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Document Details :
Title: The Politics of French Phenomenology
Subtitle: Emmanuel Falque and the Credibility of a Theological Turn
Author(s): BENJAMINS, Jacob
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 44 Issue: 1 Date: 2021
Almost three decades after Dominique Janicaud’s controversial assessment of the ‘theological turn’ in French phenomenology, Emmanuel Falque argues that there is no longer any question about whether such a ‘turn’ occurred. He proposes that there was, and continues to be, a turn to theology and the proper response is to be open about crossing between the two disciplines. In this essay, I argue that the credibility of a more open and explicit ‘turn’ to theology depends on the credibility of its politics. My approach is to first examine Falque’s assessment of the theological turn and situate his work within recent developments in French phenomenology. This includes foregrounding the conceptual significance of finitude in Falque’s effort to justify an explicit turn to theology. Then, I explore unidentified political implications stemming from Falque’s approach to the transformation of finitude. Without acknowledging the political consequences of concepts like transformation, Falque is left vulnerable to accusations of Christian triumphalism by critics like Joseph O’Leary – a position he clearly aims to avoid. Even in the context of a seemingly apolitical method like phenomenology, I propose that a turn to theology requires examining its inherently political implications. This principle is particularly important for a confessional philosopher like Falque, who argues for greater openness and encounter between philosophy and theology.