This book represents the most comprehensive attempt to date to explore and test Derrida's contribution and influence on the study of theology, biblical studies, and the philosophy of religion. Over the course of the last decade, the writings of Derrida and the key concepts that emerge from his work such as the gift, apocalypse, hospitality, and messianism have wrought far-reaching and irresistible changes in the way that scholars approach biblical texts, comparative religious studies, and religious violence, for instance, as well (...) as the way they understand basic religious themes as myth, creation, forgiveness, one-ness, and multiplicity. In addition to original contributions from over twenty highly-regarded scholars including John Caputo, Daniel Boyarin, Edith Wyschogrod, Tim Beal, and Gil Anidjar, the volume opens with a lengthy interview with Derrida. (shrink)
What did Jesus mean by the expression, the Kingdom of God? As an answer, Kevin Hart sketches a "phenomenology of the Christ" that explores the unique way Jesus performs phenomenology. According to Hart, philosophers and theologians continually reinterpret Jesus’s teaching of the Kingdom so that there are effectively many Kingdoms of God. Working in, while also displacing, a tradition inaugurated by Husserl and continued by philosophers such as Heidegger, Marion, and Lacoste, Hart puts forward a new phenomenology of religion that (...) claims that ethics and religion are not always unified or continuous. (shrink)
This essay explores the adventures of the word “without” in Jacques Derrida's work from the mid-1970s until his death. It is argued that Derrida comes to Yale primarily with a new reading of Kantian formalism in mind and that this in part explains both the ready acceptance and the resistance he found at Yale. It is further argued that by the time Derrida left Yale in the mid-1980s, the word “without” was serving a new end: ethics and religion. And yet (...) Derrida remained Kantian in his main emphases. (shrink)
Franz Rosenzweig's The Star of Redemption comes before the Shoah and Maurice Blanchot's The Writing of the Disaster comes after it. The one addresses itself with hope to the figure of a star; the other meditates on the state of being without a guiding star. The figure of Emmanuel Levinas stands between these two works, since Totality and Infinity is marked by Rosenzweig's critique of totality and The Writing of the Disaster is in part a response to Levinas's philosophy. Both (...) Rosenzweig and Blanchot propose a new way of thinking, one that calls unity into question. This essay seeks to clarify what ‘thought’ means for Rosenzweig and for Blanchot. In what ways do Rosenzweig and Blanchot converge? In what ways do they diverge? (shrink)
This essay seeks to explore contemplation as it features in Christian theology and philosophy, both ancient and modern. Contemplation, in ancient philosophy, is transformed in Christian theology; nonetheless, it has the structure of what Jean Wahl calls ‘transascendance’, a rising to the heights. Although contemplation remains as a theme in modern Christian theology, it drops out in modern philosophy: that is, post-Renaissance philosophy. And yet it returns, both in analytic and continental philosophy, in the twentieth century. It returns, however, in (...) the mode of ‘transdescendance’: by way of conditions of possibility, and fundamental orientations. (shrink)
This chapter presents what people think about God and how one should act in this world. It discusses how people should pray, and that, if possible, one could pray through poetry. It also discusses why poetry is considered as sacrament, on how its writings reflect one's belief. It focuses on “Lachrimae”, a poem that exemplifies sacramental manner.
In March 1956 there appeared in Monde Nouveau a relatively short piece by Emmanuel Levinas called “Maurice Blanchot et le regard du poète.” It is an extended review of L’Espace littéraire, published by Gallimard the previous summer, which is also laced with a polemic against Heidegger. Levinas observes that Blanchot is close to the Heidegger of Vorträge und Aufsätze, almost to the point of immediate intellectual intuition, but he is just as quick to register the distance between the two on (...) a decisive issue: on Blanchot’s account of literature we are led away from the world of dwelling and rootedness that Heidegger affirms in his meditations on art. Here as elsewhere, Levinas is profoundly disturbed by Heidegger’s slighting of ethics and, in turning to show that his friend finds a way beyond the primacy of Sein, he observes parenthetically that Blanchot “also abstains from ethical preoccupations, at least in explicit form.” A little later he remarks, more pointedly, that Blanchot’s concern with “authenticity” must one day “herald an order of justice” if it is to be more than “a consciousness of the lack of seriousness of edification, anything other than derision”. Clearly, Levinas is uneasy at the proximity of his friend to the Heidegger of Sein und Zeit and beyond, having freed himself from “the climate of that philosophy,” starting in “De l’évasion” and then more completely in De l’existence à l’existent. The invitation is for Blanchot to render his ethics explicit. Levinas’s review even hints at how this can be done. Other essays by Levinas, later collected in Sur Maurice Blanchot, return to the prediction or hope registered in this review that someone will express “the latent meaning” of his friend’s novels and récits, and there is no doubt when reading his reflections on L’Attente l’oubli and La Folie du jour that for Levinas their manifest meaning is ethical, at least in part. (shrink)
Maurice Blanchot is perhaps best known as a major French intellectual of the twentieth century: the man who countered Sartre's views on literature, who affirmed the work of Sade and Lautreamont, who gave eloquent voice to the generation of '68, and whose philosophical and literary work influenced the writing of, among others, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, and Michel Foucault. He is also regarded as one of the most acute narrative writers in France since Marcel Proust. In __Clandestine Encounters__, Kevin Hart (...) has gathered together major literary critics in Britain, France, and the United States to engage with Blanchot's immense, fascinating, and difficult body of creative work. Hart's substantial introduction usefully places Blanchot as a significant contributor to the tradition of the French philosophical novel, beginning with Voltaire's _Candide _in 1759, and best known through the works of Sartre. __Clandestine Encounters_ _considers a selection of Blanchot's narrative writings over the course of almost sixty years, from stories written in the mid-1930s to _L'instant de ma mort_. Collectively, the contributors' close readings of Blanchot's novels, _recits_, and stories illuminate the close relationship between philosophy and narrative in his work while underscoring the variety and complexity of these narratives. "Blanchot's narratives are here read with the care, patience, and thoroughness they deserve. The collection sustains a remarkable intensity of engagement throughout, in so doing opening these narratives out to their necessary contexts--philosophical, of course; but also literary, political, theological, and biographical--with welcome dedication and integrity. The volume makes a timely and decisive contribution to its field, where it will form a major point of reference." --_Martin Crowley, Queens' College, University of Cambridge_ "This outstanding collection--lucid, engaging, generous--illuminates Blanchot and the very notion of 'the philosophical.' " --_Gerald Prince, University of Pennsylvania_ "This collection contains some very important pieces on a major figure of twentieth-century modernism. Blanchot now has a much wider audience in North American than he did even a few years ago when it was mostly experimental fiction writers like Paul Auster, Lydia Davis, R. M. Berry, and Steve Tomasula--not literary critics--who took an interest in Blanchot's literary writings. The focus on the 'narratives' sets this volume apart from, and makes it a good deal more stimulating than, other recent collections of essays on Blanchot." --_Gerald Bruns, University of Notre Dame _. (shrink)
Unarguably, Jean-Luc Marion is the leading figure in French phenomenology as well as one of the proponents of the so-called “theological turn” in European philosophy. In this volume, Kevin Hart has assembled a stellar group of philosophers and theologians from the United States, Britain, France, and Australia to examine Marion's work—especially his later work—from a variety of perspectives. The resulting volume is an indispensable resource for scholars working at the intersection of philosophy and theology. “This is a ground-breaking book by (...) leading continental thinkers on one of the most pioneering and controversial voices to emerge in French thought in decades. This volume addresses the lynch-pin of Marion's thought—the point where philosophy and theology, gift and revelation, impossibility and grace, intersect in fascinating and arresting ways. Kevin Hart, as editor, assembles and conducts a magisterial intellectual orchestra.” —Richard Kearney, Boston College “The collective strength of these exceptionally high-quality essays is the authors’ diversity of reflection on the relation of phenomenology to theology. Readers new to Marion will find their way into the _corpus_ and those already familiar with Marion’s work will encounter stimulating interpretations, challenges, and defenses. Valuable, too, are Hart’s introduction to Marion as phenomenologist and Marion’s defense of the saturated phenomenon that bookend the volume.” —Merold Westphal, Fordham University “As a sophisticated engagement with the question of Marion’s relation to Christian theology specifically, and as a general response to Marion’s work as a whole, _Counter-Experiences_ is an undeniable success. The authors treat Marion’s texts carefully, bring impressive intellectual force to their task, and provide rich documentation in the strongest volume of work on Marion’s thought yet to appear in English.” —Jeffrey Bloechl, College of the Holy Cross. (shrink)
In his lectures on the death penalty Jacques Derrida argues the surprising thesis that ‘no philosophical system as such has ever been able rationally to oppose the death penalty’. And he also entertains a second thesis that juridical execution undergirds the legal system. In his support for abolitionism, Derrida participates in ‘philosophy’ without quite belonging there. In fact, he maintains that juridical execution comes into sharper focus only when we pass from philosophy to theology. There is space for further passage (...) in this direction, perhaps, in exploring the Eucharist as ‘unbloody sacrifice’. It is regrettable that the second thesis is insufficiently established. (shrink)
In March 1956 there appeared in Monde Nouveau a relatively short piece by Emmanuel Levinas called “Maurice Blanchot et le regard du poète.” It is an extended review of L’Espace littéraire, published by Gallimard the previous summer, which is also laced with a polemic against Heidegger. Levinas observes that Blanchot is close to the Heidegger of Vorträge und Aufsätze (1954), almost to the point of immediate intellectual intuition, but he is just as quick to register the distance between the two (...) on a decisive issue: on Blanchot’s account of literature we are led away from the world of dwelling and rootedness that Heidegger affirms in his meditations on art. Here as elsewhere, Levinas is profoundly disturbed by Heidegger’s slighting of ethics and, in turning to show that his friend finds a way beyond the primacy of Sein, he observes parenthetically that Blanchot “also abstains from ethical preoccupations, at least in explicit form.” A little later he remarks, more pointedly, that Blanchot’s concern with “authenticity” must one day “herald an order of justice” if it is to be more than “a consciousness of the lack of seriousness of edification, anything other than derision” (137; SMB 24). Clearly, Levinas is uneasy at the proximity of his friend to the Heidegger of Sein und Zeit (1927) and beyond, having freed himself from “the climate of that philosophy,” starting in “De l’évasion” (1935) and then more completely in De l’existence à l’existent (1947) (EE 19; DEE 19). The invitation is for Blanchot to render his ethics explicit. Levinas’s review even hints at how this can be done. Other essays by Levinas, later collected in Sur Maurice Blanchot (1975), return to the prediction or hope registered in this review that someone will express “the latent meaning” of his friend’s novels and récits (133; SMB 17), and there is no doubt when reading his reflections on L’Attente l’oubli (1962) and La Folie du jour (1973) that for Levinas their manifest meaning is ethical, at least in part. (shrink)
Although Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas are often cited in support of “faith and reason,” the doublet achieved prominence in that form only in the nineteenth century. The encyclical Fides et ratio can be seen as forming Aeterni patris, Humani generis, and Dei verbum into a tradition. Indeed, it looks back to the nineteenth century and remains at best uninterested in twentieth-century thought. One difficulty with the expression is that each of “faith” and “reason” can be defined against “experience,” and there (...) is a danger that the doublet “faith and reason” invites abstraction from all contexts, including exegesis and love, imagination, and sacrament. Properly understood, “faith and reason” implies “faith and reason and . . .” The encyclical is unclear at crucial moments. It begins to speak of reason, then slides into talk of rationalism. It regards a crisis of rationalism as leading to nihilism, but the conclusion is hastily drawn, at best. It underlines the importance of metaphysics and is critical of “the end of metaphysics,” but confuses different senses of the word. (shrink)
Following a hint from Edmund Husserl, this paper explores the proximity of the phenomenological and aesthetic gazes. It does so with one particular poem in mind: “September Song” by Geoffrey Hill. The paper examines the ways in which the poem responds to a given situation, the death of a child in the Shoah, and responds to the ethical status of its own aesthetic gaze. Phenomenological perspectives by Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Derrida, and Marion, are brought to bear on the questions considered, and (...) comparisons are made between Hill’s poem and similar poems by Dylan Thomas, Paul Celan, and W. S. Merwin. (shrink)
"Mystic Maybe's": the title comes from Augustine Birrill's words on the death of Matthew Arnold. Is it true that Richard Kearney's philosophy of religion, like Arnold's reflections on the Bible, are "mystic maybe's," mere flirtations with possibility? In order to answer this question I seek to understand Kearney's expression "the God who may be" and to see if it fits into a non-metaphysical philosophy of religion. The expression is clarified by way of comparisons with Wolfhart Pannenberg's eschatological understanding of God (...) and Eberhard Jungel's theology of possibility. One weak point in Kearney's philosophy of religion, it is argued, is its avoidance of theology in the name of the philosophy of religion. A sound philosophy of religion needs to engage with theology. /// "Mystic Maybe's" (Possibilidades místicas): Este titulo deriva das palavras de Augustine Birrill acerca da morte de Mathew Arnold. O autor do artigo pergunta até que ponto a filosofia da religião de Richard Kearney não será, tal como as reflexões de Arnold acerca da Bíblia, um mew "místico talvez", um simples namoro com a possibilidaãe. Em ordem a responder à questão, o autor procura compreender o sentido da expressão de Richard Kearney acerca do "Deus que pode ser" de modo a avaliar até que ponto a expressão se adequa a uma filosofia não-metafísica da religião. O artigo clarifica a expressão de Kearney mediante uma comparação quer com a compreensão escatológica de Deus de Wolfhart Pannenberg quer com a teologia da possibilidade de Eberhard Jüngel. Mostra-se, desta forma, que um dospontos maisfracos na filosofia da religião de Richard Kearney consiste na sua tentativa de escapar à teologia em nome da filosofia da religião. Com efeito, argumenta o autor do artigo, uma autêntica filosofia da religião não pode deixar de estar num diálogo eficaz com a teologia. (shrink)
Kierkegaard steadily maintains, against Lessing, that Jesus’s contemporaries had no advantage as regards faith merely because they had personal experience of him. It is a view proposed both by Johannes Climacus and Anti-Climacus, as well as over Kierkegaard’s own signature; it is indirectly communicated and then directly communicated, and so the importance of becoming a true contemporary of Jesus can hardly be underestimated in the authorship, including the later journals. When Michel Henry considers this motif in his Phénoménologie matérielle he (...) says that it is one feature of what Kierkegaard calls “’the strange acoustics of the spiritual world’ [l’étrange acoustique du monde spirituel].” These acoustics are not those we learn about in physics: “the laws of being in common are not in fact those belonging to things and the laws of perception,” and this claim gives Henry an opportunity to continue a long standing argument with Husserl. For “here” and “there” in Henry’s account of inter-subjectivity have no relation to the intersubjectivity that is explored in the fifth of the Cartesian Meditations. Indeed, Henry goes on to say, “This spiritual acoustics, which defies the laws of perception, defines our concrete relation to the other”; that is, it gives the “how” of the relation rather than the “what” or “why.”. (shrink)
First, this collection seeks to examine exactly what Levinass writings mean for both Jews and Christians. Second, it takes a snapshot of the current state of Jewish-Christian dialogue, using Levinas as the rationale for the discussion. Three generations of Levinas scholars are represented. Contributors: Leora Batnitzky, Jeffrey Bloechl, Richard A. Cohen, Paul Franks, Robert Gibbs, Kevin Hart, Dana Hollander, Robyn Horner, Jeffrey L. Kosky, Jean-Luc Marion, Michael Purcell, Michael A. Signer, Merold Westphal, Elliott R. Wolfson, Edith Wyschogrod.