Kristóf Oltvai: “Good without Being? Communion, Personhood, and Evil in Jean-Luc Marion’s Theology”

Kristóf Oltvai

MA Student, Divinity School

Good without Being? Communion, Personhood, and Evil in Jean-Luc Marion’s Theology

Wednesday, November 1, 5:00pm, Swift 400 (please note the time and room change)

The paper can be read here

From Augustine to Aquinas and beyond, central figures in Christian theology are often interpreted as advancing an ontological definition of evil, setting evil’s deprivation or nothingness against God’s ipseity as the summum ens. Recent work in the continental philosophy of religion has stigmatized such “ontotheological” readings for importing an almost deistic eudaimonism into Christian ethics. Among these, I argue that Jean-Luc Marion’s “phenomenology of the gift” reframes personhood as a property of phenomenality, not being(ness). Glimpsing Christ as the icon of the Father initiates the givee into seeing beyond both φύσις and οὐσία; this “enhypostasization” serves as the prototype for the ethical encounter with the face of the Other and, perhaps even more fundamentally, with all given phenomena. The hypostatic moment can thus be understood as a transubstantiation of the “besought” (interloqué) into a phenomenal field governed only by the horizon of charity. A radical question for philosophical theology follows: does defining any metaphysical constitution for the person imprison them within solipsistic subjectity (or worse, objectity)? Is being–evil?

Refreshments will be served

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