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Questioning the HumanToward a Theological Anthropology for the Twenty-First Century$
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Lieven Boeve, Yves De Maeseneer, and Ellen Van Stichel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257522

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257522.001.0001

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The Gifted Self: The Challenges of French Thought

The Gifted Self: The Challenges of French Thought

(p.115) Chapter 7 The Gifted Self: The Challenges of French Thought
Questioning the Human

Robyn Horner

Fordham University Press

Given the diagnosis that the theological anthropology of Gaudium et Spes is intrinsically modern in approach, Robyn Horner investigates the fate of the modern subject in the wake of poststructuralist critiques such as that of Jacques Derrida. According to Derrida, our relation to the world and to each other is not based in a subject identical to itself; rather, the subject is characterized by “différance,” splitting forever “the self from itself.” Horner then asks whether a (post-) phenomenological anthropology such as that of Jean-Luc Marion might be helpful in renewing theological anthropology. Marion’s work allows us to think the lost or dissipated self by means of the logic of the gift. Unable ever to be present to itself, the subject can be defined only as radical openness to the givenness of the world and of phenomena in general. In that very openness, Marion argues, the subject appears as radically given to itself, a givenness it realizes only in its responding to, and thus being given to, others. This new, Christologically grounded approach to the subject and its relation to the world enables a new theological definition of the human being as given and created by God.

Keywords:   Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Marion, Gift, Poststructuralism, Modern subject

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