Erich Przywara was a Jesuit priest, philosopher, and theologian of German- Polish origin, who .. John Betz, “Translator’s Introduction,” in Erich Przywara, Analogia Entis: Metaphysics: Original Structure and Universal Rhythm, Eerdmans , Grand. ERICH PRZYWARA: A NEW EVALUATION Karl Barth, and the German Jesuit, Erich . analogy of being, the analogia entis; he argues that the. Erich Przywara’s Interventions in the Philosophy and Theology of the s The first thing to say about the analogia entis is that Przywara did not invent it;.

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As most attendants of the przhwara undergraduate philosophy lecture can attest, the study of Being is not usually associated with interesting tempo or timbre, nor does it inspire much in the way of dancing. At face value, then, metaphysics and rhythm seem a rather unlikely pair.

Metaphysics — Original Structure and Universal Rhythm. Pryzwara is empirical without being an empiricist. He is conscious of historicality and historicity without falling into relativism. He is intimately familiar with the philosophy being written in his time, yet he is not swayed by appeals to novelty.

He draws from the history of metaphysical thought, but he is seemingly immune to any tendencies toward nostalgia or stagnation. He has universal aims, yet he does not totalize or violently systematize.

The central question of Analogia Entis relates to the simultaneous erih and dissimilarity between God and creatures, and Przywara grounds his response to this tension in both an impassioned pursuit of knowledge and a respect for the teachings and traditions of his faith.

Erich Przywara

In fact, he sees the latter as the culmination of and condition for the former. Mapping and navigating the tensions between ontology and phenomenology, object and subject, being and becoming, essence and existence, a priori and a posteriori methodologies, etc. According to Przywara, analogy is rightly defined as a suspended relation, a tension between two poles, not reified as its position, but always pointing beyond itself.

The analogia entis is the principle by which the movement of this relation inheres, pointing all creatures toward and situating all things relative to the God in-and-beyond-creation.

The divine is always infinitely beyond the creaturely, providing the very possibility of any and all essences, all existences, and all analogies. And yet, through a gratuity beyond limitation, we are invited to know the composer of the universal rhythm by and in which all things live, move, and have their being. A robust principle of analogy provides Przywara with the precision to enter into nuanced engagement with diverse thinkers and theories, promoting and transposing a tradition that is always actively reaching in-and-beyond-itself toward the Beautiful, the True, and the Good.

Metaphysics — Original Structure and Universal Rhythmtrans. All subsequent references are in the parenthetical citations. Erich Przywara — is quite dead. It is a strange decision, then, to feature a work of his at Syndicate Theologywhich has spent its efforts exclusively among living authors thus far. And yet, when asked what new book I was most excited about, Analogia Entisfirst written in and revised intranslated into English for the first time inwas the book that came to mind.

It was also the one that would not let me leave it aside for the sake of something else. This is a Syndicate symposium on a book written by a dead author, on an old book that is new in English. This is, rather fittingly, a symposium very much about the delicate pairing of apparent opposites. This symposium is in many ways a ressourcement: I wanted to have this symposium precisely for its collision of opposites, and I wanted to feature Przywara precisely for his ability to navigate them.

It is my hope that this symposium can help us to see how Przywara is important to contemporary theological thought both because he profoundly influenced it, and because the elemental form of his thought is decisive for how contemporary thought could be.

This essay is designed to help readers familiarize themselves with Przywara and to help them participate in the symposium. His essay is available through a link on this page.

John Betz, one of the primary translators of Analogia Entishas been kind enough to provide an overall response to the panel and its contributors, and his first note to us sets the tone for what is to follow.


The symposium proper consists in several contributors, each of whom—save a couple of exceptions—writes a primary response to Analogia Entis and also writes a response to one of the other panel members. They speak on their own and to one another. It is meant to imitate what a conference panel on Przywara might look like, or to imitate the dialogue of voices Przywara himself employs, and each set of responses is meant to incite further discussion beyond what panelists themselves have arranged ahead of time.

Syndicate readers are encouraged to contribute their own responses at each successive turn. I want to thank each of the contributors to this panel for their care and effort, for their thoughtfulness and dedication. I greatly look forward to the discussion we have now that the symposium begins.

The analogia entis has a PR problem. As a metaphysical principle, the analogy of being has been rejected by almost all theologians and philosophers of religion since Barth who are not Roman Catholic or associated with Radical Orthodoxy. No longer primarily a Catholic vs.

Protestant issue, the cause of analogy has been taken up by a trans-denominational group of thinkers who nevertheless share certain theological and ideological tendencies. Both sides are in part responsible for the current standoff.

Certainly, its critics sometimes reduce analogy to a caricature. However, this caricature is in part derived from some of the ways proponents of Radical Orthodoxy describe analogy. Even when the significance of motion is suggested, it is as a circular motion that preemptively determines legitimate movements through a top-down structure rather than as new creative expressions.

Unfortunately, metaphysical analogy is now almost exclusively associated with this movement and consequently with concepts like hierarchy, order, emanation, mathematical form, and the rejection of time and history.

The recovery of this articulation of analogy furnishes us with new ways to imagine analogy. I emphasize imagination because I suspect that many objections to analogy are not in fact objections to the doctrine as such but to the particular ways that the idea is presented to the imagination.

Przywara breaks these conventions open, and this is appropriate to his belief that one of the functions of analogy is a sort of iconoclasm. As a creaturely construct, the analogia entis is a form that always points beyond itself — It is not the basis of a finished system, but enables one to see beyond all systems to the ever new Analogy thereby frees the imagination to anticipate ericch new. So, how can the relationship between Analigia and creature be imagined in a way that explodes closed systems and invites the ever new?

Przywara achieves this by conceiving of analogy, not as a aanlogia between two things —God and creature—the nature of which is known in advance, but as an interplay of movements between two analogies that are themselves in motion.

Reading the Analogia Entisanalovia can feel like one is being tossed about on the waves. Analogy is not a static principle; its aim is to indicate the dynamism of the relation as experienced by the creature. Here is how Przywara uses analogy to indicate this dynamism, best as I can describe it: First, intra-creaturely reality is already, in itself, an analogy, by which Przywara means an oscillation of the creature in its essence-in-and-beyond-existence.

The creature is not a circumscribable thing unto itself, but a taking-place that is only held together through an encounter with something beyond itself. Second, the implication of beginning with this intra-creaturely analogy is that the second analogy between the intra-creaturely and the beyond, which Przywara calls the theological analogy, cannot be thought independently of the oscillating, creaturely perspective and therefore also has the form drich an oscillating tension, this time between intimacy and alterity: Finally, the encounter between these two analogies—the intra-creaturely and the theological—is the analogia entis.

The two analogies are not held together in a principle that could be observed at a remove, but through movements in which the human creature is always already a participant. For the creature, it is not possible to grasp the whole of history, truth, and reality at once, but only to move with the current and to allow oneself to be ever more deeply grasped by it. To know is to open oneself to being known The function of the analogia entis is therefore soteriological; it sets the creature free for the movements appropriate to itwhich in turn opens the creature to the divine, and is not primarily a mechanism for enabling the creature to grasp the nature of reality as a whole.


According to Przywara, this means that there is a plenitude of configurations of analogy It is a current that swells into different waves through the tradition of its articulation, always recognizable as a wave but always slightly different in form.

Analogy does not grasp the whole of the current but rides it faithfully. According to the way that Przywara describes it, then, the analogia entis is not a metaphysics of presence. Revelation saturates the horizon of creaturely experience, meaning that it is encountered by the creature as an experience, but only as an experience that re-shapes the conditions erichh contours of experience itself.

A pragmatic theology of absence is the attempt to open the creature to an event that cannot be contained within the conditions of knowledge of experience but that nevertheless has an impact on the creature by making possible a new sort of knowledge and experience. I think Marion is right in suggesting that Przywara does something similar.

Erich Przywara – Wikipedia

In the analogia entisrelation at its peak reveals the alterity between God and creature and vice versa. Intimacy—an encounter with God in experience—is the same point at which the confines of experience itself are exploded. The analogia entis can only indicate the movements through which the temporal creature participates in this paradox, movements of harmony, oscillation, and interruption, for the same purpose as Marion, namely to open frich the creature to a knowledge of God that is a knowledge of a different sort.

The relation between God and creature is primarily experienced and performed, rather than primarily conceptualized It is not a static, logical form, but a dynamic, lived rhythm The rhythmic movements in which humans are always already embedded make up the horizon of experience in which God is encountered, but this encounter manifests as a productive interruption to those everyday rhythms, forming those rhythms in new ways. So, rather than imagining analogy according to the erihc of a preestablished structure of correspondence between eternity and time, in which created reality is merely a lesser manifestation of the form of eternity, Przywara invites us to imagine analogy differently and in the process, to imagine the role of imagination itself differently.

Erkch it indicates a metaphysical situation, it does so only provisionally, as if indicating a paradox, and always for the purpose of opening the creature to this encounter. In the end, then, Przywara gives us not just a particular vision of analogy, but a way of imagining doctrine differently. Rather than attempt to articulate a doctrine as a discreet circumscribable object, he approaches doctrine rhythmically, articulating it as a process of moving between perspectives because one can never see the whole from a single position.

The relationship przywarz theology and imagination is such that theology is always responsible to incite the imagination to reach beyond its habitual furrows, something sorely needed in the current conversation surrounding analogy. Przywara thus attempts to adopt for theology what Virginia Woolf embodied for writing in general, namely that a piece of writing is a manifestation of the rhythm of a particular person as he or she moves between ideas.

In her book The Wavespublished only one year pezywara Analogia EntisVirginia Woolf uses wave imagery to describe how various persons experience and interact with the rhythms of anaalogia reality and their own inner experience.

These characters are personifications przywraa the diverse and variable meanings that surround rhythm, arising out of the intersection of large cosmic and social movements analoiga individual experience. What Woolf reveals is the difficulty involved in talking about rhythm in any direct way due to the multiplicity of its meanings and manifestations, and its inextricability from the roots of human perception.

It is to this we are attached; it is to this we are bound, as bodies to wild horses. And yet we have invented devices for filling up the crevices and disguising these fissures. John MilbankTheology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason Oxford: Blackwell,; Adrian Pabst, Metaphysics: The Creation of Hierarchy Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,xxviii, 90— Routledge,1. Jean-Luc Marion, In Excess: Studies in Saturated Phenomenatrans. Fordham University Press,n Virginia Woolf, The Waves London: Vintage, ,

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