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Von Hügel Institute

for Critical Catholic Inquiry

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Professor Johannes Hoff

Professor Johannes Hoff

Senior Research Associate

Honorary Professor, Department of Theology and Religion, Durham University


Biography:

Johannes Hoff was appointed VHI Senior Research Associate in 2019. He was Professor of Systematic and Philosophical Theology at Heythrop College in the University of London until 2018, and he is Honorary Professor at Durham University. Prior to this he was Professor of Philosophical Theology at Trinity St David’s University of Wales (previously University of Wales, Lampeter), Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham, and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen.

Hoff has been regularly involved in cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural research projects that focus on the significance of the philosophical and theological traditions for the post-confessional societies of our present time. This research aims to recover the intellectual and spiritual tools of premodern traditions as a means to create a 'providential cultural laboratory' for the future.

His first academic monograph appeared under the title Spiritualität und Sprachverlust in 1999 (Spirituality and the Loss of Language) and engaged with the theological implications of the work of Jürgen Habermas, Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Michel de Certeau. His second monograph on Nicholas of Cusa appeared under the title Kontingenz, Berührung, Überschreitung (Contingency, Tangency, Exceeding) in 2007.

Hoff’s first English speaking monograph, The Analogical Turn: Rethinking Modernity with Nicholas of Cusa (2013), brought his hitherto separate research projects on post-modernity and the Renaissance transition to modernity together. In this book, Hoff shows how Cusa developed an early response to the uncritical celebration of mathematically generated ‘pictures of the world’ in early modern art and science, and the related modern obsession with immersive virtual spaces. Later this book became the topic of various (on- and offline) symposia. It has firmly established Hoff’s position in contemporary discussions on the genealogy and future of our modern concepts of science and culture.

Many of his later publications, which frequently emerged out of his collaboration with representatives of contemporary art (Simon Njami, Christoph Schlingensief, Venice Biennale 2011, Bayreuth Festival 2011, et al.), focus on the tradition of spiritually shaped ‘performance practices’ – from Augustine (2009) and Dante (2014) to Hugo Ball (2012) and Christoph Schlingensief (2010). Most recently, Hoff has extended his research on the impoverished 'digital rationality' of our modern 'world-picture' to the digital revolutions that are currently transforming our life world with unforeseeable consequences. In his related publications, he has started to develop a 'sacramental anthropology'. This anthropology synthesizes the premodern teaching on symbolically charged ‘sacramental’ objects with contemporary discussions on the philosophy of technology. Following the ground-breaking research of Bernard Stiegler, Hoff argues that 'magic objects', artifices and technological devices are an essential feature of our animal nature, and that the phenomenon of ‘hybridisation’ is as old as the history of humanity. Alongside this research, Hoff has widely collaborated with colleagues from other disciplines such as computer science, information ethics, philosophy of media and technology, management and economics, psychology, and architecture/urban planning. This collaboration has led, for example, to the publication of the Anti-Transhumanist Manifesto in the Swiss daily 'Neue Zürcher Zeitung' (The Ghost of Transhumanism).

 

Research Interests

  • Digitisation – ‘Artificial Intelligence’ – History of Technology
  • Anthropology in a Post-digital Age
  • Post-modernity, Hermeneutics, and Critical Theory
  • Politics of Friendship
  • Philosophical Mysticism
  • Iconicity, Art and Religion
  • Sacramentality and Ecclesiology
  • Christology
  • Thomas Aquinas
  • Nicholas of Cusa and the Early Renaissance
  • German Idealism and Early Romanticism
  • Ressourcement Theology

Key Publications

Books

Hoff, Johannes, The Analogical Turn. Re-thinking Modernity with Nicholas of Cusa, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2013.

Hoff, Johannes, Kontingenz, Berührung, Überschreitung. Zur philosophischen Propädeutik christlicher Mystik nach Nikolaus von Kues. Freiburg/Br.: Alber Karl, 2007.

Articles [selected]

  • The Eclipse of Sacramental Realism in the Age of Reform. Re-thinking Luther's Gutenberg Galaxy in a Post-Digital Age, New Blackfriars, 2018
  • Iconicity and the Anamorphosis of Social Space. Retrieving Nicholas of Cusa's Political Pneumatology. In: Dürr, Walter; Negel, Joachim (eds), Komm Heiliger Geist! Reflexionen über das vielfältige und einheitstiftende Wirkung des heligen Geistes, Münster: Aschendorff, 2018
  • Mystagogische Zugänge zur Kirche als Leib Christi. Certeaus taktische Re-lektüre von Corpus Mysticum und das Vermächtnis Henri de Lubacs, in: Bauer, Christian; Sorace, Marco A. (eds), Gott, anderswo? Theologie im Gespräch mit Michel de Certeau, Mainz: Matthias Grünewald, 2018
  • Mystagogische Zugänge zur Kirche als Leib Christi: Certeaus taktische Re-lektüre von Corpus Mysticum und das Vermächtnis Henri de Lubacs. In: Bauer, Christian, Sorace, Marco A., (eds.) Gott, anderswo?: Theologie im Gespräch mit Michel de Certeau, Mainz: Matthias Grünewald, 2017
  • Mystagogy Beyond Onto-Theology: Looking Back to Post-Modernity with Nicholas of Cusa. In: Moritz, Arne, (ed.) A Companion to Nicholas of Cusa. Leiden: Brill, 2017
  • Diesseits von Theismus und Pan(en)theismus: Orthodoxie in einer Post-digitalen Welt. In: Nitsche, Bernhard, Stosch, Klaus von, Tatari, Muna, (eds.) Gott – Jenseits von Monismus und Theismus?, Paderborn: Schöningh, 2016
  • Liturgical Turn: Gottesrede in einer post-digitalen Welt. In: Viertbauer, Klaus, Schmidinger, Heinrich, (eds.) Glauben Denken : zur philosophischen Durchdringung der Gottrede im 21. Jahrhundert, Darmstadt: WBG, 2016: pp. 61-80.
  • The Visibility of the Invisible: the Vision of Space from Nicholas of Cusa to Alfred Hitchcock. In: Dobner, Heidemarie, (ed.) (UN)sichtbar: Erklärungsmuster um die Welt heute zu verstehen. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2015 pp. 20-31.
  • (with Hampson, Peter) Nicholas of Cusa: A Pre-modern Post-modern reader of Shakespeare. In: Lehmann Infeld , Zoë, Hampson, Peter, Milbank, Alison, (eds) Theology and Literature in Post-modernity. London - New York: T&T Clark, 2015: pp. 115-137.
  • Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Dante's Comedy and the Forgotten Truth of Apocalyptic Dreamworlds. In: Ambrožič, Mara, Njami, Simon, (eds.) The Divine Comedy Revisited by Contemporary African Artists. Berlin: Kerber Verlag, 2014: pp. 66-81.
  • The Visibility of the Invisible in Nicholas of Cusa. In: Nelstrop, Louise, Podmore, Simon, (eds) Between Christian Mysticism and Incarnational Theology: Transcendence and Immanence. Oxford: Ashgate, 2013: pp. 47-68.
  • Nikolaus von Kues (1401-1464). In: Hoff, G, N, Kortner , U. H. J., (eds.) Arbeitsbuch Theologiegeschichte: Diskurse. Akteure. Wissensformen. Band 1: 2. Bis 15. Jahrhundert. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2012: pp. 359-378
  • Leben in Fülle. Schlingensiefs Dekonstruktion der (Post-)Moderne. In: Gaensheimer, Susanne, (ed.) Deutscher Pavillon 2011. 54. Internationale Kusntaustellung La Biennale Di Venezia. Venedig: Kiwi, 2011: pp. 213-223.
  • The Rise and the Fall of the Kantian Paradigm of Modern Theology. In: Candler, Peter, (ed.) The Grandeur of Reason: Religion, Tradition and Universalism. London: SCM Press, 2010: pp. 167-196.
  • Das Paradox des Glaubens und der Holzweg moderner Entscheidungslogik. Kierkegaards Lektüre von Genesis 22 und ihre Wirkungsgeschichte von Heidegger bis Derrida und darüber hinaus. (The Paradox of Faith and the Dead End of the Modern Logic of Decision Making: Kierkegaard’s reading of Genesis 22 and its History of Reception from Heidegger to Derrida and beyond). In: Hoping, H, Knop , Julia, Bohm, Thomas, (eds.) Die Bindung Isaaks. Stimme, Schrift, Bild. Paderborn: Schoeningh Ferdinand GmbH, 2009: pp. 239-256.
  • Das Subjekt entsichern. Zur spirituellen Dimension des Subjektproblems ange­sichts der Dekonstruktion des cartesianischen Wissenschaftsparadigmas. In: Tod des Subjekts? Poststrukturalis­mus und christliches Denken. Innsbruck – Wien: Tyrolia, 2005: pp. 213-242.
  • Philosophie als performative Praktik. Spuren cusanischen Denkens bei Jacques Derrida und Michel de Certeau. In: Schwaeter, Harald, Reinhardt, Klaus, (eds.) Cusanus-Rezeption in der Philosophie des 20. Jahrhunderts. Regensburg: Roderer, 2005: pp. 93-120.
  • Dekonstruktive Metaphysik. Der Beitrag der Dekonstruktion zu Erschließung des Archivs negativer Theologie. In: Zellinger, Peter, Flatscher, Matthias, (eds) Kreuzungen Jacques Derridas. Geistergespräche zwischen Philosophie und Theologie, Wien: Turia & Kant, 2004: pp. 138-168.
  • Theologie nach dem Ende der 'Postmoderne'. Die Bedeutung Michel Foucaults für die diskursanalytische Grundlegung des Glaubens. In: Bauer, Christian, Hölzl, Michael, (eds) Gottes und des Menschen Tod? Die Theologie vor der Herausfor­de­rung Michel Foucaults, Mainz: Matthias-Grünewald-Verlag, 2003: pp. 79-104.
  • Amare tuum est videre tuum. Gottesbild und Spiritualität zwischen Tradition und Fremd­heits­erfahrung. In: Schmidinger, H, (ed.) Geist, Erfahrung, Leben. Spiri­tu­alität heute, Innsbruck: Tyrolia-Verla, 2003: pp. 207-244.


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