Lucas Depierre, Falling from Nietzsche: Emil Cioran on Time and Eternity

Lucas Depierre

PhD Student, UChicago Divinity School

Respondent: Owen Joyce-Coughlan
PhD Candidate, Theology, UChicago Divinity School
Falling from Nietzsche: Emil Cioran on Time and Eternity
TUESDAY, October 24th, 4:30 PM, Swift 207
The workshop will consist of a 40-min presentation, followed by a response by Owen Joyce-Coughlan. Please read the short selection from Cioran’s writings (attached) for an introduction to his reflections on temporality.


This presentation endeavors to excavate Cioran’s metaphysics of time as emerging from a critique of Nietzsche’s doctrine(s) of eternal return. Thereby, I argue against reducing Cioran to a self-contradictory and destructive thinker with stylistic qualities but on the margins of philosophical debates, particularly those on the question of time. To retrieve Cioran’s understanding of time, my innovative method is to assemble his disordered aphorisms under the light of Nietzsche’s angle in order to unearth Cioran’s intimate spiritual journey on the question of time. I conclude that if Cioran’s coherence has eluded scholarly investigation it is because his identified stance is intricately intertwined with his secretive and agnostic theological quest. I introduce and advocate for a “wandering paradigm” on Cioran’s metaphysics in order to deconstruct what I refer to as the “sedentary paradigm” derived from the nihilist and the Nietzschean interpretation. 

Keywords: Time, Cioran, Nietzsche, eternal return, fall from time, eternity, mourning.

The presenter would like to insist on a warning in order to not make any participant uncomfortable. This presentation will deal with topics such as suicide and depression. Some reflections and quotes from the author are provocative and particularly dark.

Hosted by the Philosophy of Religions Workshop at the University of Chicago.



The Workshop on the Philosophy of Religions is committed to being a fully accessible and inclusive workshop. Please contact Workshop Coordinators Danica Cao ( or Taryn Sue ( in order to make any arrangements necessary to facilitate your participation in workshop events.