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Seeing the World and Knowing GodHebrew Wisdom and Christian Doctrine in a Late-Modern Context$
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Paul S. Fiddes

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199644100

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644100.001.0001

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Wisdom as a Search for the Sum of Things

Wisdom as a Search for the Sum of Things

Chapter:
(p.299) 9 Wisdom as a Search for the Sum of Things
Source:
Seeing the World and Knowing God
Author(s):

Paul S. Fiddes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644100.003.0009

There is a late-modern protest against making a ‘whole’, suspecting that any claim to totality is a form of ideological oppression (Jean-François Lyotard), a suppression of the difference of the other (Levinas), or the constraint of open meaning (Derrida). The wisdom book of Koheleth (Ecclesiastes) asserts that it is impossible to find ‘the whole’ (ha-kol); Koheleth cannot find any ‘sum’ (heshbon), because he insists on a ‘gain’ (yitron) which includes retribution, and the result is ‘futility’ (hebel). His solution is to be content with a reduction of the scope of experience to what we have been ‘given’, or our ‘portion’ (heleq) from God. This chapter explores Wolfhart Pannenberg's attempt to develop a concept of God as a ‘whole’ by analogy with ‘undivided, infinite space-time’. It argues that the Trinity, understood as a movement of relations, offers the possibility of a ‘whole’ which is not dominating or oppressive and which is our ‘portion’.

Keywords:   whole, totality, Lyotard, Levinas, Koheleth, sum, futility, portion, Pannenberg, space-time

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