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The Experience of GodA Postmodern Response$
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Kevin Hart and Barbara Wall

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780823225187

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823225187.001.0001

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Faith and the Conditions of Possibility of Experience

Faith and the Conditions of Possibility of Experience

Response to Kevin Hart

Chapter:
(p.87) 6 Faith and the Conditions of Possibility of Experience
Source:
The Experience of God
Author(s):

James K. A. Smith

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823225187.003.0007

According to Kevin Hart, “that God can be experienced is to have assumed that the divine offers itself as a phenomenon, and this runs counter to everything you know about the proper usage of the word God”. That observation itself, however, assumes something about both the nature of “experience”, what constitutes a “phenomenon”, as well as the nature of God and God's “donation”. There is a correlation between experience and phenomenon: only a phenomenon can be experienced, and experience can only be experience of a phenomenon in a strict sense. So any “encounter” with something (or someone) that cannot — or will not — be subjected to the conditions of phenomenality cannot be “experienced” in a strict sense. But this does not mean that it cannot be encountered, or that it cannot encounter us; we will just have to find a different name for that “event” — a “counterexperience”. Faith is understood as the medium of this counterexperience that is not an experience and becomes the condition of possibility for the revelation of God.

Keywords:   God, experience, Kevin Hart, counterexperience, faith, revelation, phenomenon, phenomenality

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