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MA E.F. Damen

Promovenda / PhD Candidate

E.F. (Enrieke) Damen (1989) is a PhD Researcher at the Protest Theological University in The Netherlands. She specializes in theological ethics and philosophy of religion. Her research focusses on the position of ethics in the work of John D. Caputo (1940) and Richard Kearney (1954), as both thinkers suggest a re-imagination or non-metaphysical return to God in which ethics plays a pivotal role.
She enjoys teaching, telling stories, all sorts of food, poetry, being in nature and sailing. 

PhD research summary
'Ethics and Christology in Post-Theism: Reclaiming the Everyday in the Work of John D. Caputo and Richard Kearney'

In recent years, socialists of religion (Beckford, Habermas) have reached a growing consensus that the Western world has entered a time that can be best labelled as the postsecular. The postsecular reveals not only that religion in the public domain has persisted against the expectations of secularisation theses, but moreover, postsecular expressions of religion—from its fundamentalist to its open-minded tendencies—challenge the idea that religion and the secular are separate or opposite notions. Central to this research project is the surfacing of a new discourse named post-theism - arguably one of the more cutting-edge and debated developments for systematic theology in these postsecular times.

In post-theism a different manner of thinking about God is introduced, situated at the intersection of both theological and (atheist) philosophical discourses. The research will concentrate on the work of the American philosopher and theologian John D. Caputo and the Irish philosopher Richard Kearney. Caputo and Kearney propose each in a distinct yet related way a re-imagination of God that moves beyond the traditional positions of theism and atheism. Hence, offering a non-metaphysical return to God in the midst of the secular. Although evident differences between their thinking can be discerned - Caputo proposes a hermeneutics of the impossible God and Kearney a hermeneutics of the possible God -  this study argues that their work shares a common ground. Namely, in the dynamics between the offered imagination of religious scriptures (theopoetics) and the ongoing interpretation and affirmation of those scriptures in everyday life (ethics). The focal point of this study is on the second component, ethics. 

In short, the post-theistic theologies of Caputo and Kearney offer in their transgression of the boundaries between the sacred and the secular not only innovative modes of theology that seems to be highly relevant for these post-secular times but furthermore, it offers a post-secular ethics that has remained unexplored thus far.


Prof. dr. F. de Lange (Professor of Ethics, PThU)
Prof. dr. G.J. van der Heiden (Professor of Fundamental Philosophy, Radboud University)