Phenomenology and Theology

Philosophy Today 62 (1):99-117 (2018)
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Abstract

Examining the ways in which two representatives of the “theological turn in French phenomenology” speak of the interrelationship between philosophy and theology, one may detect a number of tendencies which are deleterious both to philosophy and theology. The idea of an autonomous philosophy, pursued as an end in itself, needs to be defended against claims that philosophy can only flourish under theological tutelage. Again, the integrity of theology as a science of faith excludes any identification of theology as a kind of philosophy. Interaction between the two disciplines, especially in the border areas of apologetics, fundamental theology, religious philosophy, and philosophy of religion, can be fruitful only if a keen sense of their radical difference of orientation is sustained. Behind the swamping of phenomenology by theological concerns lies a series of misunderstandings of metaphysics and its overcoming as well as a misguided notion that phenomenology allows revealed theology to re-enter the French university under the rubric of philosophy.

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Joseph Stephen O'Leary
Nanzan University

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