Fortress Press

The Fragility of Language and the Encounter with God: On the Contingency and Legitimacy of Doctrine

The Fragility of Language and the Encounter with God

On the Contingency and Legitimacy of Doctrine

Florian Klug (Author), Marcus Pound (Foreword by)


$34.00Save 75%

Interested in a gratis copy?

How do you plan on using your gratis copy? Review requests are for media inquiries. Exam requests are for professors, teachers, and librarians who want to review a book for course adoption.


Drawing on recent philosophical developments in hermeneutics and poststructuralism, The Fragility of Language and the Encounter with God offers a theological account of the contingency of language and perception and of how acknowledging that contingency transforms the perennial theological question of the development of doctrine. Klug applies this account to humanity's encounter with God and its translation into language. Because there exists no neutral epistemological standpoint, Klug integrates contemporary insights on the theory of the subject (especially those of Žižek and Badiou) and presents humanity as a subject that transforms its experience of and with God into language and places it in a shared space for reception. But can the speaking subject have authority and legitimacy in making statements about the Absolute? What role do the Christian faithful play in evaluating that authority?

These questions are addressed both to biblical texts and doctrinal statements. Crucial is the Catholic perspective that legitimate statements of faith and insights are only possible through the Holy Spirit. However, humanity cannot command or control the Holy Spirit but can only show its influence indirectly through the receptive tradition of the universal church. The Fragility of Language and the Encounter with God argues that statements of faith cannot overcome contingency. Instead, the Catholic notion of receptive tradition attempts to cope rationally with the fragility of perception and language in humanity's orientation toward God.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506473680
  • eBook ISBN 9781506473697
  • Dimensions 6.25 x 9.25
  • Pages 146
  • Publication Date September 28, 2021


"Weaving together biblical testimony and Lacanian psychoanalysis, continental thought and conciliar documents, this book charts a promising course for Catholic theology by reimagining authority, not as an assertion of sovereign domination, but as an encounter and an opening to freedom."

Adam Kotsko, author of Neoliberalism's Demons

The Fragility of Language and the Encounter with God is a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary treatment, engaging with Scripture, postmodern philosophy, and philosophical theology, which offers a challenging and fundamental contribution to current debates on church doctrine and authority."

Stephan Van Erp, KU Leuven

"This is a deeply innovative and intelligent book . . . a stimulating interpretation of doctrine in the Catholic tradition as proclamations of hope and anticipation--that attempts to live in the gulf between human historicity and the intrusion of God into the world."

Ruth Jackson Ravenscroft, University of Cambridge

"This is an important book because it reminds women and men of today that the Christian God is a God of history. This has enormous consequences in order to understand the importance of language and ritual for religion and faith, in our age of god-like, all-powerful algorithms and big data."

Massimo Faggioli, Villanova University

"With wisdom, discernment, and a good deal of savvy, Klug models not only a deep and abiding commitment to a fides quaerens intellectum, but also the kind of intellectual charity, conceptual breadth, and genuine insight that characterize modern systematic theology at its best."

Jay Martin, University of Notre Dame

"This creative study persuasively underscores doctrine's role within the church's life as a response to, and as mediating an encounter with, the God revealed by Jesus Christ who remains semper maior."

Ryan G. Duns, SJ, Marquette University