Theologizing horror: spirituality and the gothic

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Abstract

Many contemporary critical theories seem biased towards anti-humanist, anti-religious trajectories, and this has somehow resulted in the undermining of attempts to elicit the spiritual dimensions in literature in favor of more tangible, material ones (race, sexuality, gender, class, and so on). Hermeneutics, once an enterprise that was vibrant and widely accepted (up into the 1980s) has, in the climate of poststructuralist theories and postmodern suspicion of metanarratives, lost its fervor within academia. It is important, in my view, to recognize that the Christian philosophy provides a valid tool for studying literature. Literature, as humankind’s textual mirror par excellence, can illuminate, under the lens of faith, profound facets of our identities that surpass merely the physical and material. In the way that the unconscious and the traumatic can become unveiled when subscribing literary texts to a psychoanalytical reading, the spiritual dimensions of fiction can be located when a religious perspective is deliberately deployed to investigate it. In this sense, the biblical notion of spiritual ‘truths expressed’ in ‘spiritual words’ in 1 Corinthians 2:13 takes on a weightier relevance in the area of literary studies. The following verse goes on to say that ‘The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned’ (Cor. 2:14; New International Version).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntersections in Christianity and Critical Theory
EditorsCassandra Falke
Place of PublicationBasingstoke UK
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Pages135-147
Number of pages13
Edition1st
ISBN (Electronic)9780230294684
ISBN (Print)9780230234802
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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