On the Darkness of Being

Team Members/Contributors

Elaine Padilla New York Theological Seminary Contact Me

About this sabbatical grant for researchers

My sabbatical grant project is to research and write a book on the trope of darkness. Going beyond what recent negative theological and continental philosophical appreciation of the transcendent mystery can provide, I propose to delve into the semiotics of the beauty and complexity of nature as it bears upon issues of gender and race. In doing so, I will have to deconstruct the imaginary in theological thinking, and in church teaching and practice that hinders positive constructions of the darkened female self by implicitly favoring luminosity and writing off as ignoble certain misunderstood signs of physicality. Secondly, the project aims at reclaiming visions of the mystery in which darkness contains an earthy flavor, the religious imagery that also informs its connectivity to this natural world. To attain these two goals, the project relies on the contributions (though not exclusively so) of feminism, process thought, and pragmatism. Its inflection comes primarily through Caribbean history, religious thought and practice perceived through the tinted glasses of colonization. The intended conversation partners are students in graduate level programs, including seminarians preparing for the practice of ministry, and academicians seeking to engage in theological and philosophical thought pertaining to the symbols embedded in religious practice and discourse.