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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Discovery at Bethany, Redux

Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you,and yet you are going back?”
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”
After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”
His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.
So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”
Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”
Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
“Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.
When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
Jesus wept.
Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said.

“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen,and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.

“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.”
He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples.
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, many went up from the country to Jerusalem for their ceremonial cleansing before the Passover.They kept looking for Jesus, and as they stood in the temple courts they asked one another, “What do you think? Isn’t he coming to the festival at all?” But the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that anyone who found out where Jesus was should report it so that they might arrest him. [John 11, NIV]

Jesus discovered that Lazarus had been in the tomb 4 days (John 11:17).

Jesus had just told the disciples that Lazarus was dead, and that he rejoiced for them that he was not there as sickness became death, so that they would believe. At first the disciples thought Jesus was speaking metaphorically about a sleeping Lazarus, so he spoke to them more directly: Lazarus was plain and simply dead. Jesus rejoices not in that death, but in the faith-to-come that Lazarus' death will celebrate. Still, he wept that Lazarus and his sisters suffered, for he loved them (11:5). Joy for some, and mourning for others.
 

Such is the face of love in the topsy-turvy world of the 4th gospel. Jesus loved them so much, that he stayed where he was for 2 more days; for Lazarus' illness was not unto death, but that the bright splendor of God will shine through it. Jesus makes use of the day: when it is light, the light will shine forth. Even the gathering mourners connect the death of Lazarus with the work of the day when the man born blind was recreated to see the light of the world (11:27; cf. John 9); light makes the difference between night and day. Darkness is useless, ruined space and time. For Lazarus, night becomes day, the splendor of the day.


In order for John to speak to us through the storied history of readings of his Gospel, we must, as Caputo has convincingly argued, allow scripture (for us, this pericope) to undergo a "methodological transformation into an event" in which the 4th evangelist's voice can make an appearance (Weakness of God, 117; Caputo's emphasis). This twofold transformation identifies the unconditionality of what's brewing in the text---the call---and then gives John's voice presence to us. We allow this voice to appear in all its freedom by freeing it from the layers of exegesis, historical analysis, and especially the onto-theology that has grown around it. This strategy is the epoche, the suspension of what has become the natural attitude toward this text (and others of course). To free our vision from its prejudices and presuppositions, the natural attitude of a strong theology undergoes the phenemenological reduction that bring the event of the pericope into sharp relief (cf, Weakness, 115-17).


The traditional reading of the raising of Lazarus presents a Jesus that deliberately delays his return to Bethany to permit suffering and death only to rebuke it in a demonstration of the divine 'testosterone' (Caputo talks like that). It is a very short journey from such an onto-theology to a harsh theodicy that lays such evils within the divine omnipotence, omniscience and omni-benevolence and renders God's goodness incomprehensible. The text might very well be complicit in such a strong theology, but by bracketing off all that strength, something else wants to get itself done.


Caputo looks to Jesus' tears, as they foreclose on a deliberate delay, which would be 'impossible'. He concludes that Jesus could simply not get there in time. Yet, once we collapse an "all too human love for displaying power," our vision becomes unobstructed (Weakness, 257-58). We see what John is giving voice to: to the very humanity of Jesus in all its fear and suffering. We see that at the moment the word of Lazarus' illness reach Jesus, his beloved friend had already died, unbeknownst to the messenger. Jesus stays across the Jordan (10:40) for 2 (δύο) more days and then returns to Bethany where he discovers that Lazarus was already in the tomb for 4 ( τέσσαρας) days. It apparently takes him 2 days to complete his return (presumably the same 2 days it takes for the word to reach him across the Jordan). Over the six day period between the departure of the word from Bethany to Jesus' return there Lazarus had died, a death which coincides with the delivery of the word of his illness. John has crunched the numbers he has enumerated for us; it was there all the time, but only now visible in the reduction: Jesus knew at the moment of hearing the word of Lazarus' illness that his beloved friend had died; and he shares this sad news with his disciples who at first misunderstand him. In his profound grief for his friend he rejoices in the disciples' faith-to-come; for Lazarus will not stay dead. John's mathematical time forecloses on any calculus of the divine strength to orchestrate a show of its muscle, which flexes enough in the voice of Jesus calling life upon the dead.



John wants us to see the depths of Jesus' humanity here---the generosity of his joy for his disciples and of his grief over the loss of his friend. In 11:35-38, Jesus' tears cause the Judaeans to marvel at his 'love.' Jesus is then moved deeply and then toward the tomb (11:38). The word ἐμβριμώμενος suggests a reaching deep within himself. Such a reaching doubtless informs the 2 days Jesus needs to compose himself before he returns to a place of sadness, which is a place very near a death by stoning (John 10).


The story does not end with death as Jesus told his disciples, yet neither does it end with Lazarus alive. It ends with the prophecy of Caiaphas and the plot to kill Jesus. Despite the faith that the miracle stirs in some, some others still report to Jesus enemies (those who caused him to retreat across the Jordan in the first place). So this is the situation at Bethany: it is a place of great danger and great love; a place of joy and grief and, with the life restored to Lazarus, the acceleration of the way to the Cross. There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for a friend. This is the event released at Bethany. To see it clearly, we even have to bracket off all that  'power' and choose the weakness of God. John, given his voice back from a bracketed dogmatic theology he does not know, tells us simply that Jesus loves in the weakness of his tears. 


Love---agape, philos---discovers suffering and mourning within itself. Lazarus discovers the light from the darkness of the tomb as the man born blind finds sight at Siloam. These are short journeys of discovery, as these figures step from darkness into the light. Jesus' own journey to Bethany discovers that love weeps in the face of suffering, and his tears are the tears of love. Jesus wept; God wept. And weeping swept away death, as darkness fades into light. Jesus loves and weeps as we love and weep. And tears melt into prayers for more light. Jesus' prayer is a very public prayer that connects him to the Father and brings the hearers of the prayer to faith. Jesus presents the discovery that love, faith, mourning and suffering entangle the doxa of God. 


Though our old friend Nietzsche looked with contempt upon Christianity, he could sing the very song of darkness, midnight's song, where joy and suffering are of a piece, joy deeper yet than suffering in the eternal morning that quickens the eternal night. The light of the sun is its shining joy as the benighted become enlightened. Midnight awakens from its dream into the ebb and flow of joy and sorrow whose currents flow in a single sea of recurrence. The Mitternachtslied is a very Christian moment for the philologist of Basel when read through Lazarus' eyes, or the eyes of the man born blind. Or if the eyes just can't have it, it is the moment of the very voice of midnight. Midnight accepts joy and suffering in eternity where love encompasses its rhythm with all its syncopation, its unexpected accents on suffering, mourning and joy. This is love. This is metanoia, the event harbored in the raising of Lazarus. 


The movements of bodies undergird the movement of a coming to believe. The disciples with Jesus move with him from Jerusalem to across the Jordan, and then back again across the Jordan to Bethany, where their faith-to-come materializes. Martha and Mary move from where they meet Jesus to where they were staying. First Martha alone meets Jesus on his way to the tomb where she proclaims her faith that he is the Messiah. She returns to Mary to tell her Jesus has come. Mary goes to meet Jesus, and utters the same faith in the Martha's own words ("my brother would not have died").  Mary and Martha move together with Jesus to the tomb where their faith reveals the glory of God. These motions are the grammar of a change of heart, and change of life, a new life in the presence of the human fully alive.

This metanoia recreates the self, reborn like Nicodemus, that other weaver of light and dark. Not a return to the womb, but a womb-ing of the self that finds itself in relation to the givenness of love. From love, Jesus gives Lazarus more time; for Lazarus does not experience resurrection. Resurrection is unto the eternal beatific vision of love itself; but more time is all the eternity we get in this world. Martha knew this all too well; she knew the Resurrection is not for this day, but the last day. She also believed that Jesus was the Resurrection, and that on this day of his return to Bethany, that fact means more of this life. More life, more time---these symbolize the Resurrection-to-come. The symbols of life and time play out among love and suffering, the rhythmic complexity of love, which constitute the calculus of relation with the divine.

The heuristic elements of raising Lazarus call for a hermeneutics that embraces the text as Jesus loves and weeps, as Martha believes, as the disciples believe,  as love punches out its percussive melody, as midnight embraces the rhythm of waking and sleeping, living and dying. Even the day, Jesus' favorite time, the time of doing the work of God, discovers something beyond it. The day cannot contain the event of more life and time, and we cannot remain an older self as the event pulls us into something new. And though we can see in the light of the world, we cannot see into it; yet it sees us in its fullness and we know that we are seen, that we are loved, that we are loved before we are, by a God who loves before he is
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42 comments:

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  3. I have it from the highest authority that neither religion nor theism is stupid; I try not to be stupid, and I try to keep my general project free of stupidity, though it certainly might be useless and worthless.

    Of course I can see how biblical literature can be theodical; theodicy has always flowed ever so smoothly from these texts. That is the whole purpose of a weak theology, and a God without being. Omnipotence has had its run, and now it's time to see what's there without the baggage of a God of the Omni's.

    We look to the humanity of Jesus, especially the Johannine Jesus, because we too often commit Christological heresy when we simply see him as absolutely divine.

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    2. The text makes Lazarus' death explicit to the point that he 'stinketh.' He's not just mostly dead; he's completely and irrevocably dead (from our side of the equation).

      If we insist on reading the story from the horizon of being and within metaphysical categories, we are indeed hopelessly locked in the economy of power, hence omnipotence. Only through the erotic reduction can we see anything else. I read the story as an act of love, which is more essential than being.

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    4. I think we're always going to use those gigantic, high-velocity words of metaphysics. It's less about the words, and more about concepts. Saturated phenomena, if we buy into this kind of phenomenology ( and I have, at least provisionally), defy conceptualization---the intention cannot take aim and fire a net-like concept around such phenomena, as if they were simply objects.

      I know you doubt this, but I really do understand the problem, and that is what motivates my entire project. Caputo has done much of the heavy lifting, but there are some odds and ends for me to work on. We are trying to rid God of God, somehow get past ontotheology (and therefore theodicy), and attempt to make statements (usually negative) about the possibility of God.

      Marion speaks of the transcendence of knowledge itself, an idea never to be confused with knowledge of transcendence. What if the glory of God is metaphysical phrasing for God's act of being known, that the call, the gift (e.g., scripture) is the anonymous call to be known, which takes the shape of love?

      What if 99% of Denziger is simply about God, in his anonymous voice and call, loving us into knowledge of him, and therefore into relation with him?

      Admittedly, there is a problem with the univocity of love. But in the relation set forth in the phenomenological moment our very selves respond to a call generated through love in the manner of a knowledge whose negative certainty is its diacritical mark. I surmise an asymmetry in that moment's laterality, and therefore an untranslatability from the side of the given to the recipient; so, the terms on either side would be 'different.' Marion poignantly examines this idea in his discussion of the Abraham story of the binding of Isaac.

      The call calls to be received into a kind of knowledge that is relationality. It calls to be known and is received (or not) in the event of the release of what is harbored in the name of God. If that's not what we've come to call omnipotence, then metaphysics failed even the early Fathers. For them these high-velocity terms and concepts worked to bring them into such relationality. These do not work for us any longer, because they always reduce to theodicy and the eradication of God. The theodicy of the Fathers always left them with a God they could know. That God for us today is unknowable because we no longer have concepts to contain what it is we are talking about.

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    6. I can see where that idea is very compressed. I am saying that the 'call' and 'relationality' is what the Fathers understood from phrases such as "and God so loved the world he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (Jhn. 3:16) and the opening to the Prologue of John, "in the beginning was the word and the word was with God." They understood this language as code for what in their system of thought was omnipotence, causality, and omnibenevolence. So, what's going on in Scripture and therefore in dogmatic theology is an expression of relationality and the reality and response of the 'call.'

      For the Fathers, theodicy, stemming from what was for them a trouble-free onto-theology did not contradict God, but resolved in him. That metaphysical maneuver fails for us, and contradicts what little we actually understand about God; and it does not resolve in God, but dissolves God. The metaphysics, ontotheology and theodicy of the Fathers were at peace with one another; for us they are a nightmare (to use your term for the modern situation). We abandon the metaphysical concepts because we understand God to be uncontainable within them---not a metaphysical 'being' but a phenomenon without being yet within a kind of experience.

      Saturated phenomenon like God (SP par excellence) or revelation are not gods of the gaps, anymore than a painting by Cezanne is an art of the gaps. Saturated phenomena are not proofs for the existence of God anymore than they are proofs for the existence of art. Art and God are certainly different kinds of saturated phenomena, but as such phenomena, Marion's phenomenology posits them as possibilities, not actualities.

      Regardless, if we want theodicy and its inevitable eradication of God to retain their teeth, we must continue to appropriate those failed metaphysical concepts which the new phenomenology has defanged. There can be no theodicy in a weak theology of the event, a theology of 'perhaps' of the insistence of God, and in a phenomenology of revelation that avoids the idolatry of those metaphysical concepts. Another way to say this is to say that theodicy always misapprehends givenness and the gift.

      Does that explanation provide a better avenue for your critique?

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    9. "You are saying that the only place one can address the question of God is in this phenomenological context. By doing this you make scientific and philosophical inquiry into God impossible or meaningless. You then preserve your religious beliefs and identity from all possible scientific, empirical, rational or philosophical criticism or investigation."

      There are some true statements here, but those will not exonerate you from a personal examination of Marion's work, if understanding precisely what his project is still interests you.

      I am not saying that phenomenology is the 'only' context for addressing God (I balk at the 'question' of God), but that it is a viable context, one far more profitable than some others. Any saturated phenomenon, or even something less than saturated, fares better in the phenomenological approach. What phenomenology 'does' in no way negates other kinds of inquiry, though many such inquiries (like the ones you mention) have failed to access saturated phenomena, and simply dismiss them as nonsense. or more neutrally, odd and irrelevant. At least historically, positivism has been doing most of the dismissing, not phenomenology. Indeed, phenomenology is not in the proof business (establishing actuality) at all, and does not pass judgment on other ways of knowing; again, historically, passing judgment on modes of knowing other than itself has been within the purview of the various postivisms.

      The analogy of art, I contend, is not deceptive but instructive. Though God and a painting are very different kinds of saturated phenomena, phenomenology does not address the 'question' of art or God, but the experience of the beautiful or the divine. Marion offer several examples of art as saturated phenomena. Marion does not argue that phenomena cannot be reduced to objects: it happens all the time. Science deals only with objects, and that is a good thing because we gain a very important kind of knowledge of things through isolating, experimentally (for example), objects and their behaviors, and then draw useful conclusions.

      This kind of thing cannot really be done for a painting, or a symphony, etc. Musicology, for example, is nothing like physics, no matter how 'scientific' musicology's method can be. The very experiences of music and other art forms can be seen through the lens of physics, but what is seen through that lens? We could not call it art.

      In my Mahler piece, I even bracketed musicology, and tried to demonstrate that, in terms of pure music, relationalities construct much of what we experience. I was not doing physics there, but presenting the possibility of the experience of music in its givenness. I was not trying to prove the existence or actuality of the Mahler 4th Symphony but the possibility that it is an experience of something real, that there is an event stirring there.

      Under the gaze of physics and even musicology, Mahler's work remains invisible, just as religious beliefs, faith, revelation, scripture, remain invisible to "scientific, empirical, rational or philosophical criticism or investigation." These approaches are not in the business of rendering the invisible visible, mainly because their gaze upon the 'invisible' remains problematic. Marion has written persuasively, for example, on the medical gaze, doubtless with a great debt to Foucault. The scientific gaze is always trying to translate the untranslatable, in this case Marion discusses, the flesh into the body. I've looked at this matter in this blog fairly recently.

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    12. Mahler's 4th is made real in its realization--- its performance. The music 'comes to life' when it is heard, 'experienced' in its phenomenality, its givenness. Performance 'makes it so;' givenness is anterior to 'existence.' Art is often but not always a saturated phenomenon. Marion points out that a rock can be a saturated phenomenon and God can be an object, and there are hermeneutic consequences in those experiences, especially in the latter, where God-as-object has been diminished in its given phenomenality. But if we don't press this example too hard, we can see how such degrees of givenness and experience play out everyday in our ordinary lives: we're at the Met viewing a Monet. At one point, we are engaged in the play of light and color, the vibrancy of the image, our very vision nearly blinded by such brilliance. At another point, we're hungry or need to use the restroom---we must exit the room where all those paintings are shining forth. Now they are simply paintings---objects on the wall; they are things we must walk past to get to our destination. They are now become something else---their saturation has become less saturated (they withdraw). And that's a good thing because we *really need* to be elsewhere and fast.

      Marion would agree that our gaze has some ontological status, and determines not the phenomenality of what is given, but plays in the Dasein of reception (I've written a bit about this recently). So the self does not constitute what is within the gaze. Isn't causality challenged by the very distance between sound and sense?

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    15. The hyperbole of the Met example seems to have been an unfortunate dstraction. When we leave the Impressionists for something else, we are in fact no longer doing phenomenology. But you do obviously see that degrees of givenness and phenomenality are at least possibile, if not absolutely mundane---What Marion calls the banality of saturation.

      As I noted earlier, the 'completion' and surpassing of metaphysics does not eradicate it. We move beyond its categories and allow things to be freer both in their objectness and phenomenality. Without totally abandoningthe Met example, we can look at that Monet and then make a decision to do mass spectrometry on a fleck of paint and change a saturated phenomenon into a poor phenomenon, a simple object under a completely different kind of gaze that can no longer see art, but chemistry, and the physical properties of matter.

      I think metaphysical statements can be made about what has undergone the reduction (Husserl), but Marion wants to explore a different kind of laterality in that moment. Even beyond being (Heidegger), and toward the giving and receiving selves.

      While we must pay attention while doing phenomenology, it's what we're doing with our 'intention' that drives the moment. Intention means the same thing for Husserl, Heidegger and Marion. All of them problematize consciousness, but each in succession moves the project further and further away from metaphysics and the simple subject-object relation, and away from the constituting subject (the Cartesian subject/ego) and to the thing itself, as itself, giving itself. Heidegger's *destruktion* is the deconstruction of metaphysical categories, and Marion meticulously salvages what he needs from both Husserl's and Heigger's critiques of metaphysics, to arrive at the ground of the 3rd reduction, and his very new and exciting phenomenology. But it is still phenomenology with all its pluses and minuses.

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    17. Marion's critique of Husserl is robust, and consciousness as limit does indeed suggest idealism, but Husserl is still able to more toward 'givenness' which is tied up in the intentional object, but in a way that Marion finds inadequate to a phenomenology that does heavy lifting.

      Marion takes the next step with his 3rd reduction which acknowledges the privilege of the given to be prior to any kind of constitution by the subject. If that is not a full blown democracy of objects it is at the very least a democracy of phenomenological selves ( the only exception would be revelation or God).

      On another note, Marion equates his 'object' with Kant's 'phenomenon' but rejects the possibility that saturated phenomena are 'noumena.' I think this goes far in answering your critique the thing itself. Marion has also suggested that saturated phenomena are open to practical reason, which, nonetheless, does not contradict his assertion that SP are not noumena.

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  5. This is a very provocative avenue to explore. I don't think Jesus wanted the people to 'see' him perform the miracle so much as he wanted them to 'experience' it. When he weeps, he commands the attention of the crowd ('see how much *he* loved him'). When he shouts 'Lazarus come forth,' the gaze shifts to glory: not glory of the purely human, but of something else. We need to come up with a better word than 'glory' if we are going to make any sense of these texts. There is neither univocity of glory, nor univocity of omnipotence. Or if there really is, then we've made no progress at all, and the event is foreclosed and we're right back in a hapless ontotheology, and our project is stillborn.

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  11. Thank you for this comment, Joseph. It poses the same issue you pose elsewhere, but it a completely different manner. I will be mulling it over for a while, but let me at least make some initial remarks.

    You wrote:

    "You just cannot believe that Jesus is the only person in history who has loved that deeply. You cannot believe that Jesus is the only person who has suffered that deeply. And, most importantly, you cannot believe that Jesus is the only person who has made such a prayer to God..."

    I certainly do not believe those things, and your summary speaks directly to the meaning of the Incarnation: it is precisely that Jesus does these things exactly like we do that makes him who he is.

    Not everyone has the stomach for the phenomenological reduction, especially when what it wants to bracket (epoche) is, for someone, absolutely un-bracketable. I think, for you, evil, in any system and any methodology, devours any approach that makes the attempt to collapse it---the gates of hell DO prevail against such methodologies. For you, the gesture to bracket evil (and by extension, onto-theology, theodicy, metaphysics) will always be an absolutely dishonest gesture. Further, that for you, science, metaphysics, and all other positivisms render evil as 'nothing', as nonsense, as something other than what evil has meant in the past---because the 'question of God' itself is ridiculous, meaningless.

    The dragon eats the love of God as a tidbit.

    Difference for you will always remain irreducible difference, and there is no such thing as Derrida's *differance*.

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  12. I would also add that the reason 'evil' is unbracketable in this theodical approach is because evil is constitutive not only of the natural world (horrible events) but constitutive of revelation itself, the Christ-event itself, which are always complicit in 'evil.' Such phenomenon cannot give themselves, or make an appearance *without* their constituent 'evil.'

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    1. If you would repost those comments on either the 'What's in a name' or 'Mahler' sections, I would appreciate it. They have gotten lost in this extended comments section.

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    1. I agree that we should be focusing on the theology here. I deeply appreciate and admire the philosophy Marion has moved forward, but, like him (I surmise), I am most interested in faith that seeks possibility and understanding.

      Marion (indeed all these thinkers lately in this blog) has given me a language to express theological experience. I understand Marion to be moving not to an anthropological metaphysics (a reasonable critique for sure), but to a divine/God sided analogical imagination. Not an analogia entis, but a new analogical language that looks to a univocity-busting analogy that reverses metaphysics---which turns on a rejection of language that moves from the finite to the infinite, but from the infinite to the finite. Marion calls this 'from God's point of view' approach the only way to recover authentic analogical language for God. Phenomenology has provided for him the possibility for this creative maneuver. This maneuver has opened him up to the obvious criticism.

      For now, let me say simply this about thaumaturgy: a theology of the event is already beyond the mimetic level (the level of narrative, the miracle report), and even beyond the semiotic, seeking a even more aggressive understanding signification. I am leaving miracles to the historical-critical method for now, which in no way denies the inadequacy in that approach and my own to date. I do want an answer to the question: what is a miracle? I want to answer that question for us, for Jesus, for his followers and his enemies, for the evangelists and for the church. Right now, the status quo is schizophrenic, and that is part of the 'throwness' and facticity we encounter when we ask those kinds of questions.

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    1. Understood. I don't think Marion is that simple. Let's move this onto the other 'threads;' feel free to 'present' Harman and appropriate him to continue your critique.

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