Perseverance without doctrine : Adorno, self-critique, and the ends of academic theology

University dissertation from Frankfurt am Main : Lang

Abstract: The study approaches the question of the role and legitimacy of academic theology given a certain theoretical conception of the intellectual situation. From the perspective of a critical interpretation of some contemporary problems of theology, on the one hand, and some problematic aspects of secular thought, on the other, the study inquires into the notion of theology for a self-critical theoretical potential of general academic value. Main resource is the philosophy of Theodor W. Adorno (1903-1969).Part one relates different problems concerning the secular academy, contemporary philosophy and theology to the materialist thought of Adorno. Part two consists of an interpretation of Adorno's critical theory; aesthetics, music aesthetics in particular, acquires a significant role. Furthermore, this part provides an interpretation of Adorno's general relevance.Part three investigates contemporary theological positions. This task is accomplished (a) in direct relation to Adorno's thought (chapter six), and (b) in terms of foundational problems of theology (chapter seven and eight). Finally, chapter nine presents a structure of the notion of academic theology which leads to re-conceptualization of its praxis and identity. In accordance with this re-conceptualization, the concluding discussion defends the idea of academic theology as an autonomous self-critical resource for the formation of rationality in the contemporary academy.

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