Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. i-viii

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Preface

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pp. xi-xiv

I offer here twelve texts, occasional writings spread over the years 1979–2009.1 There would be no reason to gather them together but for the fact that they share the same concern and the same quarrel, returned to each time according to the circumstances and the solicitations with a consistency that was perhaps pointless, and in any case little rewarded....

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Translator’s Note

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pp. xv-xviii

As in my translation of The Visible and the Revealed, all previously existing translations have been retranslated from or heavily edited against the most recent French text, although credit is obviously still given to the original translators, and rights for existing translations have been procured. Translations of biblical texts have often been slightly altered to remain closer to Marion’s text, always in consultation with the New Revised Standard Version and with the original Greek for New Testament texts. Slight mistakes...

PART I: Reason and Faith Together

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pp. 1-2

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1 Faith and Reason

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pp. 3-13

Faith and reason, believing or knowing, believing without certainty or knowing through definite science— what opposition seems more obvious? And if one adds that it is “modern science” facing Christian faith, then the dichotomy imposes itself beyond dispute, ready for all the weekly reports, for all the prefabricated debates and ideological arguments. Yet we should be on our guard against what is assumed to be so obvious here, for by a strange reversal in this commonplace dispute the argument from authority is today definitely found on the side of “science,” which has...

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2 In Defense of Argument

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pp. 14-29

Why should one subject reason to questioning? Why not turn it, as would seem suitable, into the immovable rock from which to question every thing else? What reason would incline us to reason about reason, instead of allowing reason itself to reason on its own basis? Even more, why won der about reason from a theological point of view, as if the distinction between fields, which began as a distinction within Christian theology before it moved to secularism [laïcité], were no longer self- evident? In this indiscrete concern for reason, should we not fear the hegemonic designs...

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3 The Formal Reason of the Infinite

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pp. 30-44

The use of reason first of all requires us to practice the infinite, as one practices an unmanageable but essential instrument, in order to improve our rational capacities by applying them not to some delimited object, but to that which, by definition, will always resist definition. More than this: reason also consists of exercising the infinite, as one exercises a political, administrative, or financial responsibility— because it is very necessary for us to assume its crushing but indispensable burden. This is also the case because the supreme task, that of thinking the infinite, fascinates, attracts, and captivates the minds of those who are, so to speak, most...

PART II: Who Speaks About It?

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pp. 45-46

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4 On the Eminent Dignity of the Poor Baptized

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pp. 47-65

When the Church devotes its best efforts to analyzing itself, on the pretext of improving itself (as if that depended on itself alone), one might fear that it hides the aims involved in favor of a vague examination of intermediaries.1 And when this questioning is focused on the “laity,” one must fear the worst: the ecclesiastical body’s turning in upon itself— the epitome of clericalism. For the layperson does not exist. Or rather, he or she only appears at that instant when the Church, instead of looking to Him who constitutes it, thinks that it can define itself on its own terms, as a religious society. Doubtlessly trying to mirror civil societies, it becomes...

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5 The Service of Rationality in the Church

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pp. 66-75

To wonder about the role and history of the Catholic intellectual today— this undertaking seems to go without saying, it even seems trite. Yet instead, it should appear highly problematic because it presupposes at least two terms that have become highly questionable and fragile, if not obsolete.
First, the very term “intellectual”: its reputed fading away keeps the newspapers and the essayists fairly busy. For once they are not wrong to note this as an established fact. But they are wrong to be in despair over it. For the “intellectual” as the one whose model strictly speaking extends ...

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6 The Future of Catholicism

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pp. 76-84

The future of Catholicism can be thought on the basis of strictly theological concepts. Yet it can and must also be established according to the consideration of its relations with the world, if only because the world’s future will change depending on whether Catholicism has a real future or not. What, in other words, is the future of Catholicism from the point of view of the world— and not from the point of view of Revelation?...

PART III: What Is Possible and What Shows Itself

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pp. 85-86

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7 Nothing Is Impossible for God

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pp. 87-101

Discussing miracles can seem old- fashioned, today as formerly. We know quite well—it has even become a proverb— that “ there are no miracles.” Every one has always known this, those opposing Christians (from Celsus to Voltaire and Renan) and even a number of Christians (from Father Malebranche and Leibniz to Bultmann and any number of contemporary theologians). And, besides, it is obvious: potential miracles, when they are not reduced to more or less voluntary illusions, are merely facts...

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8 The Phenomenality of the Sacrament

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pp. 102-115

The question of the sacrament, or more precisely that of the sacramentality of the sacrament, undoubtedly belongs first of all to theology. If—at least as a formal point of departure—we admit one of its normative definitions, we might say with the Council of Trent’s “Decree on the Eucharist”: “Indeed the holy Eucharist shares in common with the other sacraments that it is a sign of a holy thing and the visible form of an invisible grace...

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9 Transcendence par Excellence

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pp. 116-122

The declaration that “God is love” (1 John 4:16) does not go without saying. Or, rather, it goes too well and too often without saying, having become a worn- out banality (“How would God not be good?”) or a politically correct platitude (“At least this God does not drive people to war”), or even a placid piece of relativism masking discreet apostasy (“God is wherever people love each other”— and nowhere else). In short, to name God as love would more than any other naming mark off the offensive and consensual “humanism” into which Christians would once and for all like to...

PART IV: Recognition

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pp. 123-124

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10 The Recognition of the Gift

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pp. 125-135

Common sense distinguishes faith (like belief) and knowledge by the opposition between things we cannot see and things we can see. Yet, as Saint Augustine magnificently demonstrated, faith in things one does not see nonetheless allows no less for knowledge of them in the strictest sense because it refers to things we know perfectly well, even though these cannot but remain invisible; we can therefore know them only to the extent that they remain invisible. Th is is the case with a friend’s friendship, kindness, will, and, above all, love: “Love in . . . the heart . . . is invisible...

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11 “They Recognized Him and He Became Invisible to Them”

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pp. 136-143

Why do we believe so badly in God, and so little in Christ? First of all (does it not go without saying?), we are indeed reduced, with regard to God and Christ, to believing, since knowledge of them escapes us. We believe (and believe badly, miscreants that we are) precisely because in this case we cannot reach a scientific certainty, composed of clear and distinct ideas. What exactly, then, do we lack that prevents us from attaining such a scientific knowledge? The answer seems obvious: We believe, or at least we are reduced to having to believe (or not), because, while we have...

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12 The Invisible Saint

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pp. 144-152

The saint.1 What sort of saint? No one has ever seen a saint.2 For the saint remains invisible, not through an empirical coincidence, but in principleand by right.
For who could see a saint in person [en personne], if no one [personne] can recognize the saint as such? In fact, who could say that this person one sees and knows merits being described as holy [saint]? (Th is is even less the case if one does not know the saint well or maybe not at all.) How should one justify sainthood and on what definition of holiness ought it be...

Notes

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pp. 153-168

Index

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pp. 169-172