4982 theology

with dialectical materialism and psychoanalysis.
The old notion of a literary work as a unique
bounded entity expressing the intentions of an
individual author was replaced with the semiotic
notion of text as an intertextual transforma
tion of other texts. Kristeva introduced
intertext to translate Mikhail Bakhtins dia
logical word the idea that every word is a
crossroads of other words, opening onto the
entire field of language, with meaning as an
ideological struggle for possession of the field.
Derridas trace expresses a similar idea that
every sign carries the traces of all other signs.
The shift of identity experience in electracy is
related to the death of the author, which
Barthes reminds us is also the birth of the reader.
Or, rather, text deconstructs the opposition
between writer and reader, since what it names
is not an inherent property of completed works,
but a productivity of signification produced
by the reader reworking the found materials of
discourse. Text theatricalizes the encounter
of the subject with language. Subject is not
the person, but the identity position ideologi
cally constructed in culture. The subject does
not speak language, but is spoken by it. There
is no position of critical distance outside the text,
outside history or society, from which to judge
This loss of control over intention is compen
sated for by a new relationship of the subject
immersed in discourse, which Barthes charac
terizes as bliss. Signification does not con
cern communication or message, but a new
dimension of logic, of inference, which Barthes
compares to Freuds dreamwork (condensation
and displacement). The technical, vanguard,
and theoretical trajectories converge on this
insight: the rhetoric of hypertext is precisely
poetry (Bushs associative thinking, or what
Marcos Novak called liquid architecture).
Poetry, or more generally the aesthetic opera
tions observed in all varieties of creative think
ing, contains the resources which it is the task of
educators and designers today to translate into a
general electracy that is to digital culture
what general literacy is to print culture.

SEE ALSO: Cyberculture; Deconstruction;
Digital; Internet; Media Literacy; Postmodern
ism; Poststructuralism; Semiotics
Aarseth, E. J. (1997) Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergo
dic Literature. Johns Hopkins University Press,
Bolter, J. D. (1991) Writing Space: The Computer,
Hypertext, and the History of Writing. Lawrence
Erlbaum, Hillsdale, NJ.
Eco, U. (1995) The Search for the Perfect Language.
Trans. J. Fentress. Blackwell, Oxford.
Manovich, L. (2001) The Language of New Media.
MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Nelson, T. H. (1989) A File Structure for the Com-
plex, the Changing, and the Indeterminate. In:
Wardrip-Fruin, N. & Montfort, N. (Eds.), The
New Media Reader. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
Ulmer, G. L. (1989) Teletheory: Grammatology in the
Age of Video. Routledge, New York.
Wardrip-Fruin, N. & Montfort, N. (Eds.) (1989) The
New Media Reader. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.


Karl Gabriel

The modern conception of theology as both a
faithful and rational or scientific way of talking
about God dates from the Christian Middle
Ages. Theology as a term is rooted in Greek
philosophy, which consisted of three parts: the
mythology of the gods, theology as a form of
philosophy of nature, and political theology as a
public cult. Christendom only reluctantly
accepted the term. It is only from the twelfth
century onwards that the term theology is com
monly used for this science of Christian faith
in contrast to the term philosophy. The late
Middle Ages finds the term entirely accepted
and it is even taken over by Martin Luther. In
modern times it is especially used to distinguish
between religious philosophy and religious stu
dies on the one hand and Christian doctrine on
the other.
Christian theology finds its roots in the bib
lical tradition. In its first phase since the second
century, theology was dominated by the apolo
getical defense of faith from external attack
as well as inner gnostic debate. Clement of