- Series: Religion and Postmodernism
- Paperback: 284 pages
- Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 0002- edition (June 15, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226505413
- ISBN-13: 978-0226505411
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,361,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
God Without Being: Hors-Texte (Religion and Postmodernism) 0002- Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
There is a newer edition of this item:
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Top customer reviews
Marion, however, is not a theologian or philosopher of religion who seeks to arrive at a conception of God (or, for that matter, religion) that justifies a particular philosophy. Hence, he breaks fully with Enlightenment rationalists who seek a God that does little more than justify their own ideas of autonomy: for Marion, God is not the unmoved mover who must be before he loves. Rather, God loves before being: it is God's love which gives place to the Being of beings.
This understanding of God as agape is a break, however, not only with so-called rationalists, but with scholasticism and late modern/post-modern thinkers such as Nietzsche and Heidegger. Marion works off of both Nietzsche and Heidegger but also criticizes them for not giving a place to a God who loves before being. Nietzsche's twilight of the idols is nothing more than the twilight of particular idols: atheism is simply the refusal to believe in a particular *conception* of God, not God as such (although few, if any, atheists would ever admit to this). Similarly, Heidegger's subsuming God to the predicates of Being is equally misguided and blind; in the end, both Nietzsche and Heidegger commit a type of idolatry. For Marion, theology ought to be iconic: We only "see" God between the "halftimes of our idolatries", he writes.
This God who exceeds our prior conceptions - that is, the predicates of Being - is not the God of metaphysics (onto-theology as Marion, following Heidegger, asserts). Rather, he is the God of unknowing: in short, revelation. Marion turns to the great mystics of the Church, particularly Dionysius the Aeropagite (aka Pseudo-Dionysius) and his mystical theology. There is something wonderfully raw about this; Marion's call to return to an understanding of God who loves outside of and beyond our ability to comprehend and inscribe in books finds its fullest expression in liturgy, lived and acted with/in/by bodies. Hence, God Without Being culminates in incarnation: Christ, in the Church, and in communion.
There is a deeply ecclesial dimension to Marion's work. The Eucharist is celebrated within the life of the community collective whose local leader (the bishop!), as the central servant-celebrant, is the theologian extraordinaire. It is this embodiment that stands on the threshold of Hors-Texte (quite literally, as this discussion takes place immediately before the second part of the book, Hors-Texte).
Marion writes with a rare combination of intellectual rigor, philosophical learning and appreciation, and a deep spirituality. The icon, ever opposed to the idol, directs our gaze beyond its own presence and to the God (Theos) that is beyond the text, but nonetheless gives Himself - loves - in the Word (Logos), which all theology (from the Greek words "Theos" and "Logos"!) writes towards and is, at its height, converted to.
This is not an easy book to read (particularly if you have little or no background in late/post modern philosophy), but it is well worth the effort. Rarely does a book really give itself to the reader as a key to looking more deeply and seeing more clearly, but for those with eyes to read and ears to hear, they may are likely to find themselves moving beyond the text and into an embodied, liturgical practice, celebrating the Word that all words, at their best, look and are converted to: not on their own, but because of the Word's self-giving to words.
Marion rightly notes that philosophical talk about God is often idolatrous. Metaphysics created God after its own image. This leads into Marion's discussion of the "idol and the icon." (The next 150 pages are remarkably dense.) Marion starts off well but it is hard to see how he doesn't beg the question and also what he is actually trying to say. I like his discussion on "the icon." At surface level it is a good meditation on Christian aesthetics. But one gets the impression that Marion is not using "icon" in the sense that the Orthodox use it (though at times he is). Marion says the idol's gaze is wrong because it freezes on the watcher, but the icon is actually looking at him who is looking at me. The icon's gaze pierces reality. Okay, I agree but how is this statement not begging the question? Marion never made it clear how the icon's gaze doesn't deconstruct back to the idol's gaze.
Marion later moves into a moving discussion on Christian hermeneutics. More so than most theologians, Marion is keen to the challenges that Derrida and Nietzsche pose to Christianity--and to the opportunities available. The problem is the "gap" between text and reality. One can read of the Easter "event," but one is only reading of it. One is still removed from the event. A Christ-hermeneutics, however, bridges the gap between text and reality in the Eucharist (150). A fascinating discussion with much passion and promise, but one wishes that Marion would have spent more time on this.
This book started off well with references to Gilson's work on "Being" as well as other moves in Thomism. And the thesis is sound and simple enough. But even those readers who are well-read in philosophy will wonder what Marion is trying to say. This book could have easily been 80 pages long and the reader would not be at a loss. Marion spent too little time on the clear parts and too much time on the dense parts (without making them clearer). Still, there are many good meditations and it is worth re-reading parts of the book.