Phenomenology

Research question 2. The phenomenology of love

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(a) Christianity. Recent Christian philosophy of Religion (e.g. Jean-Luc Marion) has emphasized the nature of erotic experience as allowing human beings to discover themselves as a given phenomenon, in contrast to attempts to establish an ontological grounding in being through love (e.g. as in Paul Tillich): is it possible to combine an ontology with a phenomenology of love or must these be radical alternatives? What has been the effect on Christian theology of love of phenomenological emphasis on ‘being in the world’ and human embodiment?

(b) Islam. What difference has the interest of Muslim scholars in the modern western tradition of philosophy (e.g. Heidegger) made upon an Islamic understanding of the relation between divine and human love? Is it possible to integrate a late-modern phenomenological approach into continuing interest in Neo-Platonism as exemplified classically in e.g. Ibn Hazm’s The Collar of the Dove (Ṭawq al-Ḥamāmah) and Ibn Arabi’s Book of Love (in the Meccan Openings).

(c) Judaism. Recent Jewish thought, initiated largely by Franz Rosenzweig, has found the unfulfilled desire of messianic hope to be actualized here and now in the phenomenon of a love ‘union’ (yichud). Emmanuel Levinas finds human subjectivity to be characterized phenomenologically by absolute obligation to the ‘other’, including the divine ‘other’ which is ‘always yet to come’. What difference, then, has Jewish messianism made to a phenomenology of love?

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