Abiding Grace: Time, Modernity, Death
by Mark C. Taylor
University of Chicago Press, 2018
Paper: 978-0-226-56908-6 | Cloth: 978-0-226-56892-8 | eISBN: 978-0-226-56911-6

Post-war, post-industrialism, post-religion, post-truth, post-biological, post-human, post-modern. What succeeds the post- age? Mark C. Taylor returns here to some of his earliest philosophical themes and inquires, ultimately asking: What comes after the end?  

Abiding Grace navigates the competing Hegelian and Kierkegaardian trajectories born out of the Reformation and finds Taylor arguing from spaces in between, showing how both narratives have shaped recent philosophy and culture. For Hegel, Luther’s internalization of faith anticipated the modern principle of autonomy, which reached its fullest expression in speculative philosophy.  The closure of the Hegelian system still endures in the twenty-first century in consumer society, financial capitalism, and virtual culture. For Kierkegaard, by contrast, Luther’s God remains radically transcendent, while finite human beings and their world remain fully dependent. From this insight, Heidegger and Derrida developed an alternative view of time in which a radically open future breaks into the present to transform the past, demonstrating that, far from autonomous, life is a gift from an Other that can never be known.

Offering an alternative genealogy of deconstruction that traces its pedigree back to readings of Paul by way of Luther, Abiding Grace presents a thorough going critique of modernity and postmodernity’s will to power and mastery. In this new philosophical and theological vision, history is not over and the future remains endlessly open.      

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