Speculative Grace: Bruno Latour and Object-Oriented Theology | BYU Studies

Speculative Grace: Bruno Latour and Object-Oriented Theology

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Speculative Grace: Bruno Latour and Object–Oriented Theology
Author Adam S. Miller
New York: Fordham University Press, 2013

Speculative Grace: Bruno Latour and Object-Oriented Theology

Reviewer Brent J. Schmidt

Adam Miller's work Speculative Grace deserves more than one reading. In essence, it is metaphysical poetry utilizing Bruno Latour's writings to approach theology outside of a traditional, theistic, and orthodox worldview. Latour's avant-garde, object-oriented philosophy (OOP), in brief, analyzes the components, forces, limitations, and interactions of material objects in an ordinary universe. Paradoxically, Miller's work uses a nontheistic worldview to discuss theology in order to break the hold of conventional thinking about grace. Reminiscent of how the Roman epicurean philosopher Lucretius poetically promoted Epicurus's Greek ideas to a Roman audience in his De Rerum Natura, Miller's hypotheses about OOP are grounded in the nuances of Latour's multidisciplinary studies and are adapted to the subgenre of philosophical writing.

Miller introduces the Latourian notion that the essence of grace is in all objects—not only in the unconditional gift of a transcendent deity. Miller envisions grace as emanating from all objects, including all material things. The expression of work and suffering, agency and evil are found in the interactions of equal objects within a democratically structured cosmos. Erudite Latin terms such as a tergo progressively occupy space in the text alongside mundane terminology, such as "black boxes," to become the flat objects found in Miller's interpretation of Latour.