The Inconspicuous God

The Inconspicuous God

Heidegger, French Phenomenology, and the Theological Turn
Jason W. Alvis
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 06/01/2018
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-03332-1
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Dominique Janicaud once famously critiqued the work of French phenomenologists of the theological turn because their work was built on the seemingly corrupt basis of Heidegger's notion of the inapparent or inconspicuous. In this powerful reconsideration and extension of Heidegger's phenomenology of the inconspicuous, Jason W. Alvis deftly suggests that inconspicuousness characterizes something fully present and active, yet quickly overlooked. Alvis develops the idea of inconspicuousness through creative appraisals of key concepts of the thinkers of the French theological turn and then employs it to describe the paradoxes of religious experience.

Author Bio

Jason W. Alvis teaches Philosophy at the University of Vienna, and is a Research Fellow with the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). He is author of Marion and Derrida on the Gift and Desire: Debating the Generosity of Things, and he currently serves as the European Editor of The Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory.


“More deeply than any previous study of the 'new phenomenology' and its attempts to think God, Jason W. Alvis's rich new book meditates on the fecundity of Heidegger's late proposal for a 'phenomenology of the inconspicuous.' In the space that opens when this new beginning is made, Alvis gathers not only Heidegger, Marion, and Levinas, familiar names in European philosophy of religion, but also Henry and Lacoste, who deserve to be better known, especially in the United States. Into the world of phenomenology and religion a welcome is also extended to Jean-Luc Nancy whose deconstruction of Christianity is usually regarded as outside the tightly guarded doors of phenomenology.”
 — Kevin Hart, editor (with Barbara Wall) of The Experience of God: A Postmodern Response

“Jason W. Alvis accomplishes the worthy goal of giving a creative and provocative reading of Heidegger's phenomenology of religion which was so passionately depreciated by Dominique Janicaud and other philosophers of the French theological turn.”
 — B. Keith Putt, editor of The Essential Caputo: Selected Writings

“Alvis’s book successfully accomplishes its stated goals and is a must read for those interested in both the phenomenological and theological traditions, as well as the ways in which these two traditions can benefit from dialoguing with each other. Alvis provides new avenues for thinking about God and religious precepts which pay homage to Heidegger’s innovations in phenomenology while being true to the salvific story of Jesus.”
 — Phenomenologicl Reviews

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Inconspicuous Turns: Heidegger and the "Inapparent" Theological Turn
1. Inconspicuous Revelation: Marion, Heidegger, and an Antinomic Phenomenality
2. Inconspicuous Phenomenology: On Heidegger’s Unscheinbarkeit or Inapparent
3. Inconspicuous Lifeworld of Religion: Henry’s "Life," Heidegger’s "World"
4. Inconspicuous Liturgy: Lacoste, Heidegger, and the Space of Godhood
5. Inconspicuous Adoration: Nancy, Heidegger, and a Praise of the Ordinary
6. Inconspicuous Evidence: Janicaud, Religious Experience, and a Methodological Atheism
7. Inconspicuous Faith: Chretien, Heidegger, and Forgetting
8. Inconspicuous God: Levinas, Heidegger, and the Idolatry of Incomprehensibility
Conclusion: The Spectacle of God: Inverting the Sacred/Profane Paradigm