Silence against science

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Penner, David
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This work explores the idea of silence disinterest as fundamental to Christian religious practice. It argues that there is a tradition within Christian philosophy which posits this procedure. I show this tradition to suggest that the mysterious (and central) elements of the Christian religion, including its concepts of God, love, the will, goodness, and fear, have been threatened by principles of understanding which are tied to an Enlightenment epistemology and the reflections of selves connected to politicized contexts. While this reason possesses a crucial role in the religious life of the subject, its primary purpose is negative. My thesis considers these themes through a reading of Augustine's view of contemplation as distinct from rationality in ' On the Trinity' and 'The Confessions'; Kierkegaard's complicated and ironic view of faith, silence, love and the problem of authorship in 'Fear and Trembling'; Heidegger's conception of the nothing in his essay "What Is Metaphysics?"; and Eckhart's view that disinterest is the foremost Christian virtue. The main discovery of the thesis relates to my theory of the "one choice" that, in the Biblical story, Mary makes and Martha does not. This "one choice" is made for that which is non-contextual but does so, necessarily, from the perspective of a context. It is my view that this understanding of "one choice" permeates all non-rationalistic philosophy and is at the heart of what can be understood in terms of a disinterested Christianity and how this religious view begins to respond to issues of ethics and community.