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Cook B. Pursuing Eudaimonia: Re-appropriating the Greek Philosophical Foundations of the Christian Apophatic Tradition

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Cook B. Pursuing Eudaimonia: Re-appropriating the Greek Philosophical Foundations of the Christian Apophatic Tradition
Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. — 2013. — 290 p. — ISBN-10: 1443842249; ISBN-13: 978-1443842242.
This book offers an original account of an ancient, alternative form of 'negative' reason which stands in antithesis to its modern instrumental form which has dominated thinking about the pursuit of human development since the Enlightenment. It advances arguments for the recovery of such reason as a spiritual and therapeutic way of life and demonstrates that it is impossible to fully appreciate the Christian apophatic tradition without investigating the intricacies of its philosophical heritage. The aim of this discussion is the retrieval and rediscovery of invaluable insights from ancient philosophy in the universal pursuit of happiness. The book's re-appropriation of the 'negative' philosophical and theological articulation of the pursuit of eudaimonia offers to redirect those living in the twenty-first century towards the significance of the Christian apophatic ascent and in so doing to assist them in uncapping the wellsprings of human passion, desire and happiness.
Table of contents
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Chapter outline
Methodology: Lectio divina
Human development today: Why think differently?
Rationale and Christian context
The Greek vision of eudaimonia
Voices of challenge (by discipline)
The philosophical foundations of the Enlghtenment legacy
The constructive (post)modern context: other solutions to the problematic
The philosophical pursuit of the fullest human fl ourishing in classical thought
Readings of the Platonic coprus and later Platonic philosophy
Mapping lectio divina
The experience of aporia as precursor of negative theology: the Socratic pursuit of Wisdom as a spiritual way of life
Erotic desire for ultimate beauty characterised by aporia
The genealogy of Eros
The veracity of the Socratic claim of ignorance
Pursuing eudaimonia: Retrieving the Greek philosophical foundations of the Christian apophatic tradition
Mapping lectio divina
The genesis of the apophatic tradition: the rise to power of Logos
Parmenides’ idea of one reality: the emerging philosophical foundations of the apophatic tradition
Two signs intersecting with Plato’s contemplative ideal foreshadowing the development of the apophatic tradition
The inspiratio of Apollo’s theia mania
Parmenides’ poetic account of the goddess Night’s revelation of two ways of inquiry
Plato’s contemplative priority: establishing the philosophical foundations of the Graeco-Christian apophatic tradition
Heightening of religious sensibilities and doubts about Logos: Middle Platonism and the fi rst exponents of negative theology
The apophatic ‘genuine article’ of Neoplatonism
The Graeco-Christian apophatic tradition
Mapping lectio divina
The emergence of the via negativa
Philo: marrying Plato with Jewish Biblical faith
Clement of Alexandria, the fi rst Christian theologian to develop negative theology
Gregory of Nyssa, the theologian of darkness and of the soul’s perpetual progress
The ecstasy of self-transcending deifying union: the summit of Pseudo-Dionysius’Mystical Theology
Conclusion
Affirming my concluding hypothesis: Wittgenstein seeks recourse to ‘negative’ thinking
Ancient Greek philosophy timeline
Notes
Bibliography
Index
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