Rhythm: A theological category


Eikelboom, Lexi 2018. Rhythm: A theological category. United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
AuthorsEikelboom, Lexi

This book argues that, as a pervasive dimension of human existence with theological implications, rhythm ought to be considered a category of theological significance. Philosophers and theologians have drawn on rhythm—patterned movements of repetition and variation—to describe reality, however, the ways in which rhythm is used and understood differ based on a variety of metaphysical commitments with varying theological implications. This book brings those implications into the open, using resources from phenomenology, prosody, and the social sciences to analyse and evaluate uses of rhythm in metaphysical and theological accounts of reality. The analysis relies on a distinction from prosody between a synchronic approach to rhythm—observing the whole at once and considering how various dimensions of a rhythm hold together harmoniously—and a diachronic approach—focusing on the ways in which time unfolds as the subject experiences it. The text engages with the twentieth-century Jesuit theologian Erich Przywara alongside thinkers as diverse as Augustine and the contemporary philosopher Giorgio Agamben, and proposes an approach to rhythm that serves the concerns of theological conversation. It demonstrates the difference that including rhythm in theological conversation makes to how we think about questions such as “what is creation?” and “what is the nature of the God–creature relationship?” from the perspective of rhythm. As a theoretical category, capable of expressing metaphysical commitments, yet shaped by the cultural rhythms in which those expressing such commitments are embedded, rhythm is particularly significant for theology as a phenomenon through which culture and embodied experience influence doctrine.

Keywordsrhythm; metaphysics; culture; phenomenology; prosody; synchronic; diachronic; Erich Przywara; Augustine; Giorgio Agamben
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198828839.001.0001
Page range1 - 272
Research GroupInstitute for Religion and Critical Inquiry
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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