Title

The aesthetics of nostalgia: The return of the real in postmodern Christian discourse

Date of Award

2003

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Religion

Advisor(s)

James Watts

Keywords

Return of the real, Postmodern, Christian, Paul Griffiths, Wesley Kort, Catherine Pickstock

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Philosophy | Religion

Abstract

This is an examination of the works of three scholars who advocate an academic and cultural return to Christian scripture. Paul Griffiths, Wesley Kort and Catherine Pickstock all claim that the category of scripture is the answer to philosophy's epistemological crisis, exemplified by the tension between realist and anti-realist claims regarding the status of the object of representation. With recourse to the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan, I will make two claims in this dissertation. First I will demonstrate that their works owe a debt to Martin Heidegger's late philosophy, specifically his essay "Origin of the Work of Art," in which he answers the philosophical issue of truth and representation via aesthetics. Second, I will show that the nostalgic narratives of these works suggest that they are symptomatic and work better as aesthetic productions than as academic scholarship, as they seek to make truth claims regarding the ontological status of the referent of scripture.

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