Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Today I had a chance to sit and talk through a bit about my idea of what Love is like, as well as about what postmodernism is and why it isn't all bad like a lot of evangelicals have heard/think. Right now in the class "Christianity and Postmodernism" we're reading God without Being by Jean-Luc Marion, a French philosopher teaching at the University of Paris who studied under Jacques Derrida, one of the biggest names in postmodernism. Interestingly, his book (and his philosophy in general) has a lot to do with Love, too; or, as he likes to call it, agape (in Greek, from 1 John 4:8). Also, Marion is a Catholic.

Although that a Christian is also a prominent postmodern philosopher is probably surprising to most people, it's actually what has been called the "theological turn" in postmodernism and phenomenology--what some see as the beginning of a trend in this aspect of continental philosophy. Philosophers of note include Emmanuel Levinas, a practicing Jew who wrote extensively on the Torah, Jean-Luc Marion, who we've already mentioned, Jean-Louis Chretien, another French Christian (although I don't think much of his stuff has been translated to English yet, I understand that he's important in France), and even Jacques Derrida, whose later writings were much more open to ideas of religion and spirituality than his earlier ones. I'd also like to point out that two important figures for the beginnings of postmodernism and existentialism in general are Soren Kierkegaard and Frederich Nietzsche, the former a practicing Christian in Denmark who advocated the "leap of faith" and the latter a man staunchly opposed to Christianity (esp. as manifested in the Germany of his time) who proclaimed the famous "death of God."

In class, we've read works (or will read) from all these philosophers I've listed, as well as others (including Slavoj Zizek's book entitled The Puppet and the Dwarf: the Perverse Core of Christianity). I feel like this class, as well as the class on Phenomenology that I took last year, have really changed the way I look at the world. I'd encourage anybody who's interested to take a look at some of these figures and their texts.

Oh, did I mention that Jean-Luc Marion is coming to speak at my school in one week??? Awesome!!

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