Sacramental Givenness

Philosophy and Theology 22 (1/2):131-154 (2010)
The notion of givenness (Gegebenheit/donation) serves a key role in the phenomenological paradigms of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger and Jean-Luc Marion, yet can this notion be applied directly or analogously within the context of sacramental theology? This essay demonstrates how the respective understandings of givenness, in the works of Husserl, Heidegger and Marion, can be employed as hermeneutical centers for exploring the paradoxical phenomenon of the sacrament, whereby the phenomenalities of the visible and the invisible coincide. The Eucharist is called upon as sacrament par excellence for examining the dynamic of givenness within the phenomenality of the sacrament. Tracing the notion of givenness as employed in the thinking of Husserl, Heidegger and Marion, respectively, the essay concludes with a consideration of the Eucharist as event, or ‘happening.’ In such manner does the concept of givenness shed new light on traditional metaphysical understandings of sacramentality
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