Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe Métaphrasis Vol. 1. No. 2. 2016

Publication Details

Title in the language of publication: Метафразис
Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe
1940–2007. French philosopher and literary critic, a prominent exponent of post-Heideggerian deconstruction and specialist in German romanticism, the author of translations into French works of Heidegger, Celan, Nietzsche, Hölderlin and Benjamin.
Translated from French
Transl. by Sergey Ermakov
Sergey Ermakov
Associate Research Fellow at the Sociological institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Address: 25/14 7-ya Krasnoarmeyskaya str., St. Petersburg 190005, Russia.
P. 33–52.
Language: Russian
Document type: Research Article


What exactly does Hölderlin do when at the turn of the XIX century he decides to make a translation of two tragedies by Sophocles, “Oedipus the king” and “Antigone” — a translation that cannot strictly be considered as such, even though not being a mere free interpretation? Why does he raise “Antigone” to the rank of tragedy, exemplarily expressing the Greek essence of the tragic, while “Oedipus” for him proves to be a “more occidental”, to wit modern tragedy”? What historical, philosophical and historico-philosophical consequences for the destiny (and for the very issue of there being a destiny) of the Occident including that of occidental metaphysics, are concealed in this distinction? How is Hölderlin’s vision of tragedy related to speculative and dialectical interpretations of the tragic dominant since Schelling and Hegel’s times?

Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe (1940–2007) suggests a reading of Hölderlin’s translations and the famous Commentaries accompanying them, in which Hölderlin expounds his theory of the tragic, by means of the key term “metaphrasis”, a super-translation, a tendentious and distorting interpreting translation; such a translation turns to be not so much a “genius’ whim” but rather an attitude towards something to which one cannot have a direct relation. By analyzing the way Hölderlin thinks “Antigone” as a tragedy of spontaneous and secret desire of transgression peculiar for Greeks, and “Oedipus” as a tragedy of Knowledge and Logics in the broad sense, Lacoue-Labarthe detects paradoxical Holderlinian hyperbologics — the logics of infinitely increasing contradictions which cannot be resolved and sublated within the standard movements of dialectics of Hegelian kind and thereby speculatively quieted.

As a result Lacoue-Labarthe manages to reveal one of the deepest layers of Hölderlin’s thought, notably his theology or, rather, his attempt to create something like ancient Greek theology different from the myth and grounded not on faith and relation, but on the principled mutual infidelity of God and man, on God’s turning away and yet not absent. It is the paradoxical hyperbologics “the greater infidelity towards God, the greater fidelity to Him” that provides the only possible even if inconsistent relation. However, probably, it is just such theology, in Holderlin’s view, that can only correspond to the fateless (schiksaallos) man of modernity.


Friedrich Hölderlin, translation, metaphrasis, metaphysics, antique tragedy, essence of the tragic, hyperbologics, paralyzed dialectics, nonclassical theology.


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© Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, 2016  © Sergey Ermakov, transl., 2016


Jean-Luc Marion. From the “death of God” to the divine names: the theological itinerary of the metaphysics. Vol. 1. No. 1. 2016.

Publication Details

From the “death of God” to the divine names: the theological itinerary of the metaphysics
Title in the language of publication: От «смерти Бога» к божественным именам: теологический путь метафизики
Jean-Luc Marion
(b. in 1946) is a prominent phenomenologist and theologian, graduate from École Normale Supérieure, disciple of Jean Beaufret and Etienne Gilson; he taught at the university Paris X, and since 1995 he has been teaching at the Sorbonne. He is a member of the French Academy (since November 2008).
Translated from French
Sergey Ermakov
Associate Research Fellow at the Sociological institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Address: 25/14 7-ya Krasnoarmeyskaya str., St. Petersburg 190005, Russia.
P. 40–64.
Language: Russian
Document type: Research Article (translition)


Jean Luc Marion’s article “From ‘death of God’ to divine names: a theological path of metaphysics” constitutes a transitional text from his book “God without being” (1982) to the “Prolegomena of love” (1986). It borrows from both books. By using in a deconstructive manner the early “Neoplatonist” line of medieval scholastics and Pseudo-Dionysius, alternative to Thomas Aquinas’ thought, Marion seeks to critically delimit the metaphysical discourse and metaphysical approach to the issue of God and thereby to give a new foundation theology as a critical discipline. He places the problem of contemporary atheisms (Nietzschean and Feuerbach-Marxist ones) within the movement of the via negativa and shows that “apophatic theology”, rather than being the horizon of theological thought, is but one of the necessary stages of the process of theology of divine names. On the ground of theology proper, the author demonstrates the necessity of replacing the first name of God from being to love understood as an absolute and unconditional gift, independent of the issue of being. What is at stake of such a replacement is the possibility of making reflection on God independent of the destiny of metaphysics, including critique and deconstruction of the latter. In the article the author employs both his own classic analyses of idol and icon, and his theory of the gift extending beyond any ontology — a theory which was to become the focus of his later reflection.


“death of God”, atheism, proves of God’s existence, phenomenology of idol, phenomenology of icon, divine names, gift, theology of love, Pseudo-Dionysius Areopagite, William of Saint-Thierry, Saint Bonaventure, Bernard of Clairvaux.


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© Jean-Luc Marion, 2016  © Sergey Ermakov, transl., 2016

(Русский) Сильвен Лазарюс. Можно ли мыслить политику в интериорности?

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