Why Study Philosophy and Theology? A Gem from John Caputo

Now that I am knee-deep in a second masters degree in theology, I sometimes ask myself why. Why not study something more pragmatic, more practical, something with more “cash value” than systematics? Does all of this matter? Does anyone else even care?

And then I stumbled across this quote from John Caputo’s Philosophy and Theology (which I devoured today in one sitting):

Philosophy and theology are for wounded souls. Indeed those of us who take up the study of any of the humanities, of language and literature, history and art, philosophy and theology, or any of the natural sciences, have been pierced to the heart by something precious, beautiful, deep, and enigmatic that leaves us reeling. We know that the doctors are not telling us everything, the the wound will not heal, that we are not going to recover.We have suffered a blow that has destroyed our equilibrium; we have been shaken by a provocation, by something that has left us breathless, pursued by questions that we cannot still. We have been visited by some affliction that results in tremors… but also has this other oddity about it— this disorder induces an affection for our affliction, that the patients have no wish to be healed, to close this wound over, to arrest the tremors. For we live and breathe in the tremulousness of our lives, exposed to the questionability of things, made vulnerable to love’s wounds, visited in the night by questions of elemental power, shaken to the core by voices that will not be stilled.

Indeed. There is a deeper layer of reality beyond sense and science, and it haunts us. I plunge in, because I cannot do otherwise.

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