Religious Appropriation of Postmodernism: A Critical Appraisal of Westphal’s Intellectual Project
Keywords:Merold Westphal, Post-Modernism, Onto-theology, Hermeneutics of Suspicion, Hermeneutics of Finitude
This paper presents a critical appraisal of the project of Westphal. Westphal attempted to make a case for the religious appropriation of post-modernism. Using both the methods of logico-rational analysis and religious parameters, the paper shows that his project is not a viable project. It is argued that the logical status of post-modernist claims is not, as he says, that of meta-narratives but of ‘meta-meta narratives and thus they become entangled into a contradiction and cannot be seen to have the humble position Westphal wants them to have. We show the futility of the distinction made by Westphal between ‘what’ and ‘how.’ Finally, his hermeneutics of suspicion and that of infinitude are mutually inconsistent because he has attached the element of ‘unconsciousness’ with the former, while the latter completely ignores the Semitic idea of human deformity and only takes into account the sin of Adam. It is submitted that because of these shortcomings the religious appropriation project proposed by Westphal is not a feasible project. This is a significant area of research because the implications of postmodernism for religion have not been seriously examined in our culture and the focus of attention has been the field of literature.
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