I became seriously interested in mystical theology in the late 1970s, several years after I had graduated from university. My undergraduate studies had been in English and philosophy. As I passed from one year to the next, I found myself increasingly concerned with philosophical theology, and in the end I decided to take honors in that area. In those days, at least in Australia, philosophical theology was analytic in orientation, and attention to history, if there was any, was loosely by way of the history of ideas. When we read Aquinas it was with Aristotle as guide: neither Albertus Magnus nor Meister Eckhart was mentioned. If anyone became intrigued by Plotinus, he or she would read the Enneads from the perspective of Plato and with reference to Aristotle, and no reference to Origen would be made. As much as I enjoyed tarrying with the Greeks, I was drawn more powerfully to the Germans. To study Kant was more or less obligatory for anyone reading philosophy, but if one strayed into Hegel one was in danger of [going continental.] I did not intend to do any such thing, and none of my teachers seemed very concerned when I started to take detailed notes on the Phenomenology of Spirit. After all, I had shown where my allegiances lay by presenting as a major essay an unrelentingly dry formalization of Anselm's ontological argument for the existence of God, while for other seminars I had become almost as fluent in Polish logic as in English. To be caught with Husserl in hand was no bad thing, especially not if the book was a volume of the Logical Investigations. Of course, one might run a slight risk in being seen with Ideas I, even though it had been translated by an eminent Australian philosopher, W. R. Boyce Gibson, but it could always be covered by that large, grey cloud called [research.] Even when I broached Heidegger, there was the perfectly good excuse that he was essential
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Publication information: Book title: The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology, and Philosophy. Contributors: Kevin Hart - Author. Publisher: Fordham University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2000. Page number: ix.
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