Friday, June 10, 2011

Time for Gillian Rose

The Hegelian, Jewish/Christian philosopher Gillian Rose is one of those interesting thinkers in critical theory in that everyone mentions how important she is as a challenging thinker, yet they also seem to notice how she has been somewhat ignored.

The fact that she had a deathbed conversion to Christianity may be part of the equation. The idea that Christian thinkers like Rowan Williams, Graham Ward, Robert Shanks and John Milbank all try to utilize her thought for their respective causes but ultimately leave something out is another issue. Perhaps her hard to understand writing style probably due to its Hegelian roots is another thing preventing popularizing; unlike Zizek, she does not read her Hegel through Kung Fu Panda.

Still, I think she is important for at least a couple of reasons (which is why I am going to be reading her Hegel book this summer while I fulfill language requirements for my doctoral program):

1. She tried to make Hegel important in opposition to post-structuralists readings before Zizek made this move sexy. I'll post more on how she did this after reading through her Hegel book, but what is important is that we get a glimpse of the non-totalizing Hegel here and also a Hegel who is joined by the hip with Kierkegaard. I remain convinced that modern Christian (and postmodern for that fact) have to struggle along with (not against) the two-headed monster of Hegel/Kierkegaard.

2. She struggles with the world of faith and reason. There is no private place to do philosophy/theology; it is for the public and toward a public Other. It is in the place of the "broken middle" where there is no easy synthesis or unreconciled dualisms. I like this middle because it forces us to insists that all ideals have a social and individual responsibility that does not try to sweep away the real conflicts of the real world away.

If you are interested in her then see Vincent Lloyd's site:
for his essays on Rose (he is a good guy!).

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