Several further book projects exist in manuscript form as works-in-progress. Certain parts of each have appeared already in periodical literature. Five further books in particular are part of the overall design of a poetics of revelation and a philosophy of the humanities worked out in continual dialogue with a variety of theoretical paradigms among those most influential on the critical scene today.
[The Veil of Eternity: Language and Transcendence in Dante’s Paradiso ]
First, there is another book on Dante, the sequel to Dante’s Interpretive Journey, which turned out to be based on interpretation of passages primarily from theInferno and the Purgatorio. The hermeneutic paradigm developed in that book works in the most straightforward way in these segments of the poem. For theParadiso a substantially different theoretical paradigm is called for because Dante runs up against the limits of language and interpretation. He experiences the break-down of interpretation and ventures into the “beyond” of language. The topos of “ineffability” and a negative theology and corresponding negative poetics, decisively qualifying and delimiting the poetics of revelation, become key to an adequate theoretical enframing of this culminating portion of the Divine Comedy. Accordingly, my central work on Dante (apart from other ad hoc contributions) is still in progress and will be complete only with this volume.
[Infinite Figures: Proposals for a New Theoretical Rhetoric]
One of the deepest roots of our thinking and of all theoretical speculation is to be discovered in the rhetorical tradition. To the extent that we are always thinking with and within language, the concepts and analyses of rhetoric—both the art and science of using language effectively—open up essential insights into the enabling and limiting conditions of our thought in every field of inquiry. The very substance of knowledge cannot be severed from its linguistic means and medium, which it is the province of rhetoric to systematically study and exploit.
The key unifying aspect of the approach taken in this work is the endeavor to think figurative language in a dimension of infinity–as uncircumscribed by any non-figurative substrate. The absolute reality of language becomes revelatory of reality as such in its absoluteness. The treatment is thereby marked as ultimately theological in inspiration. A poetics of revelation and specifically the Divine Comedy as a theological revelation in and through poetic form has been a major interest developing alongside and sometimes cross-fertilizing this project. Even if only indirectly, this essay adumbrates a theology of poetic language thought from the ground of rhetorical tradition. My purpose is not to define these commonest of concepts yet again, but to explore the vistas they can open up in certain theoretical humanities disciplines, particularly poetics, philosophy, and theology. The question at the core of the present inquiry is that of language as a revelation of being. Rhetoric here opens upon metaphysics. How does metaphor account for the unity of our experience? The riddles of metaphysics and the ultimate questions asked by religions, far from being solved, nevertheless become more lucid and meaningful when placed in this perspective of metaphor. My aim is to explore just how far rhetorical consciousness of the metaphorical medium of all our thought can illuminate perennial metaphysical and theological conundrums and our very way of experiencing and articulating the elusive meanings for which we live and act.
[Postmodern Theologics: Critical Theory in the Wake of the Death of God]
This work brings out the theological underpinnings of major texts in the critical theory canon. It shows how their typically secularist assumptions tend to be deconstructed by the theological paradigms that they deploy, whether deliberately or implicitly and unconsiously. The key insights of postmodern theory, from the diacritical nature of the sign onwards, are opened thereby to being illuminated through the lens of a post-secular apophatic theology. I advocate this type of theology as a salutary, not to say salvific or redemptive, contribution of postmodernism to contemporary culture.