It has been 25 years since Dominique Janicaud derisively proclaimed the “theological turn” in French phenomenology due to the return of God to philosophy through the influence of “religious” thinkers such as Lévinas, Ricoeur, and Marion. Since then, the “theological turn” has flowered into a fully-fledged movement on both sides of the Atlantic. But, what will be the shape and direction of the second generation of the “theological turn”?
In this important new book, Emmanuel Falque engages with all the major twentieth-century French phenomenologists—something heretofore unavailable in English. He argues that rather than being content to argue for the return of God to philosophy, something fought for and developed by the foregoing generation of the “theological turn,” it is necessary to stage a philosophical confrontation, or disputatio, with them and their work in order to ensure the ongoing vitality of the unexpected contemporary relationship between philosophy and theology. Drawing on the legacies of Jaspers and Heidegger, who both staged their own “loving struggles” to arrive at defining philosophical conclusions, Falque confronts, interrogates, and learns from his most influential philosophical forebears to steer the “theological turn” in a new direction. Offering a novel and creative philosophy of the body, Falque argues for a reorientation of philosophy of religion generally and the “theological turn” specifically from a philosophy of revelation from above to a philosophy of the limit from below.
Part I: Limitation / 1. Khôra, or the Grand Bifurcation in Derrida / 2. A Phenomenology of the Underground in Merleau-Ponty / Part II: Revelation / 3. The Face without a Face in Lévinas / 4. The Phenomenology of the Extraordinary in Marion / Part III: Incarnation / 5. Is there Flesh without the Body in Michel Henry? / 6. Adam, or the Arch of the Flesh in Chrétien / Part IV: Experience / 7. Visited Facticity in Lacoste / 8. A Phenomenology of Experience in Romano / Epilogue: The Hedgehog and the Fox / Index
Emmanuel Falque is Honorary Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy at the Catholic University of Paris. He is well known for writings that combine an expertise in medieval philosophy, modern French phenomenology, and theology. His recent publications include Passer le Rubicon [Crossing the Rubicon] (2013), Saint Bonaventure et l'entrée de Dieu en théologie (2000); Dieu, la chair et l'autre [God, the Flesh and the Other] (2008) and the trilogy: Le passseur de Gethsémani (1999), Métamorphose de la finitude [Metamorphosis of Finitude] (2004), and Les Noces de l'Agneau [The Wedding Feast of the Lamb] (2011). His works have been translated into English, Spanish, and Italian.
This book provides an excellent introduction to the major French phenomenologists of the 20th century by a preeminent thinker of the younger generation of French philosophers, personally acquainted with many of them. Falque not only gives a lucid introduction to his predecessors, but brings a unique critical perspective to their work and puts them into productive conversation with each other.
In a time when philosophy is too often oriented toward the conversion of the other, Emmanuel Falque invites us to see genuine philosophy as a conversation with others such that we might be transformed ourselves. Modeling how criticism is a form of care, Falque opens French phenomenology to itself and opens us up to it.