A Metaphysics of Patmos

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God . . . All things were made through him and without him was nothing . . . and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness grasped it not . . . and the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us . . . he came among his own, and his own received him not. But to as many as received him he gave the power of becoming sons of God; to those who believed in his name . . . No one has at any time seen God. The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has revealed him.
—John 1:1-18, order slightly amended

These words of the Prologue of St. John contain, in embryo, the entire metaphysical depth and apocalyptic breath of the visionary fleshed story of the Christian drama of creation, fall, Incarnation, and redemption. The Prologue, I would argue, is the analogatum princeps of any robust Christian metaphysics. These words of the beginning are reflective utterances—witnessing rays of the Word—ever-ringing forth as the future of Christian thinking within the apocalyptic drama of history, that imitative interplay of created and uncreated freedom and desire. For the God spoken of here is the same God before whom the four living creatures of the Book of Revelation cry out the trisagion, the metaphysico-liturgical spilling forth of praise before the God, “Who was, and who is, and who is coming” (Rev 4:8).

This goes deeper than a mere “metaphysics of Exodus,” for the author of the Prologue is one in spirit with the seer of Patmos. And I am proposing what I will nominate a “Metaphysics of Patmos,” a yoking of creation and apocalypse; a metaphysical mindfulness which binds the Prologue to the apocalyptic Epilogue. Here, to think the beginning is to think the end, and to think the end is to think the beginning. Archeology and eschatology exist within an analogy of discourses because they meet in the middle of the already-and-not-yet, within a metaxology measured through the Word made flesh. Christ is the concrete analogia entis, the center point and turning of history, the metaphysical meeting place or commercium between the created and uncreated. The creative Word is made flesh, for he has entered into the umbrous world of the tangled-tongues of humanity’s perverse and violent desire.[1]

My contention is that the future of Christian thinking lies in a “Metaphysics of Patmos,” which is symbolic shorthand for a Christian philosophy of history, calibrated by the analogia entis apocalyptically recast and unfolded in its incarnate and desirously mimetic dimensions. This is what will be programmatically and synoptically elaborated here. This style of metaphysics seeks to trace the imitative contours of an analogically Christocentric drama situated within the violent concrete annals of created desire’s history of transvaluation. It concerns the drama of desire and the creaturely quest for deification in both the truth of its cruciformity, and the lie of inverted self-coronation.

This metaphysics only exists as—imitatio Christi! It moves from metaphysical vision to flesh and blood in an incarnated mimetic practice and performance of creaturely desire in response to Triune love revealed upon the Cross. Yes—today—Christian metaphysics must glow within an apocalyptic light and breathe forth the Wisdom and spirit of Patmos in imitative Christic desire. 

On Task and Style

The overarching question of a “Metaphysics of Patmos,” is the following: How do we reactivate Christian metaphysical glory after its eclipse in modernity and its submersion and dispersion in postmodernity? How is Christian metaphysical glory to return, on this far side of history, within our vesperal diminishing, which is simultaneously a time of radical “intensification” (Balthasar) and “escalation” (Girard)?

There are deep prophetic portents within the narratives, meta or otherwise, which herald apocalyptic ends. From the Hegelian end of history in the immanent beatific vision of Absolute Concept, to Nietzsche’s chilling cry of the madman and humanity’s attempt “to drink up the sea” in the event of the “death of God,” to Heidegger’s gathering of all of Occidental history into his meta-myth of being’s apocalyptic withdrawal, to the Kojève/Bataille debate on the meaning of the end of history, to Levinas’s almost Hebrew Bible prophetic assault on the violence of Western metaphysics, to Derrida’s proclamation that philosophy has always already been living off its own death, to Deleuze’s “apocalyptic book” written in “the third time in the series of times,” to name some of the prominent motifs with which the inescapable “apocalyptic tone” (Derrida) of continental philosophy reverberates.[2]

Any Christian style of thought which ignores these apocalyptic events of thinking as hyperbolically rhetorical—or poetically continental and thus incomprehensible—fails to read the writing on the moving wall of history’s diminishing intensification. Christian thinking must read the “signs of the times” and confront these events of closure. What I am not suggesting is that we read Christian thought as determined by these events à la Marion and his epigones. What I am suggesting is that these events be mapped within a decidedly Christian philosophy of history analogically and apocalyptically calibrated, thereby reading these events from the priority of the victory of the Lamb slain. To hold this decidedly Christian interpretation of history is to see-with St. John, St. Irenaeus, the late Solovyov, Bulgakov, Przywara, Peterson, Ulrich, von Balthasar, Pieper, and Girard that the ultimate meaning of history, and our horizon of metaphysical interpretation, lies within the victory of the Mysterium Crucis over and against the mysterium iniquitatis.

If this is to be done, we must take serious von Balthasar’s claim that the time of the “epic” medieval summa has long passed, as has the “lyric” styles of spiritual treatises.[3] A “metaphysics of Patmos” is a Christian style that seeks to non-identically repeat past figurations of Christian metaphysical glory. It resources the magisterial Christian metaphysical tradition in the spirit of the Alexandrians: vetus in novo patet, novum in vetere latet [The New Testament is hidden in the Old, the Old is made clear by the New], in view of events of closure and their metaleptic rewriting of the Christian story. A rewriting on full display in the powerful visionary triumvirate of the Hegelian, Nietzschean, and Heideggerian narratives. These narratives are what Henri de Lubac rightly calls forms of “immanent mysticism.” And they hold (implicitly or explicitly matters little) the Comtean conviction that if Christianity is to be fully destroyed then it must be positively replaced. The spoils of the Egyptians have been reversed and the coffers of Christian mystery plundered. Before such counterfeits, Christian discourse must marshal its pleromatic visionary truth and potential. Here syllogisms, logical proofs, and univocal games are but clanging cymbals.

From this vantage, a “Metaphysics of Patmos” shares the concern of Klaus Hemmerle that we must seek a new thinking of being from a radically Christian perspective. In keeping with this concern, a “Metaphysics of Patmos” does not seek to be a “translating” or argumentative style but a style of “witnessing,” a performance and practice of Christic desire.[4] This approach is less Thomistic, and more Pascalian, Bonaventurian, Augustinian, and Pauline, but at its deepest it is Johannine. This style further shares an elective affinity with pleromatic apocalyptic styles of theology in their reliance upon the apocalypsis of Christian vision. I will return to this below.

Furthermore, this style resonates with the rhetorical and aesthetic turn in Christian discourse as emphasis is placed on persuasive performance, not argumentation. But if the emphasis of more aesthetic styles is on beauty’s power to persuade, then a “Metaphysics of Patmos” stresses the persuasive practice of imitation which sees the future viability of Christian metaphysics consisting in being a new manner of seeing and participation in the world.

Christian metaphysics is a spiritual practice that exists within the passing temptations of the “lust of the flesh,” “lust of the eyes,” and the “pride of life” (1 John 2:16). It only exists within the violence of the flesh and blood horizon of concrete human relations. Here, Christian sanctity, conversion, and continual re-conversion from violence is key. To cite Michel Serres, sanctity “is a supernatural genealogy of truth that modernity never suspects; we speak the truth only in loving innocently; we discover, we produce nothing except through becoming holy.”[5] A “Metaphysics of Patmos” lives by this Christian truth. In the nebulous horizon of the future of Christian thinking, a “Metaphysics of Patmos” is a style where imitative Christic desire alone is credible, to echo Balthasar.

Rules of Operation

A “Metaphysics of Patmos” is radically de-absolutized and non-foundational in two intertwined senses. First, it is a creaturely metaphysics. Its existence is spoken forth, ex nihilo, from the Word’s creative love, for “without him nothing has been made.” As creaturely, it is grounded in the non-ground of the analogia entis, understood as the metaphysical expression of the Christian dogma of creation. The analogia entis is shorthand for the metaphysical tradition of Christianity that has baptized a metaphysics of participation in the Pentecostal fire of the ex nihilo. With the dogma of creation, the philosopher’s understanding of being is transubstantiated from substance to analogical relationality. A radical analogization occurs that forever de-substanializes, decategorizes, de-essentializes, and de-absolutizes being.

This move assures the metaphysical distinctness and distance between God and world. Yet, this difference is not one of aloof indifference. Rather, this distance of creation is the condition of exchange between God and creation. Here, God’s presence shimmers in the between of creation as its in-and-beyond. Creation is an iconic expression of God’s creative and loving glory, which is revealed especially in the creature’s secondary causality and thus its ability to pass on the good. Creation is God’s first primeval revelation. Here, created being and especially the being of our humanity is understood as dynamic relation and gift. This is the formal object of a “creaturely” analogical metaphysics in its non-foundation.

But insofar as a “Metaphysics of Patmos” is an apocalyptic recasting of the analogia entis, it is always already an analogia libertatis. Its formal object is a concentrated reductio into the mysterium of the creature’s free acceptance or rejection of being-as-gift. The first non-foundational sense of a “Metaphysics of Patmos” is always dramatized because our created being only exists in the one concrete trans-natural order of sin and grace. As Przywara says: “the properly Christian perspective has the final word: for there is only one concrete order between God and creature in this concretely existing world: the order between original sin in Adam and redemption in Christ, the crucified.”[6] Philosophy only exists within the converted rays of the Mysterium Crucis or within the tragic and continuous birthing of the mysterium iniquitatis. Philosophy exists either under the ensign of the fiat or under the ensign of the non serviam.

This is why John’s Prologue transitions so quickly from the Word’s creative utterance to the drama of humanity’s darkness of refusal. A “Metaphysics of Patmos” holds, with Erik Peterson that Christ’s revelation abolishes epistemological and metaphysical neutrality.[7] It is a final theologically inclined and informed style of metaphysics whose formal object of created being is always already recast apocalyptically from the dramatic final supernatural end of the creature. This is its twined twofold sense of non-foundation. Within this apocalyptic recasting of the analogia entis, metaphysics—post Christum natum—only is as response to the actuality of Christian revelation. The dramatized formal object of a “Metaphysics of Patmos” can only be measured against the death of the fleshed creative Word upon the Cross.

On a discursive level, a “Metaphysics of Patmos” is a discourse of discourses in keeping with its non-foundational swerve. It exists in an analogy of discourses in a suspended middle with styles of pleromatic apocalyptic theology. The formal object of these styles of apocalyptic theology is the self-uttering of the Triune God’s intention towards the world, read from the vantage of the final victory of the Lamb slain. Within these styles of apocalyptic theology the Book of Revelation is privileged and interpreted as the analogatum princeps of Christian apocalyptic. In this approach, Christianity must not be seen as a religion of revelation. Rather, to foreground one’s theological style as apocalyptic is to hold that the very essence of Christianity is apocalyptic. Christianity is the apocalypsis of Triune love revealed through Christ, the only Son of the Father, through the Holy Spirit.

This approach is thoroughly Johannine. A “Metaphysics of Patmos” concerns the creaturely side of this drama, where history is the apocalyptic opening of created human freedom towards the Triune God of creation and redemption; while apocalyptic theology concerns the self-uttering of the Triune intention towards the world, as the backdrop of the whole of history. These two apocalyptic discourses exist, in an analogy of discourses, and are together expressive of the very drama of creation and redemptive recreation, understood as the interaction of creative and uncreated freedom. The analogia entis recast apocalyptically as an analogia libertatis.  

Nevertheless, metaphysics never ceases to be metaphysics because grace presupposes and perfects being. And, as Ulrich states, “grace arrives along the path of being.” But being’s mystery is seen from the alpha-point of its creation viewed from its apocalyptic omega-point. Here metaphysics lives wholly within the double glory of creation and recreation, the Prologue and Epilogue centered on Christ the concrete analogia entis. Metaphysics, as creaturely and analogical, only finds itself in losing itself in relation to the crucified Word. Here its glory is conversion, where its power resides in weakness. The only breath of metaphysics is found in inspiration as a spiration of imitative giving thanks. Metaphysics is doubly de-absolutized, relativized before the creative Word’s death on the Cross. Metaphysics functions, in imitation of its creatureliness, only in relation to the anterior call of the Christian God and the double glory of creation and re-creation.

This approach does not deny the formal possibility of natural theology, but it suspends it as inconsequential to the dramatic formal object of the finality of the creature’s response to being-as-gift measured against the Cross. It accepts Przywara’s gloss on Romans 1:21 “they, knowing God . . . exchanged the glory of the changeless God for an image made in the likeness of changeable man.”[8] Paul seems to imply that one can arrive at a formal concept of God as the ground of the creature, in keeping with Vatican I. However, we must keep in mind Roman’s distinction between knowledge and acknowledgment.

This formal knowledge of God as the ground of the creature is drastically distinct from the living acknowledgment of the tri-personal God of Christian revelation. This formal knowledge of the divine does not prevent this knowledge from being idolatrous. The truth of the priority of actuality over potentiality is ever mixed with idolatrous falsity of human all-too-human conceptions. Daniélou makes a remarkably similar point in God and the Ways of Knowing.[9] Thus, concretely we have once again, as Przywara saw, only the choice between the tri-personal God of Christian revelation and the pagan, a redeemed conception of the divine or a fallen idolatrous conception.

Read from the perspective of a “Metaphysics of Patmos,” as von Balthasar said quoting Ernst Bloch, “God is dead, and Jesus Christ killed him.” Here the “god” of narrow-minded forms of scholasticism and transcendental theology is done away with, and so too is the generic homo religiosus of phenomenology of religion. Scheler is only haltingly correct when he says, “man believes only in God or an idol. There is no third course open.”[10] In truth, one can only believe in Christ or an idol. Nietzsche knew this in his heart of hearts. Therefore, after God’s death, Christ alone remains in an inversion of the “Only One” of the Johannine Hölderlin. “Have I been understood Dionysus versus the Crucified”—the conclusion of Ecce Homo. Alas, Nietzsche is more Christocentric than many a Christian thinker.

Only Christ shows the way to the Father, through the movement of the Spirit. Only Christ shows what and who God is in the depths of Godself—Triune love. Philosophy’s quest has always been for the Absolute. But once the Absolute utters itself to humanity and becomes incarnate, all conceptions of the divine become but empty—a hollow flatus vocis. Before a “Metaphysics of Patmos,” questions of natural theology or ontotheology ring hollow. Its idée fixe concerns itself with the concrete flow and drama of history read in view of the creatures’ free response to being-as-gift measured against the Mysterium Crucis. “He came among his own, and his own received him not. But to as many as received him he gave the power of becoming sons of God . . . No one has at any time seen God. The only-begotten Son . . . he has revealed him” (John 1:10-18). Only in this apocalyptic drama is the mystery of being fully unveiled. This is what a “Metaphysics of Patmos” is given to think into the future…   

History, Desire, and Mimesis

A “Metaphysics of Patmos” is foremost an analogically calibrated Christian philosophy of history that knows with Pieper that “a philosophy of history that is severed from theology does not perceive its subject matter.”[11] Therefore, metaphysics is recast apocalyptically and functions in relation to the Book of Revelation in conversation with styles of apocalyptic theology that prioritize the Triune intention towards the world and the Johannine corpus. Up until now the programmatic vision and metaphysical structure of “Metaphysics of Patmos” has been laid bare. Yet, if this was everything my approach would run the risk of being overly speculative, ephemeral. Vision must always be made flesh.

This enfleshing occurs when desire and mimesis are seen as the catalyst for this analogically and apocalyptically calibrated philosophy of history. The drama portrayed in the Prologue and the visionary vantage of the Epilogue does not take us away from the concrete. Rather, this metaphysical and visionary approach propels us into the drama of our humanity in relation to the Christian God amidst the real flesh and blood of human relations. Our metaphysical response to being-as-gift only occurs in the hic et nunc and in media res. Metaphysical mindfulness occurs in a metaxological chiaroscuro ever situated in the flesh and blood of human imitation and the underground of desire. 

Here “human history is the history of desired Desires,” as Kojève puts it.[12] And this history of desired desires is a history of violence. The metaphysical beginning of the Prologue and the eschatological end of the Book of Revelation does not imply a reading of history as completed, after the owl of Minerva has taken flight. No, a truly Johannine approach understands the metaphysical and visionary depiction of Christianity as a depiction of concrete human relations still taking place. An apocalyptic metaphysics of desire eventuates in the drama of the flesh and blood horizon of human relations—he who says he loves God and hates his brother is a liar (1 John 4:20).

There is no pure intellectual process that sees things from the point-of-view of the Hegelian sage and the post-teleological resolution of the master/slave dialectic. The concrete reality of warring brothers will take place until the eschaton, until the final discessio of the wheat and darnel. Any true and viable Christian philosophy of history thus must pass the test of warring brother, as Girard prophetically demanded. John’s apocalyptic vision concerns a fleshed doing of truth, writing with one’s life, otherwise it is but a speculative mirroring counterfeit. A “Metaphysics of Patmos,” then is a spiritual practice and straining after sanctity against the violence of our humanity. It is a metaphysics of the conversion of desire’s violence to Christ’s non-violence, expressed, mediated, and tested in love of neighbor.

The origin of the violence of human history, is not a Hegelian battle for prestigious recognition, nor is it a founding murder of a Freudian or Girardian stripe. The “things hidden since the foundation of the world” go metaphysically deeper. It is the very rejection of our created being-as-gift, our refusal to humbly receive in grateful love that gives birth to the violence of human history (Think: Zarathustra’s gift-giving). It is the lie of idolatry that we shall be and know like God (Gen 3:5). However, this metaphysical drama of the rejection of being-as-created is always already a matter of imitation as Raymund Schwager has convincingly shown.

To paraphrase Augustine’s Confessions (Book II), all those who wander far away and set themselves up against God are imitating God, but in a perverse way. The desire to be and know like God is a Luciferian, whispering insinuation of the desire for self-apotheosis which perverts the creature’s true imitation of God into a parody of false imitation. Desire is ever and always mediated, communal, and social. This metaphysical origin of counterfeit deification births the violence of human history, the murdering of Abel, the warring of brothers and sisters, the violent annals of the atrocities of the history as seen in mimetic rivalry, persecution, and scapegoating.

The formal object of a “Metaphysics of Patmos” is thus further concentrated to the story Christian transvaluation. As I have said elsewhere, this is a story of the redemption of created desire from its deformity—the twisting of its desire for the supernatural—by the lie that we are able to know and be like God (Gen 3:5). A lie which ever perpetuates and blinds the human heart through imitative pride, hatred, blame, rivalry, and ressentiment. This history is the history of the transvaluation of human desire, a history of the myriad and subterranean ways that desire suggests itself through idolatrous protean permutations.

History is the story of the idolatrous trans-deification of human desire and its demonic underground potential to the point where the hidden envy and ressentiment towards God is unleashed in the violent crucifixion of the incarnate Word. This is the moment of the redemptive turning point of the history of desire. “He came among his own, and his own received him not. But to as many as received him he gave the power of becoming sons of God” (John1: 11-12). Desire now only exists in relation to this Name. Hence, Nietzsche’s frenzied, exasperated lament, “Almost two thousand years—and not a single new god!”[13] In this view of history as Girard knew, in keeping with Przywara’s concrete reading of Christian philosophy, there can only be two ultimate mediators of desire: Christ or Satan, Christ or antichrist.

The history of desire, post Christum natum, treads on Christian knowledge given through the foolishness of the Cross and is a dramatic battle of imitation. As von Balthasar shows in volumes IV and V of Theo-Drama, this battle can only intensify because the satanic moves against the Christian victory already assured by the Lamb slain. This victory polarizes and makes the battle all the fiercer. This reality is further attested to with Girard’s understanding of history as an escalation of extremes and is intimated in Pascal’s twelfth Provincial Letter.[14] We are back to the apocalyptic inner law of history consisting in the victory of Christ over antichrist in the concrete realm of desire’s mimetic transvaluation. A “Metaphysics of Patmos” concerns the extreme antichristic potential of desire as seen, for example, in the prophetic pairing of Dostoevsky/Nietzsche. Read from within the fleshed seeing of a “Metaphysics of Patmos,” history is the apocalypse of imitative human desire, measured against crucified love. 

Christ the Concrete Analogia Entis and the Metaphysical Practice of Holiness

As Przywara and Ulrich intimated and von Balthasar brought into explicit expression, Christ is the concrete analogia entis. In the words of Rowan Williams, “Christ is the heart of creation.” Christ enacts the admirabile commercium, the bringing together of Uncreated and the created freedom and desire in an analogical exchange without confusion and separation. The Word enters his creation. This is made possible by the analogical distance between God and creation allowing for an analogical unity-in-difference of the divine and human natures in one Person. Yet, as the Prologue intimates, the human world that the Word enters is ruled by humanity’s false search for apotheosis.

This world is the world of incomprehension and blindness. A world from which the creative Word is exiled by false desire. As the great Anglican William Temple says, “It is part of the deadly quality of sin that it hinders us from seeking its cure.”[15] The Word thus must proffer a non-violent counter-desire that confronts and unmasks the deadly and violent nomos of history inaugurated through our free rejection of being-as-gift and its consequent blind mimetic perpetuation.

To do this one must learn once again what it means to receive the poverty of fleshed creatureliness. The Creator must show the creature how to receive creatureliness by receiving it himself. Christ’s kenosis is the truth of creaturely being and desire exceeded into its Trinitarian depths. The Word’s humble reception of humanity is the witnessing performance and practice of the acceptance of being-as-gift in the truth of humble thankfulness to the Fatherly Origin of this gift. But Christ models and mediates far more that the truth of our creatureliness, he shows its rootedness in Trinitarian mimesis. For the Word is the one who receives all that he is from the Father in his eternal Sonship of Being-as-Begotten.

The Word’s eternal desire is a mimetic response. He comes not of his own will or desire but in the Name and desire of the Father. This Word is the imitative Witness that sees, hears, and performs what he sees his Father doing. His Being is one of imitative joyful reception—Eucharistic Begottenness. The Word made flesh takes up and receives the created reality of our humanity in imitation of his Sonship of Being-as-Begotten, understood as a non-identical imitation of the Father. To fully know how to imitatively receive our creaturely being is to imitate and participate in the mimetic processional truth of eternal Sonship.

Christ shows that the created humanity he has taken-up is an imitative imaging of his Triune Being-of-Sonship. Thus, the more deeply we enter the mystery of the receptive truth of our created being, the more we become truly human and fleshed, the more we become participatory imitators of the dynamic mimesis of Triune life without erasing the analogical law of dissimilarity and our created participation in the unio caritatis.

A “Metaphysics of Patmos” is a metaphysics of Trinitarian response rooted in the twofold created and uncreated mimetic performance of Christ, the concrete analogia entis. Christ is the only Mediating Witness of the truth of the Trinitarian origin and meaning of creaturely being, freedom, and desire. Here metaphysics becomes an ecclesial practice and performance of imitatio Christi, a “metaphysics of the saints,” understood as the culmination of analogical creaturely metaphysics. Yet this mimetic Trinitarian participation is ever tested in the concrete violence of desire. Here imitatio is configured, in the words of Augustine, to the “disfigured deformity of Christ by which alone we are formed.”[16]

If Christ shows that the truth of desire is kenotic deformity, the truth of servitude in the non-violent laying down of one’s life for the other. Then it follows that our love and imitation of Christ is always mediated socially in the test of warring brothers. Christian love must be practiced, tested, and proved in the ceaseless conversion and re-conversion of desire from violence. Christian metaphysics must show forth an imitative new path of seeing and participating in the world. Only then will it find that path to discovery and production that Serres spoke, that genius of sanctity that Simone Weil passionately called for with her life.[17]

And so, a “Metaphysics of Patmos” returns to the four living creatures crying out the trisagion before the God, “Who was, and who is, and who is coming (Rev 4:8). The mysterious truth of the Book of Revelation is condensed into the drama of the acceptance or rejection of the creaturely metaphysico-liturgical spilling forth of praise before the Triune God at whose center is the Lamb slain. Within this world, praise is enacted through desire’s transvaluation into servanthood, understood as the kenotic-Christic truth of desire. Yet, this truth of praise must be proved, daily and into the future, in the concrete fleshed love of neighbor in imitation of the “Christus deformis,” ever amidst the worlds violent quest for the suggested princely lie of desire’s self-deification.

EDITORIAL NOTE: This essay was originally one of the twenty papers delivered at the major international conference, The Future of Christian Thinking held at St Patrick’s Pontifical University in Maynooth, Ireland. The event was hosted by the Faculty of Philosophy and organized by Drs. Philip John Paul Gonzales and Gaven Kerr. For more information see here.

This reflection is related to the early stage of Philip Gonzales’s recent grant from Widening Horizons in Philosophical Theology run out of the University of St. Andrews and funded by Templeton Religion Trust. The title of his grant project is: “Analogical Metaphysics and Incarnate Mimetic Desire.” Professor Gonzales sends his special thanks to the grant project leaders, Judith Wolfe and King-Ho Leung, and to Templeton for the time freed over the two semesters in order to embark on some initial thoughts.

[1] It is no accident that the hymn of the elders in the Book of Revelation (Rev 4:11) precedes the opening of the Scroll of Destiny, wherein is seen the visionary reality of the fleshed horizon of desire amidst the earthly realities of war, famine, strife, pestilence, and martyrdom.   

[2] See Gilles Deleuze, Difference and Repetition (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), xix.

[3] Hans Urs von Balthasar, Theo-Drama: Theological Dramatic Theory, vol. 1: Prolegomena (San Francisco: Ignatius 1988), 42.

[4] Ibid., 18.

[5] Michel Serres, “Receiving into the Académie Française,” in For René Girard: Essays in Friendship and in Truth (East Lansing MI.: MSU, 2009), 16.

[6] Erich Przywara, “Philosophy as a Problem,” in Analogia Entis: Original Structure and Universal Rhythm (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2014), 402-3. 

[7] See Erik Peterson, “Witness to the Truth,” in Theological Tractates (Stanford, CA: SUP, 2011), esp., 161-172.

[8] See Erich Przywara, Analogia Entis, footnote 95, 212 . 

[9] See Jean Daniélou, God and the Ways of Knowing (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2003), esp., the two first chapters, “The God of the Religions,” 9-43 and “The God of the Philosophers,” 44-80.  

[10] Max Scheler, On the Eternal in Man (New York: Harper, 1961), 399.

[11] Josef Pieper, The End of Time: A Mediation on the Philosophy of History (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1999), 24.

[12] Alexandre Kojève, Introduction to Reading Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press), 6.

[13] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist, section 19, W. Kaufmann trans.

[14] Pascal says there: “It is a strange and tedious war when violence attempts to vanquish truth. All the efforts of violence cannot weaken truth, and only serve to give it fresh vigour. All the lights of truth cannot arrest violence, and only serve to exasperate it.”

[15] William Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel (London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1952), 107.

[16] Augustine, Serm. 27, 6.

[17] See Simone Weil, Waiting for God (London and New York: Routledge Classics, 2021), 56-57. Weil is here echoing Maritain but going far beyond him in the radicality of her vision. For a brilliant comparison of Weil and Edith Stein see Przywara “Edith Stein and Simone Weil: Two Fundamental Philosophical Themes,” in Analogia Entis, 596-612.

Featured Image: Jan Lebestein's stained-glass windows in the Pallottines chapel in Paris, photo taken by Paterm; Source: Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.


Philip Gonzales

Philip Gonzales is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Patrick's College Maynooth. He is the author of Reimagining the Analogia Entis: The Future of Erich Przywara's Christian Vision.

Read more by Philip Gonzales