[NB - THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS - draft]
Set loose by the “theological turn” in French Phenomenology, as if thrown from a speeding vehicle on a radical curve in the road, the genealogical trajectory of a hermeneutical theopoetics that approaches the textuality of the text within the framework of a marginalized, circumscribed pathos—a non-rational, poetic voice that disrupts, overrides and surpasses the deductive, positivist designs of any dominating logos—can be found in a nascent, perhaps propaedeutic form in Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology. Husserl’s failed transcendental assault on the citadel of apodicticity was taken up and advanced in the existential analytic of dasein and the later poetic work of Martin Heidegger, (where the poetic nature of language is first advanced as an originary hermeneutics). Heidegger’s existential phenomenology was carried forward grudgingly and surpassed in the originary phenomenological ethics of Emmanuel Levinas. It is with Levinas that the poetic alterity of the Otherwise-than-being reaches inexorably toward ‘expressing the inexpressible’ event of God-in-the-world [note Caputo] in the language of an originary, proto-theopoetics. An explicit framing of “theopoetics” is first deployed in the decontructionist hermeneutics of John Caputo’s recent work. Although Caputo takes phenomenological theology to new and daring levels in the “softer, gentler” radicality of the “weak” approach to the text he proposes, the theopoetics he launches as an alternative to metaphysics gets caught up in its own deconstructive abandon that constrains his analysis from digging down into the deepest, somewhat ‘messy’, bodily roots of the poetic.
Caputo’s theopoetics is sifted through Derrida’s deconstructionist program with the aim of disrupting classical theology and running interference for a supposed vulnerability of the divine in the world—not a task that is well-suited to poetry. As a result, Caputo’s rendering of theopoetics as the backbone of his “weak theology” does not fully incorporate its most radical embodiment of actualizing or operationalizing concretely a personal, affective, and spiritual therapeiain the service of a radical personal transformation, a metanoia of the theo-poet which alone would allow God an opening into the personal world of the theopoet. In Caputo’s modeling, theopoetics remains a sophisticated hermeneutical gesture of linguistic analysis and to that extent is innovative and helpful, but incomplete. It gets stuck at the level of an abstract intuitive methodology or epistemic way of dealing with the text safely at arm’s length and devoid of personal commitment, not unlike the very approach of the classical theology that Caputo wishes to disrupt.
ON BECOMING IMMORTAL
"Engaging with wonder, opening yourself to it, allowing the otherwise of wonder to engage you…that is the beginning of the philosophical way of life that you will find revealed in these few pages. It is the first practice: renunciation and letting go, the wrenching free from conventional attitudes, prejudices, biases, fears, and prejudgments—a 'Diogenes moment'—and a taking up of the reflective, phenomenologically reduced philosophical-poetic attitude that you will find unveiled in these pages. The philosophical-poetic attitude is the welcome mat at the front door of the Way of the Seer...."