In the biblical creation story human beings are depicted as beings ejected from the true home given to them in creation and entrapped in the dynamics of their flight from God. Franz Rosenzweig suggested that modern life is best understood as a type of chronic living death characterized by an animate but nevertheless sterile experience of loss. Following Eric Santner's presentation of this theme in Rosenzweig, this article will explore what it might mean to recover a sense of the goodness of place and particularity. I will examine Santner's suggestion that to become present to ‘place’ is to have undergone the ‘undeadening’ intervention of another person, who offers us an exit route in the midst of the tangle of our lived lives. I will then show how the main lines of his analysis both parallel and offer ways to sharpen important aspects of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's account in Creation and Fall of the dynamics of the Fall and the healing of creatures. Human beings are depicted by Bonhoeffer as in need of being transformed into creatures, a theological insight resting on a complex account of creation, and which I will suggest, in conclusion, is a particularly important theme of a Christian gospel that can speak to a world saturated by the desire to be elsewhere.
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- School of Divinity, History & Philosophy, Divinity - Personal Chair
- School of Divinity, History & Philosophy, Centre for Autism and Theology
- School of Divinity, History & Philosophy, Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science, Technology and Medicine (CHPSTM)
- School of Language, Literature, Music & Visual Culture, Centre for Citizenship, Civil Society & Rule of Law (CISRUL)