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(2014) Phenomenology in French philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer.


Christian Dupont

pp. 1-20

This study of the receptions of phenomenology in French philosophy and religious thought prior to 1939 was occasioned by the renewal of phenomenological approaches to theology and the philosophy of religion in France beginning in the 1980s, as represented, on the one hand, by Paul Ricoeur 's hermeneutical interpretation of biblical narratives, and, on the other, by Jean-Luc Marion 's so-called "radical" or post-ontological investigations of the primordial givenness of God. Their employment of phenomenological strategies to explore theological questions has not passed without criticism, however. For example, Dominique Janicaud , in a polemical essay published in 1991 whose title, Le tournant théologique de la phénoménologie française, pronounces an indictment upon Marion , Levinas , and other radical phenomenologists, argues that Husserl and Heidegger along with Sartre and Merleau-Ponty established firm precedents for keeping phenomenology and theology separate enterprises. French debates over the application of phenomenological methods to religious philosophy have nevertheless engaged American thinkers due to the impact that structuralist and post-structuralist theories have had on a wide range of academic disciplines in the United States. So, too, the professorships that Ricoeur and Marion have held in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago and the translations of their major works have brought their ideas directly to American audiences. To provide a context for evaluating these and other contemporary rapprochements of phenomenology and theology, this study offers a comprehensive historical analysis of the introduction of phenomenology to France through an examination of various precursors, early interpreters, popularizers, and adopters.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-4641-1_1

Full citation:

Dupont, C. (2014). Introduction, in Phenomenology in French philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 1-20.

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