The Virtue of Joy

Spinoza in Jean-Luc Nancy’s Deconstruction of Christianity

In: Research in Phenomenology
Ashok Collins Australian National University

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In this article, I examine the presence of Spinoza within Jean-Luc Nancy’s deconstruction of Christianity project. Although the debt Nancy owes to other philosophers such as Derrida and Heidegger has been recognized, less well known is his reliance on a Spinozist frame of reference throughout his writings on Christianity. Analyzing Nancy’s reading of key moments within the deconstruction of Christianity—the doctrines of creation ex nihilo and the incarnation—I explore how the coupling of transcendence and immanence in a Heideggerian ontological mode can be enlightened by Spinoza’s philosophy. What takes shape is a profoundly embodied and affective relationality that I argue is the central resource Nancy wishes to expose at the heart of both Christianity and the secular West.

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