Philosophy and Theology 10 (2):421-448 (1997)

Karl Rahner distinguishes “the experience of grace” and “the experience of grace as grace.” How is the experience of grace to be understood? How is grace experienced? This article attempts to understand the experience of grace in terms of Maurice Blanchot’s thought of the impossible. “Human life is impossible,” as Simone Weil reflects. Blanchot, particularly through a reflection which echoes that of Levinas, seeks to reverse the relationship between possibility and impossibility. Whereas, for Heidegger, the subject is to be understood in terms of possibility, Blanchot stresses the impossibility of human life which is only rendered possible through an initiative which is prior to the subject. The impossible relation with the other is the context for any possibility the self may have. With regard to grace, we argue its prior necessity, and its experience as impossible. Like suffering and death, the experience of grace is not the possibility of impossibility, but the impossibility of possibility. Maurice Blanchot himself remains relatively unfamiliar, he and his thoughts remaining in themselves inaccessible. Michel Foucault quite simply writes, “so far has he withdrawn into the manifestation of his work, so completely is he, not hidden by his texts, but absent from their existence, that for us he is that thought itself—its real, absolutely distant, shimmering, invisible presence, its inevitable law, its calm, infinite measured strength”. To a world espoused to philosophies of light and systems of integration, Blanchot’s thought presents itself as a “thought from outside” of any philosophy and any system, and refuses, as Levinas, says, to “see in philosophy the ultimate possibility.”
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Philosophy and Religion
Categories (categorize this paper)
ISBN(s) 0890-2461
DOI philtheol199710221
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 70,163
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Holy Grace or Moral Behaviour?Rodica Croitoru - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 45:95-100.
The Grace We Are Owed: Human Rights and Divine Duties.James B. Gould - 2008 - Faith and Philosophy 25 (3):261-275.
The Exposure of Grace: Dimensionality in Late Heidegger.Andrew J. Mitchell - 2010 - Research in Phenomenology 40 (3):309-330.
De Lubac, Grace, Politics and Paradox.Francesca A. Murphy - 2010 - Studies in Christian Ethics 23 (4):415-430.


Added to PP index

Total views
32 ( #356,656 of 2,507,018 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
11 ( #68,194 of 2,507,018 )

How can I increase my downloads?


Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

My notes