of Law, Social Science and Philosophy, and he was among the original contributors to Radical Orthodoxy: A New Theology (Routledge, 1999).
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Cunningham begins with going back to Plotinus, showing that his theory of the One is very much a pagan one, drawing directly from Hesiod's Theogony which is a pagan myth of the creation of the world. From there he makes moves to Avicenna, Henry of Ghent, William of Ockham, and then, of course, to John Duns Scotus, the first Christian thinker to incorporate Plotinian and Avicennian ideas into his thought. Scotus to Spinoza, to Kant, Hegel, Heidegger, and Derrida.
Contrary to Milbank's Theology & Social Theory, after reading each section I could think to myself, "I understand Scotus," "I understand Spinoza," or "I understand Hegel"; in Milbank's magnum opus, I often found myself lost in his murky language and his assumptions that I've read as much as he has. Cunningham does not fall back on this assumption and provides an overview with the understanding that readers may not have necessarily read each philosopher. He endnotes every section heavily, working through each philospher's thought, re-explaining it, and then each time offering an even further clarifying "in other words" to illuminate each philosopher's thought in light of his thesis of the nothing as something.
In the second half of the book called "The difference of Theology," he provides a final survey of nihilism, showing that it tries to make everything the same, creating an indifference to all difference. In so doing, he shows that modernity can no longer speak meaningfully, especially in the observation that it often cannot see any difference between a holocaust and an ice cream cone. On the other hand, Cunningham shows that theology does not want to get rid of difference but affirm it in love, making a very Trinitarian move.
The final chapter ties everything together beautifully, making two points. The first point is that the meontotheological logic of nihilism's nothing as something is actually very similar to theology's creation ex nihilo. Cunningham admits to stumbling upon this similarity not intentionally. The second point, based upon the first, emphases that as the gift of creation we are to be co-creators with God in the giving and receiving of the Church, we are to find and be love where there is hatred, find form in the formless, and therefore create something where there is nothing. This "co-creation" is not articulated in the sense that God needs us to be his "co-pilot", but in the sense that God is so indescribably loving that God creates (creation and thus humans as a part of that creation) and desires us to participate in that divine gift of love that gives.
This is an absolutely amazing book that is often overlooked in the Radical Orthodoxy series. I highly recommend it.
As Cunningham proceeds with an impressive survey of medieval thought, detailing the Pagan aspects of Plotinus' emanation and moving through accomplished discussions of medieval nominalism in thinkers like Avicenna, Ghent, Scotus, and Ockham, we are treated with an impressive demonstration of nominalism's tendency to render the nothing as something.
However, Cunningham's treatment of early modern thinkers like Spinoza, as well as of 20th century continentalists like Heidegger and Derrida are just rife with confusion. Regarding Spinoza's dual-aspect monism, Cunningham writes that in terms of the aproria [of dualisms of finitude], Spinoza "copes with it by generating the dualism God or Nature; God supplements Nature, while Nature supplements God. But the simultaneous movement between each betrays a monism, in terms of a single substance" (59). I can find no way to think of Spinoza's dualism of God and Nature in terms of a "supplement." Indeed, there is only the single substance, namely God, which is identical to nature. But neither concepts function in terms of a supplement--these distinctions are merely aspectival, not substantive. His analysis therefore suffers as he proceeds to relate Spinoza's monism to what he coins "Pan(A)Theistic Acosmim", a rather dubious term that incorrectly attributes transcendence to nature.
The section on Heidegger is interesting for its discussion on the relation of Celan's poetry to Heidegger, but the analysis still suffers from some flat-footed readings of Heidegger's work. Cunningham's basic reading is predicated on a fundamental mis-identification between Being and the Nothing. Heidegger makes no such identification. As Cunningham writes, "Dasein, in understanding death, can comprehend its own nothingness, and so begin to approach Being in an ontological manner, which means precisely, for Heidegger, to approach Being as nothing. (138) Ontology does not denote understanding Being on the basis of nothing--not in Being and Time, and not in any of the later work. Being as event is the event of co-propriation and the nothing is, if anything, the groundless ground of Being. It is important to follow Heidegger's strange machinery as his ontology captures the ways in which nothingness permeates the beings of the world, and the way in which Dasein's thrown projection discloses its ownmost possibility of no longer being possible.
It is for these reasons Cunningham's excursus into the regions of continental thought is plagued with misinformation. Despite such lapses, his study is valuable indeed for its ambition, its accomplished treatments of nominalism in medieval thought, its fine analysis of Hegel, and its provocative Trinitarian thesis.
Ultimately only useful to people who still have Christian faith. I wouldn't recommend it otherwise.