Styles of Piety: Practicing Philosophy after the Death of God

By S. Clark Buckner; Matthew Statler | Go to book overview

14
Laughing, Praying, Weeping before God

A Response

John D. Caputo

I work my way through things by writing. So, whenever I read what others have written about my work, whenever what I have written is read back to me by others—never, of course, without a gloss—it is as if the inert pages of books and journals have come to life and begun to talk back to me (and sometimes even to bite back). It is as if something that is structurally private, written in solitude, my most secret thoughts, meant only for me and God—like Augustine confessing to God in writing, "cur confitemur deo scienti," (Why do I know anything at all?) (Why do I confess to God, who knows all?) to God who knows everything already—have now to my surprise become a public matter, flushed out in the open for everyone to see. I am honored by the attention paid to my work by Francis Ambrosio, David Wood, and Edith Wyschogrod, and embarrassed by their generosity. If what they say of my work is not true, it is at least an illusion that I would like to entertain—until the next departmental meeting I attend where all such illusions are dispelled.

Let me begin by saying that, by "piety," I mean to stand before God, coram deo, like Augustine in the Confessions, making myself a question unto myself in front of God Who has counted every tear in my eyes, every hair on my head. The question that I am made unto myself (quaestio mihi factus sum)—rather than one that I abstractly "pose"—is what do I love when I love you, my God? In general, I think that what goes on in our lives is more like faith, faith without

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