Being exposed to love: the death of God in Jean-Luc Marion and Jean-Luc Nancy

Ashok Collins*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    In this article I explore how a philosophical conception of love may be used to draw debate on the death of God beyond the binary opposition between theology and philosophy through a comparative study of the work of Jean-Luc Marion and Jean-Luc Nancy. Although Marion’s reading of love—in both its theological and phenomenological guises—proposes an innovative phrasing of a non-metaphysical notion of divinity, I argue that it is ultimately unable to maintain its coherence in nominal discourse due to Marion’s insistence on keeping love and being separate. In contrast, through his unique thinking on ontology, Nancy’s philosophy allows us to reposition love at the heart of being, from whence it may serve as a means of disrupting the very principle governing the atheist and theist world-views. Far from dismantling Marion’s core proposition, I conclude that the two thinkers may in fact be more closely aligned than previous scholarship has acknowledged, coming together in the need to affirm an experience of the impossible that takes place in the present rather than in any eschatological fulfillment to come. At this intersection between two nominally very different thinkers, love forms an ontological limit-point for thought that poses a challenge to both theology and philosophy alike as they continue to grapple with the question of religion in the twenty-first century.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)297-319
    Number of pages23
    JournalInternational Journal for Philosophy of Religion
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


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