There are no religious phenomena, only religious interpretations of phenomena. But while the religious interpretation of phenomena refers to a particular form of human activity, this activity responds paradoxically to the imposition of a fundamental curb on any possible activity. That curb is encountered to the extent to which the religious hermeneutic imposes itself in the event of the appearance itself. In this sense the religious structure of experience is that which appears affectively and contingently as beyond the power of the self to regulate. In exploring the place of the self with respect to the religious phenomenon, this article explores the place of the self in its capacity and incapacity with respect to phenomenal objects. In working through this understanding of the self, the irreducible affectivity of the self’s constitutive relations—specifically with respect to love, hope, awe, and anxiety—is discussed. As an affectively constituted being, the self recognizes itself as subject to an irreducibly foreign origin and destiny. In examining this position of a “passionate self” the article concludes with a phenomenology of fortune and contingency, which it is argued is fundamental to any understanding of the religious phenomenon.


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pp. 56-77
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