In the Throe of Wonder

Intimations of the Sacred in a Post-Modern World

By Jerome A. Miller

Subjects: Philosophy
Paperback : 9780791409541, 222 pages, July 1992
Hardcover : 9780791409534, 222 pages, July 1992

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Table of contents


1. The Love of Wisdom and the Consolations of Fallibility


Traditional Widsom and its Post-Modern Unmasking
The Flight to Intuition
The Throe as Arche


2. Wonder as Hinge


Wonder as Rupture
The Re-presentative Picture and the Vocative Image
Being as the Toward-Which of Wonder
Intimations of the Sacred


3. On the Way between Heidegger and Lonergan


The Emergence of the World as World
The Transcendental Turn to World-Making
Deconstruction and Ontological Conversion
Judgment and the Call of Being


4. Worlds


Worlds as Hierophanies
Centripetal Pull and Centrifugal Radiance
The Tragic Quest for an Undeconstructible World
Worlds as Games and the Demise of the Sacred
The Return of the Repressed


5. Amphibolies of Love and Death


Instinct and the Desire to Control
Eros as Celebration
Ironies of Death and Dying


6. The Experience of Horror and the Deconstruction of the Self


The Horror of Deconstruction and the Dream of Totality
Intimations of Nothingness
Anguish and the Acknowledgment of One's Nothingness


7. Temporality as Rupture


Death as Throe
The Toward-Which of Temporality
Time's Other


8. In the Throe of the Absolute Other


The Objectivist Framework of the Traditional Argument
Wonder as the Original Conversion
Nothingness and its Difference from Absence
Radical Conversion
Awe as the Toward-Which of Wonder and Horror
The Opening to Otherness




This book is a meditation on the experiences of wonder, horror, and awe, and an exploration of their ontological import. It argues that these experiences are not, as our culture often presumes, merely subjective, emotive responses to events that happen in the world. Rather, they are transformative experiences that fracture our ordinary lives and, in so doing, provide us access to realities of which we would otherwise be oblivious. Wonder, horror, and awe, like the experiences of love and death to which they are so intimately related, are not events that happen in our world but events that happen to it and thus alter our life as a whole. Miller explores the impact of that transformation — its deconstructive effect on our ordinary sense of our selves, and the breakthrough to a new understanding of being which it makes possible.

Jerome A. Miller teaches philosophy at Salisbury State University in Maryland. He is the author of The Way of Suffering: A Geography of Crisis.


"Jerome Miller has done close to the impossible. He has brought the arcane prose of post-Heideggerian 'philosophy of difference' into contact with our initial wonder before the 'otherness' of the world, and so shown us the import of that current philosophical idiom. The reasoning is as tight as the subject is elusive; here is philosophy being done in a way that mitigates jargon and makes contact with that original wonder which impels us to want to know, as well as with our disillusion with those forms of knowledge which colonize rather than open us to the 'other. ' Difference beckons as well as threatens; the end of one knowledge opens us to another. Miller does for phenomenology what Michael McCarthy has done for analytic philosophy: used the work of Bernard Lonergan most judiciously to show how the dynamism of our intellects can reach beyond ossified versions of reason. " — David Burrell, C. S. C. , University of Notre Dame