Irenic Ironic Unsayable: A Correlation of Franke and Wolfson
This chapter correlates two recent studies of apophasis: William Franke’s A Philosophy of the Unsayable and Elliot R. Wolfson’s Giving Beyond the Gift: Apophasis and Overcoming Theomania. Both works argue for the constructive importance of apophaticism in contemporary philosophy of religion, yet they do so with discrepant constructive intentions. Franke proposes apophatic insight as an irenic principle that lies at the intrinsic limits of every sectarian mode of saying, while Wolfson explicates the need for an ultimate apophasis of apophasis that lets go of attachment to the gift and its giver in favor of an unconditional phenomenological giving that puts behind it the shortcomings of theomania and idolatry alike. McCullough engages the two studies in quite different ways to allow the unique characteristics of each to emerge more sharply. Additionally, the theological thinking of Thomas J.J. Altizer is brought in as a third point of comparison.