European philosophy and original sin in Stephen Mulhall

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Stephen Mulhall has distinguished himself as one of the most rigorous and constructive contemporary thinkers on European philosophy and its complicated relationship to Christian theology. A prominent locus of that relationship in his work is the Christian doctrine of original sin, and its criticism but also structural recapitulation in the work of Nietzsche, Heidegger, Sartre and others. This article begins with an overview of relevant themes and their development in Mulhall's writings. I then offer an account of the internal tensions Mulhall identifies in Heidegger et al's ambivalent contestation of original sin, and of his own response. The centre of this response is a reconfiguration of the character of the divine, and of human participation in that divine, as radical self-abnegation. I conclude with an appreciative critique of Mulhall's proposal as insufficiently responsive to the eschatological framework within which original sin has its doctrinal and ontological place in Thomist thought.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387–398
JournalNew Blackfriars
Issue number1076
Early online date9 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • Stephen Mulhall
  • Martin Heidegger
  • Stanley Cavell
  • Original Sin
  • Eschatology


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