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Naming the Unnameable God: Levinas, Derrida, and Marion

Anselm K. Min
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion
Vol. 60, No. 1/3, Self and Other: Essays in Continental Philosophy of Religion (Dec., 2006), pp. 99-116
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27646181
Page Count: 18
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Naming the Unnameable God: Levinas, Derrida, and Marion
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Abstract

In this essay I present the postmodern phenomenological approach of Levinas, Derrida, and Marion to the problem of naming the unnameable God. For Levinas, God is never experienced directly but only as a third person whose infinity is testified to in the infinity of responsibility to the hungry. For Derrida, God remains the unnameable "wholly other" accessible only as the indeterminate term of pure reference in prayer. For Marion, God remains the object of "de-nomination" through praise. In all three, the problem of naming the unnameable God is necessarily linked to how we relate to fellow human beings, to the hungry in Levinas, justice in Derrida, and charity in Marion. I also reflect on the merits and adequacy of phenomenology as such for speaking of divine transcendence.

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