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

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