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Updated Up To 18/01/2017
Volume 12, Issue 1 (January 2014) : 1-24
Canonicity, Creativity, and the Unlimited Revelation of Literature

William Franke
Rubric A: History of Humanities
Rubric B: The Classical Canon

Abstract

 

Developing in a specifically religious register a poetic epistemology, this essay argues for rehabilitating revelation as a model of knowing that challenges some of our modern and especially postmodern prejudices against striving to envision truth as a whole. It aligns these results with some of the recent advances in critical theory, for example, by Frederic Jameson, Eric Santner, and Slavoj Zizek, who likewise attempt to break through the confinements of strictly scientific epistemology. Extending the range of such contemporary critiques in directions suggested by Rosenzweig, Benjamin, and Blanchot, the essay exposes the deep roots in canonical and classical humanities tradition of such revisionary thinking of knowledge as finally a form of “revelation.” The kind of wholeness and the ideal of universality embodied in the epic and in humanities knowledge in general appear in a striking new light based not on the concept, with its inevitably exclusionary logic (A versus not-A) but rather on a negative-theological thinking of the not-All which involves, nevertheless, a relatedness to all without restrictions or exclusions.  This thinking-beyond-the-concept is shown to drive the dynamics of imaginative expression striving towards epic wholeness.


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