Senior Fellow: June–July 2018 and June–July 2019
Research Project: The Community of the Question: Negative Theology in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Thought
Aryeh Botwinick is working on a two-volume work entitled The Community of the Question: Negative Theology in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Thought. The book will consist of discussions of a wide range of texts and thinkers from the Hebrew Bible to Maimonides, Nahmanides, Ibn Ezra, Hasdai Crescas, Judah Halevi, Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Hobbes, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Emmanuel Levinas, Joseph Soloveitchik, Giorgio Agamben, and Jacques Derrida, and a comparative assessment of the role of negative theology in Christian and Islamic thought through an examination of writings by St. Paul, St. Anselm of Canterbury, Meister Eckhart, and Nicholas of Cusa, as well as the Qu’ran and Avicenna.
The Community of the Question will attempt, through an examination of these sources, to trace how the most significant theoretical result of negative theology – just as in many respects the most significant theoretical result of scepticism itself – is to expose the limitations of reason preoccupied with exposing the limitations of reason, and to establish the lineaments of a way of life that is post-rational. In the case of negative theology, this means clearing the ground for the emergence and flourishing of mysticism.
Aryeh Botwinick is professor of political science and Jewish studies at Temple University, Philadelphia/USA.