Godsends is William Desmond’s newest addition to his masterwork on the borderlines between philosophy and theology.
For many years, William Desmond has been patiently constructing a philosophical project—replete with its own terminology, idiom, grammar, dialectic, and its metaxological transformation—in an attempt to reopen certain boundaries: between metaphysics and phenomenology, between philosophy of religion and philosophical theology, between the apocalyptic and the speculative, and between religious passion and systematic reasoning. In Godsends, Desmond’s newest addition to his ambitious masterwork, he presents an original reflection on what he calls the “companioning” of philosophy and religion. Throughout the book, he follows an itinerary that has something of an Augustinian likeness: from the exterior to the interior, from the inferior to the superior. The stations along the way include a grappling with the default atheism prevalent in contemporary intellectual culture; an exploration of the middle space, the metaxu between the finite and the infinite; a dwelling with solitudes as thresholds between selving and the sacred; a meditation on idiot wisdom and transcendence in an East-West perspective; an exploration of the different stresses in the mysticisms of Aurobindo and the Arnhem Mystical Sermons; a dream monologue of autonomy, a suite of Kantian and post-Kantian variations on the story of the prodigal son; a meditation on the beatitudes as exceeding virtue, in light of Aquinas’s understanding; and culminating in an exploration of Godsends as telling us something significant about the surprise of revelation in word, idea, and story. Godsends is written for thoughtful persons and scholars perplexed about the place of religion in our time and hopeful for some illuminating companionship from relevant philosophers. It will also interest students of philosophy and religion, especially philosophical theology and philosophical metaphysics.
Introduction: Superiority Beyond Interiority
1. Default Atheism
2. Thresholds Between Finitude and Infinitude: The Self-sublation and Abjection of Transcendence
3. Solitudes: Thresholds Between Selving and the Sacred
4. Idiot Wisdom and the Intimate Universal: Immanence and Transcendence in an Intercultural Perspective
5. Mysticism and the Intimate Universal: On the Arnhem Mystical Sermons and Sri Aurobindo
6. Dream Monologues of Autonomy: Variations on the Prodigal Son
7. Exceeding Virtue: On Aquinas and the Beatitudes
8. Godsends: On the Surprise of Revelation
William Desmond is the David R. Cook Chair in Philosophy at Villanova University, the Thomas A. F. Kelly Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Maynooth University, Ireland, and professor emeritus of philosophy at KU Leuven, Belgium. He is the author, editor, and co-editor of more than twenty-five books, including The Voiding of Being: The Doing and Undoing of Metaphysics in Modernity.
“Like Desmond’s other publications, this book shows a deep thoughtfulness, a rare capacity to wonder, and an astonishing attentiveness to things that are evident but tend to pass by unnoticed.” —D. C. Schindler, author of Freedom from Reality
“William Desmond is one of the most original philosophers of our time, and this volume is perhaps his most fascinating yet.” —David Bentley Hart, author of Theological Territories
"The adventure of this work is in stepping away from any preconceived notions and reflecting on the human experience in a new way. Upon doing so, Desmond offers many incisive and rich critiques of an atheistic contemporary world as well as of static and insufficient presentations of religious belief, all from within his particular conceptual framework." —The University Bookman