Saturday, December 6, 2014

Immanent Polytheism (paper)

Thomas Millary has a new paper up on "Immanent Polytheism" which takes a new materialist and pluralist approach to theology using a diverse range of figures from James, to Latour, to Whitehead, to Connolly and Keller.

The interesting part of the paper is where Millary tries to fashion his own emergent-pluralist concept of gods rather than rely upon the (process-relational) concept of God as creative-ground and universal; or the traditional theistic notion of God as ultimate personality.  For Millary, the concept of gods, rather than the process of emergent creative becoming, cannot be grouped under one universal or concept, as God(s) is or are within panentheistic process theology or more traditional theism.  Millary states that a polytheistic notion of a multiplicity of divine personalities best expresses what a true pluralistic cosmotheology might achieve in rendering adequately divinity.

Thomas and I have corresponded some, and he participated in the Philadelphia Summer School of Continental Philosophy this past summer where John Caputo lectured (and incidentally Millary mentions Caputo's Divine Insistence book of this past year in his own paper).

The only thing I am left wondering, that I am always left wondering with polytheism, is what distinguishes divine multiple becomings (or personalities) as such from other multiple becomings.  It seems to me that the universal of creative ground found in panentheistic ontologies, which are indeed pluralistic as well, is that that creative ground is what precisely guarantees its own ontological integrity so as to be considered ultimate or divine.  Even if all mutiplicities house their own specific creative grounds, some are more capable than others, with only one taking the name "ultimate."  But with this, the notion of personality is lost.  So I haven't figured out how that works just yet.  Maybe Thomas has some thoughts.

Link to his paper HERE.