Divine Enjoyment: A Theology of Passion and Exuberance

Divine Enjoyment: A Theology of Passion and Exuberance

Elaine Padilla
Copyright Date: 2015
Published by: Fordham University Press
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Divine Enjoyment: A Theology of Passion and Exuberance
    Book Description:

    This book's theological and philosophical construction of a God of enjoyment poetically remaps divine love. Posing a critique to the Aristotelian unmoved mover whose intellective enjoyment is self-enclosed, this book's affective tones depict a passionate God who intermingles with the cosmos to suffer and yearn out of love even improper love. Divine Enjoyment leads the reader to a path of excess, first in the form of an intellective appetite that for Aquinas places God beyond the divine self, then more erotically in the silhouette of a lover whose love is like the delectable pain of mystics. Culminating with banqueting, fiesta, and carnival, the book deterritorializes God's affect, conceiving of an expansively hospitable enjoyment stemming from many life forms With a renewed welcome for pleasure, the book also upholds a disruptive ethic. Ultimately, an immoderate God of love whose passionate enjoyment stems from the sufferings as well as joys of the cosmos offers another paradigm of lovingly enjoying oneself in relationship with passionate becomings that belong to many others.

    eISBN: 978-0-8232-6360-8
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-11)

    Happiness. Enjoyment. Our time equates these terms with selfishness, self-indulgence, luxury, bliss, and decadence. Owning and possessing as much as one can, or securing one’s place in the world, has come to define the meaning of happiness. One can sympathize with the apostle Paul, whose warning to the Galatians to abstain from “frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness” is set amid his other warnings against “cutthroat competition,” “all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants,” “small-minded and lopsided pursuits,” “the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival,” and “ugly parodies of community” (Gal. 5:19–21,The Message).² To think of God as having enjoyment can...

  5. ONE Pain: Groans and Birth Pangs of the Divine Enjoyment
    (pp. 12-44)

    What foolishness is the foundation of Christian thought—a God who endured the cross! The centuries-old debate about divineapatheia—the absence of passion—yields an alternative model of divine love to the classical theistic view of impassibility. For how could a God of love, whose out-stretched arms on the cross offer eloquent testimony to the divine yearning, be incapable of receiving passion from the cosmos? To posit divine love for that which is other than God is consequently to raise a question about the passion of God. Being mindful of those on the underside of history, Christian authors such...

  6. TWO Yearning: Traces of the Divine Erotic Existence in the Cosmos
    (pp. 45-85)

    The theological affirmations that God is love and that God loves the world, as noted in Chapter 1, are axiomatic for Christian theology. One can hardly turn anywhere in Christianity without encountering expressions to this effect. Sadly, the overwhelming witness to this tradition likewise emphasizes forms of love that are nonreciprocal or nonresponsive. Furthermore, God exercises a “pure” love in the form of agape or charity, not an erotic love, for an erotic love would mean that God desires something that God needs not (pure superfluousness). Anders Nygren, for example, in considering divine love as agape, juxtaposes God and eros,...

  7. THREE Permeability: The Open Wounds of the Lovers’ Flesh
    (pp. 86-120)

    “Come, my lover,” says the Song of Songs, the biblical book that since antiquity has permitted its readers to evoke God as a lover. The vivid imagery of the lover God that it offers continues to be an invitation to explore the meaning of divine love in contemporary contexts. Moreover, the invitation is for an intimate nearness, the arousal of the lovers “under the tree” (Songs 8:5), perhaps of an intimate communion between God and the created order. New dimensions of divine intimacy become more self-evident, for in the embrace, lovers interpenetrate one another. New theological insights into the meaning...

  8. FOUR Intensity: Passionate Becomings of the Divine Complex
    (pp. 121-158)

    A God of enjoyment, one must imagine, experiences movement as the passage of oneself into another, the kind of “cosmic copulation” that Ernesto Cardenal’s poetry implies. We can think of the language of seduction, of ourselves being wooed into the deepestbowelsof the divine lover, and enticed to conceive of God as the very love that is incarnated in this kind of movement. Lovers in bed copulate and enact some form of passage from one self to the other. As they unite in love, they enact an expression of the divine lovemaking.² But how can we speak of the...

  9. FIVE Impropriety: Incarnations of Carnivalesque Passion and Open-Ended Boundaries
    (pp. 159-200)

    The idea of a divine lover who suffers with the cosmos in yearning to be in an intimate relationship with it, and whose flesh is porous and welcomes the cosmos into the divine khoricbowelsso that both God and world can live intensely, that is, passionately, seems to locate the divine relationship with the cosmos quite out of its proper order. This trope of impropriety has been unfolding all along in ever-increasing spirals that culminate in this chapter, only to spiral one more time into the future, with a heightened, if not hyperbolic, cosmic celebration of the immodest type....

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 201-264)
    (pp. 265-276)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 277-286)