Theology After Postmodernity: Divining the Void--a Lacanian Reading of Thomas Aquinas

ISBN : 9780199566075

Tina Beattie
448 Pages
162 x 240 mm
Pub date
Oct 2013
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Theology after Postmodernity is a ground-breaking study that has the capacity to transform the relationship between psychoanalytic theory and Christian theology. Reading the theology of Thomas Aquinas in close engagement with the psychoanalytic theory of Jacques Lacan, Tina Beattie shows how Thomism exerted a formative influence on Lacan, and she also shows how a Lacanian approach can bring rich new insights to Thomas's theology. A growing number of English-speaking scholars now recognize the extent to which twentieth century French theorists and philosophers were influenced by medieval theology, and there have been several studies of Jacques Lacan's Thomism. However, this is the first study published in English to bring a Lacanian feminist perspective to bear on the theology of Thomas Aquinas. Focusing on the centrality of desire in Thomas's theology and Lacan's psychoanalytic theory, Beattie follows Lacan along an overgrown and often hidden path through the changing configurations of desire, gender, and knowledge from their Aristotelian formation in the medieval universities to their fragmentation in the collapse of modernity's visions and values. Beattie offers a penetrating critique of Thomas's Aristotelianism, but she also excavates the mystical treasures within his theology. This enables her to show how Thomas's God remains an unconscious but potent influence in the shaping of modern western thought, and to ask what transformations might be needed in order to bring about a Thomism for our times. Probing beneath the surface of Thomas's Summa Theologiae and other writings, she brings to light the Other of Thomas's One God - an incarnate, maternal Trinity who emerges when Thomas's Aristotelian ontotheology is suspended and the more neglected aspects of his doctrinal and theological insights are allowed to emerge. Lacan makes possible a renewed Thomism which offers a rich theology of creation, incarnation, and redemption capable of responding to some of the most urgent and far-reaching challenges that questions of gender, nature, and God pose to Christian theological language in its classical and postmodern formations.


1. Language about the Abyss
2. Knowing the World in God
3. Speaking of God in the World
4. Desiring God in the World
5. Greek Philosophy, Gender, and Theology
6. Fatherhood, Law, and Society
7. Angels, Demon, and the Man of God
8. The Rise of the Universities
9. The Making of Modernity
10. Kant, Ethics, and Otherness
11. The Sadean Violence of the Kantian Other
12. Love, Law, and Transgression
13. Sexual Mythologies and the Making of Modernity
14. Being beyond Philosophy
15. She who Speaks
16. In the Beginning
17. Theology beyond Postmodernism
18. The Maternal Trinity
19. Catherine of Siena: Writing the Body of God
20. The Risen and Remembered Self

About the author: 

Tina Beattie is Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton in London. She is widely known for her academic publications and also for her more popular writings, lectures, and broadcasts. Her main areas of interest include Catholic theology, critical theory, and issues of gender; the Virgin Mary in theology and art; Christian mysticism, and theology and human rights. She began her academic studies as a mature student at the University of Bristol when the youngest of her four children started school, and she went on to do her PhD there on Marian theology and symbolism. In addition to her academic work, Tina is involved in a range of activities to do with theological education and awareness-raising in parishes, schools, and other communities.

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