• The Rhetorical Roots of Radical Orthodoxy: Augustinian Oratory and Ontology in Milbank's Theopo(e/li)tics

      Sweetman, Robert; Van't Land, Andrew R.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2013-08-21)
      This thesis engages the controversial work of political theologian John Milbank in light of the conceptual tools developed by the classical rhetorical tradition (particularly Augustine, Cicero, and Aristotle). I respond to three key criticisms of Milbank's anti-foundationalist metaphysics by re-describing his project as philosophical rhetoric. Firstly, while Milbank's polemical stance is often criticized as being primarily negative, I argue instead that it serve his larger goal of positively identifying with two traditions: orthodox Christianity and Continental post-structuralism. Secondly, while Milbank's metaphysics is critiqued as undermining his metarhetorical anti-foundationalism, I argue that both discursive modes (and their epistemological, political, and aesthetic implications) account for one another in his work. Thirdly, while the aggressive style of Milbank's scholarship is often criticized as contradicting the content of his ontology of peace, I propose instead that Milbank attempts to use the power of discourse to promote the peaceful Christian mythos.