Cavell, Companionship, and Christian Theology
In recent decades, theologians and philosophers of religion have been engaged in a vigorous debate about the status and nature of ecclesiology, and of community. In that discussion, theologians have found resources in political philosophy, particularly communitarianism and political liberalism. In this book, Peter Dula turns instead to Stanley Cavell to see how his work might illuminate that discussion - in particular, how his understanding of companionship might usefully complicate the communitarian-liberal divide. Since the 1960s, Stanley Cavell has been the most category-defying philosopher in North America as well as one of the least understood. In part this was because philosophers were not sure what to do with Cavell's extensive engagements with literature and film or, stranger yet, Cavell's openness to theological concerns. In this, the first book on Cavell and theology, Dula places Cavell in conversation with some of the philosophers most influential in contemporary theology (Alasdair MacIntyre, Martha Nussbaum and John Rawls).
He then examines Cavell's relationship to Christian theology, shows how the figure of Christ appears repeatedly in his work, and how Cavell's account of skepticism and acknowledgment is a profoundly illuminating and transformative resource for theological discussions - not just of ecclesiology, but of sin, salvation and the existence of God.