Postmodernity and Univocity

Postmodernity and Univocity: A Critical Account of Radical Orthodoxy and John Duns Scotus

Daniel P. Horan
Copyright Date: 2014
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  • Book Info
    Postmodernity and Univocity
    Book Description:

    Nearly twenty-five years ago, John Milbank inaugurated Radical Orthodoxy, one of the most significant and influential theological movements of the last two decades. In Milbank’s Theology and Social Theory, he constructed a sweeping theological genealogy of the origins of modernity and the emergence of the secular, counterposed by a robust retrieval of traditional orthodoxy as the critical philosophical and theological mode of being in the postmodern world. That genealogy turns upon a critical point—the work of John Duns Scotus as the starting point of modernity and progenitor of a raft of philosophical and theological ills that have prevailed since. Milbank’s account has been disseminated proliferously through Radical Orthodoxy and even beyond and is largely uncontested in contemporary theology. The present volume conducts a comprehensive examination and critical analysis of Radical Orthodoxy’s use and interpretation of John Duns Scotus. Daniel P. Horan, OFM, offers a substantial challenge to the narrative of Radical Orthodoxy’s idiosyncratic take on Scotus and his role in ushering in the philosophical age of the modern. This volume not only corrects the received account of Scotus but opens a constructive way forward toward a positive assessment and appropriation of Scotus’s work for contemporary theology.

    eISBN: 978-1-4514-6965-3
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Introduction: The Return to the Narrative
    (pp. 1-14)

    Since the early 1990s, a new theological movement has captured the attention of scholars and students. This new school of theology was founded—at least incipiently—by John Milbank, and its motto is contained in the claim, “Once there was no ‘secular,’” which graces the earliest pages of his now-classic bookTheology and Social Theory.¹ In some sense,Theology and Social Theoryserves as a manifesto of the nascent movement that first found its momentum at the Divinity School of the University of Cambridge. Soon Milbank was joined by former graduate students and colleagues who would bolster his early vision...

  5. 1 Radical Orthodoxy’s Use of John Duns Scotus
    (pp. 15-58)

    The establishment of an explicit genealogy that traces modernity, and, subsequently, the concept of nihilism as substantialres, back to John Duns Scotus (d. 1308) occurred through an evolutionary process. In recent history, this genealogy finds its advent in the seminal work of John Milbank, and it is upon the foundation of his work that others have constructed edifices built on the narrative of Scotus astheprotomodern antagonist. Displacing the early modern Enlightenment thinkers, Scotus serves as the inaugurator of all that is ill with modernity. While Milbank is correct in pointing to the existence of scholarly opinions prior...

  6. 2 The Reach of Radical Orthodoxy’s Influence
    (pp. 59-96)

    One of the more interesting aspects of Radical Orthodoxy’s interpretation of John Duns Scotus has been the unexpected and at times unattributed influence that it has had on so many other thinkers and their projects, particularly in the English-speaking world. Whereas one might naturally anticipate that some academic theologians would appropriate the thought of their Radical Orthodoxy colleagues, what is surprising is the way in which the Scotus Story has made its way into the work of historians, philosophers, and popular religious writers beyond the confines of the academic theological guild. As early as ten years after the launch of...

  7. 3 Major Critiques and Analysis of Radical Orthodoxy’s Use of Scotus
    (pp. 97-156)

    In the previous two chapters, we explored the genesis and subsequent development of what I have termed the Scotus Story in Radical Orthodoxy and beyond. Tracing the scripting of the Scotus as protomodern antagonist narrative, we came to see the increasing degree of influence and ubiquity the story has gained. Through the work of John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock, and others, many contemporary theologians have adopted the Scotus Story. As we saw in chapter 2, this influential narrative has gone largely unquestioned and unanalyzed, especially by those who have adopted it in their own work. There exists little opposition to the...

  8. 4 Toward A Correct Reading of Scotus’s Univocity
    (pp. 157-188)

    Having examined the arguments put forward by the Radical Orthodox theologians in chapter 1, the ways in which the Scotus Story has been appropriated in chapter 2, and the critiques of that reading of John Duns Scotus in chapter 3, it is necessary for us to explore the doctrine of univocity as Scotus himself presents it. Following the substantial critique leveled against the Radical Orthodoxy reading and subsequent interpretation of this theory of univocity, it is important to present a reading of the subtle doctor’s work that provides a more accurate account of Scotus’s position in contrast to the Radical...

  9. Conclusion: Reclaiming Scotus The Possibility of a Postmodern Theology
    (pp. 189-194)

    Radical Orthodox theologians have affirmed the place of narrative in contemporary theological reflection and discourse, along with its significance for accurately conceptualizing the development of the history of theology. Theology, that istheo-logos, cannot be separated from the telling of stories, which is an axiom that I believe has been reaffirmed in the preceding chapters, and remains a principle of Radical Orthodoxy to which I am deeply sympathetic. However, there is a problem here. It is not whether or not one engages in a narrative mode to explore and express deeper insights about God and creation, but the problem concerns...

  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 195-210)
  11. Index
    (pp. 211-219)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 220-220)