Saturday, March 21, 2015

Tad DeLay's God is Unconscious: Some Additional Thoughts

Blog lurkers are a wonderful folk. Too shy to comment publicly, they nonetheless find their way to share their thoughts. I am happy to receive commentary on my posts in any manner, and I am equally happy to keep lurkers anonymous, yet some have critiqued my recent review of Tad DeLay's new book, and so I will cryptically and elliptically respond in this little addendum to my original review

First, I must say that I do not know DeLay apart from his work. I have not attended any venue where we might have met (though I would love to get to a conference). Second, I do not think my review was especially generous; my facetious prolegomenon underscored the problematical nature of Lacanian (or any brand) psychoanalysis. 

That being said, I maintain that Tad has written a very useful treatise on the nexus of psychoanalysis and religion/theology/Christianity. He speaks clearly in his own voice in the first person, and allows Lacan to do the same in the ample quotations provided. The analysis is sound and smoothe and the reader always knows who is saying what. In this regard, Tad's book is more successful than Zizek's How to Read Lacan (referenced in God is Unconscious), which should have done the same.

On the rare occasion that I review a book, I think the work critiqued should be given pride of place and not my own cleverness (I have a blog to do that!). The point is that DeLay's book 'works.' If I were to identify an aspect of the book's argument that I view with a jaundiced eye, that would be how Tad appropriates Caputo's notion of insistence. In the discourse of Lacanian psychoanalysis, the unconscious has too much force, ousia, to insist the way God insists in Caputo's theopoetics. The unconscious has a materiality in psychoanalysis that is completely absent from Caputo's call from he knows not where. But this is a quibble in the scheme of things.

I stand by the thrust of my original review, and I recommend Tad's book to anyone looking to make sense of Lacan and the application of psychoanalysis to religion and theology. Peter Rollin's Foreword to the book has got it just about right in identifying the potential impact on theology of Tad's work.


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  2. Thank you for your comment, and thanks for reading with us.