The Cross and the Abysmal Madness of God

Work thumb

Views: 103

  • Title: The Cross and the Abysmal Madness of God: Foucault and Apophatic Theology
  • Author(s): Stephan Quarles
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Religion in Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society
  • Keywords: Cross, History of Madness, Michel Foucault, Apophatic Theology
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2154-8633 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2154-8641 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v08i04/1-14
  • Citation: Quarles, Stephan. 2018. "The Cross and the Abysmal Madness of God: Foucault and Apophatic Theology." The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society 8 (4): 1-14. doi:10.18848/2154-8633/CGP/v08i04/1-14.
  • Extent: 14 pages

Abstract

Today, the cross has lost much of its scandalous nature through explanations ranging from atonement theories to the cross as a mechanism for state-sponsored violence to inspire a social justice rallying cry. In reality, neither of these are “untrue” about the symbolic function of the cross, yet both broad theories limit the ways the cross scandalizes Christian theology. Foucault’s concept of power/knowledge is essential to the continued work of apophatic theology, especially when placed within the discourse on the madness of the cross in “History of Madness.” Foucault does two rather unexpected yet profound readings of the cross through the lens of 1 Corinthians 1:18–25 and an obscure text of Nicholas of Cusa, “On Wisdom.” Foucault emphasizes that Christian theology and church practice have stripped the cross of its madness by bringing it in from the margins and making it absolutely knowable. The cross should stay on the margins, continuing its radical power to subvert our expectations with an emphasis on its madness and apophatic character