Postmodern Theology and Jean-Luc Marion: Recap

Postmodern Theology and Jean-Luc Marion: Recap June 26, 2009

Previous Posts (in descending order):

Postmodern Theology and Jean-Luc Marion: An interlude on the ‘theological turn,’ continued

Postmodern Theology and Jean-Luc Marion: An interlude on the ‘theological turn’

Postmodern Theology and Jean-Luc Marion: From ‘ego cogito’ to ‘ego amans’

Postmodern Theology and Jean-Luc Marion: Being and Giveness

Postmodern Theology and Jean-Luc Marion (a brief opening move)

I will be leaving Vox-Nova for about a week or so to attend a summer seminar at University of Roehampton, so, in the meantime, here is a brief recap of where this series has been and where I see it going. I will end with two provacative quotes from Pascal and Heidegger included in Marion’s, God Without Being.

I began this series by introducing Marion via David Tracy’s apt description in the foreword to God Without Being. Tracy describes Marion’s theological method as a strategy based in revelation, unlike those that see the correlation between reason and revelation as the key.

This opening distinction is what takes us away from theology proper and into Marion’s phenomenology of giveness as a category beyond being. This notion of giveness is a descriptive way to understand revelation and (for Marion) it also erodes at Cartesian approaches to epistemology, inextricably tied to the very constitution of the modern ego.

This move from ego cogito to ego amans is as much epistemological (pertinent to rationality) as it is ontological in that it brings us closer to the things themselves—ourselves—and, ultimately, to God. This turn to God, the “theological turn,” in phenomenology and elsewhere (as I pointed out in Zizek’s recent work) marks a rich and marked cultural turn to that which may be able to surpass the limits of the postmodernism and secularist (not to mention “liberal,” the subject of my other series here) modernity and arrive at a new discourse on the person thrown into a world of meaning and intelligibility climaxing in relevation.

As I said before, God in/as revelation is crucial for Marion as he approaches an analysis of how/what God gives. Here we find the idol and the icon, the subject of the next piece in this series (as I have already promised too may times). The idol is an object that does not give from itself as source; and the icon is that which gives from its own subjectivity (juxtaposing symbolic and sacramental meaning from Western [sacramentum] to Eastern [mysterion] Catholic traditions).

After fleshing out that distinction in more detail, I will arrive at the “Saturated Phenomena” (the title of his chapter in Phenomenology and the Theological Turn: The French Debate), where we find the combination of Marion’s phenomenology of giveness, icon, and excess arrive at the source of revelation: God.

From there I would like to comment on the impact of this “postmodern theology” on the theology of the Eucharist as a corrective to Arostotelian/Thomistic conceptions of transubstantiation.

Here are two quotes from the cover pages of his book, God Without Being:

From all bodies and minds we could not draw one movement of true charity, that is impossible, and of another, supernatural order.


If I were yet to write a theology—to which I sometimes feel inclined—the the word Being would not occur in it. Faith does not need the thought of being.


See you all in about ten days or so!

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