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Conference Presentation

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Jean-Luc Marion, God, Soren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling, phenomenology


In the past decade, many interpretations of Fear and Trembling highlight the significance of the “eschatological”—the marvel of Abraham’s expectation that he will get Isaac back. For these interpretations, the central issue is the contrast between the knight of faith and the knight of resignation. Merold Westphal, however, contends that these interpretations lead us away from the main contrast between the hero of faith and the tragic hero. Kierkegaard scholarship is at an impasse. I argue that Marion’s phenomenology of sacrifice, together with the important idea of veritas redarguens that he appropriates from Augustine, offer insights that can resolve the impasse facing Kierkegaard scholars. Primary is the insight that the ordeal of Abraham shares central features with the ordeal of truth (veritas redarguens), both of which are ultimately ordeals of love. In that ordeal, Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac is his loving disposition to receive Isaac by returning him to givenness.


Paper presented at the "Breached Horizons: The Work of Jean-Luc Marion" Conference at the Centre for Advanced Research in European Philosophy and the Centre for Advanced Research in Catholic Thought held at King's University College in London, Canada, March 27-29, 2015.