The Rigor of Things: Conversations with Dan Arbib

The Rigor of Things: Conversations with Dan Arbib

The Rigor of Things: Conversations with Dan Arbib

The Rigor of Things: Conversations with Dan Arbib


In a series of conversations, Jean-Luc Marion reconstructs the path of a career’s work in the history of philosophy, theology, and phenomenology. The conversation ranges from Marion’s engagement with Descartes, to phenomenology and theology, to Marion’s intellectual and biographical backgrounds, concluding with illuminating insights on the state of the Catholic Church today and on Judeo-Christian dialogue.

In these interviews, Marion’s language is more conversational than in his formal writing, but it remains serious and substantive. The book serves as an excellent and comprehensive introduction to Marion’s thought and work.


David Tracy

It is hardly necessary to introduce Professor Jean-Luc Marion to this audience, since he has become a very important interlocutor in North America for over twenty years. However, the occasion of the English translation of these fascinating interviews is a good time to remind ourselves of some of his accomplishments in philosophy, intellectual history, and, more recently, theology.

First philosophy. There is no doubt that Jean-Luc Marion is the foremost living phenomenologist. Not only has he continued the great tradition of Husserl, Heidegger, Levinas, Henry, Ricoeur, and others, but Marion has advanced that tradition in major ways, especially through his groundbreaking phenomenological work on related phenomena of givenness and gift as well as his analysis of the saturated phenomenon. Along with these original phenomenological contributions, Professor Marion has also written major interpretive essays on such phenomenological predecessors as Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Emmanuel Levinas, and Michel Henry.

Second, the scholarship of intellectual history. in the field of intellectual history, Professor Marion early became a major interpreter of seventeenthcentury philosophy, especially in several volumes on the very founder of modern philosophy, René Descartes. It is no small thing to provide a new and persuasive interpretation of Descartes. Most intellectual historians today no longer follow the interpretation of Descartes given by the standard histories of philosophy, nor even the once-influential readings of Martin Heidegger or Étienne Gilson—today they follow Marion’s. His Descartes work alone would have assured him a major place in his second discipline, intellectual history.

Third, theology. in more recent years, Marion has turned explicitly, no longer merely implicitly, to theology. Here he has both followed and advanced the theological program of his teachers, the great (indeed now classic) resourcement thinkers of early and mid-twentieth-century French theology: Henri de Lubac, Jean Daniélou, Yves Congar, Louis Bouyer . . .

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