On the social significance of the divinity of speech: From Hegel's anti-dualist metaphysics to speech thinking

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    This paper contrasts the apophatic tradition, which has been reinvigorated by the post-structural emphasis upon 'unsaying,' with the dialogical or speech thinking tradition represented by the Jewish philosopher, Franz Rosenzweig, and his inimical dialogical partner, teacher and friend, Jewish apostate and post-Nietzchean Christian thinker, Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy. I trace the tradition back to Hegel's critique of the dominant metaphysical dualism of his age, while arguing that the key weakness in Hegel's argument is his privileging of reason above speech, and that his contemporary J.G. Hamann's understanding of the role speech in world-making had already supplied the supplement and direction that would be developed by Rosenzweig and Rosenstock-Huessy. I argue that although the apophatic accentuates certain dimensions of our experience that are not insignificant, when those dimensions occlude the sociality of religious practice and narrative, reality becomes mystified, as our more mundane reality, which is the very reality we live and die within, is relegated to something secondary and relatively unimportant, in extreme cases a kind of unreality.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)154-177
    Number of pages24
    JournalCosmos and History
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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