Stanislas Breton

A Particular Examination

In: Journal for Continental Philosophy of Religion
William C. Hackett Saint Meinrad Seminary USA Saint Meinrad, IN

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The name Stanislas Breton likely drums up a few interesting facts: chum of Louis Althusser or Michel de Certeau, author of an obscure spiritual classic (The Word and the Cross) or bewildering treatises on Nothing, the Imaginary, and the “poetics of the sensible” – an idiosyncratic figure at the margins, writing on St. Paul or Proclus well before it was mainstream. Coming across his name can be like discovering a great record that none of your friends are talking about or taking a chance on Netflix to find an arthouse ‘hidden gem’. To facilitate that experience (perhaps why you got into Continental philosophy and into religion in the first place), I offer a brief introductory essay sounding some of the major notes in his thought and life, followed by a translation of his “Examen particulier,” written in 1988 as a late-stage critical self-interrogation. The reader should find here that Breton’s oeuvre develops a coherent and penetrating philosophy of conceptual rigor and thematic range that is as deeply indebted to its modern engagements as it is to its medieval and late antique sources of inspiration.

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