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In Kierkegaard’s Garden with the Poppy Blooms, a Book Launch Event
February 25 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Drew Theological School is proud to host a virtual book event celebrating the release of In Kierkegaard’s Garden with the Poppy Blooms: Why Derrida Doesn’t Read Kierkegaard When He Reads Kierkegaard by Chris Boesel.
Chris Boesel invites readers into a Kierkegaardian style literary conceit, creating two pseudonymous voices—one philosophical and deconstructive, one theological and confessional—in order to stage an encounter between two commentaries on Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling. On one level, the contest between the two commentaries demonstrates the extent to which an encounter between deconstruction and Kierkegaard has not taken place in the one place everyone thinks it has, in Derrida’s reading of Fear and Trembling in The Gift of Death. On a deeper level, Boesel argues that Derrida’s misreading of Fear and Trembling is both source and symptom of a wider problem: an apophatic blind spot in deconstructive engagements with Christian theology in philosophy of religion and postmodern theology. This blind spot erases the theological and ethical possibilities of what Boesel calls a Kierkegaardian confessional faith, possibilities rooted in a “deconstructive deconstructibility” that produces its own deconstructive-like effects. As a corrective to this blind spot, the encounter between deconstruction and Kierkegaard staged here shows how these effects do the very things heralded by self-proclaimed apophatic remedies of “confessional faith”: disrupt human mastery over God and neighbor while calling for concrete commitments to justice for the widow, orphan, and stranger.
During this special book launch event, a panel of the following fellow colleagues and theologians will respond after an introduction by Chris Boesel:
- Catherine Keller, George T. Cobb Professor of Constructive Theology, Drew Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion
Her publications include Facing Apocalypse: Climate, Democracy, and Other Last Chances; Face of the Deep: A Theology of Becoming; Cloud of the Impossible: Negative Theology and Planetary Entanglement; and Political Theology of the Earth: Our Planetary Emergency and the Struggle for a New Public.
- Jason A. Mahn, Professor of Religion, Director of the Presidential Center for Faith and Learning, and Conrad Bergendoff Professor in the Humanities, Augustana College
His publications include Fortunate Fallibility: Kierkegaard and the Power of Sin; Becoming a Christian in Christendom: Radical Discipleship and the Way of the Cross in America’s “Christian” Culture; and Radical Lutherans/Lutheran Radicals.
- J. Aaron Simmons, Professor of Philosophy, Furman University
His publications include God and the Other: Ethics and Politics After the Theological Turn; Reexamining Deconstruction and Determinate Religion: Toward a Religion with Religion; and; Kierkegaard’s God and the Good Life.
Chris Boesel is Associate Professor of Christian Theology at Drew Theological School and Graduate Division of Religion. His publications include Reading Karl Barth: Theology that Cuts both Ways (forthcoming); Apophatic Bodies: Negative Theology, Incarnation, and Relation; and Risking Proclamation, Respecting Difference: Christian Faith, Imperialistic Discourse, and Abraham.