Grace and the Experience of the Impossible

Philosophy and Theology 10 (2):421-448 (1997)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Karl Rahner distinguishes “the experience of grace” and “the experience of grace as grace.” How is the experience of grace to be understood? How is grace experienced? This article attempts to understand the experience of grace in terms of Maurice Blanchot’s thought of the impossible. “Human life is impossible,” as Simone Weil reflects. Blanchot, particularly through a reflection which echoes that of Levinas, seeks to reverse the relationship between possibility and impossibility. Whereas, for Heidegger, the subject is to be understood in terms of possibility, Blanchot stresses the impossibility of human life which is only rendered possible through an initiative which is prior to the subject. The impossible relation with the other is the context for any possibility the self may have. With regard to grace, we argue its prior necessity, and its experience as impossible. Like suffering and death, the experience of grace is not the possibility of impossibility, but the impossibility of possibility. Maurice Blanchot himself remains relatively unfamiliar, he and his thoughts remaining in themselves inaccessible. Michel Foucault quite simply writes, “so far has he withdrawn into the manifestation of his work, so completely is he, not hidden by his texts, but absent from their existence, that for us he is that thought itself—its real, absolutely distant, shimmering, invisible presence, its inevitable law, its calm, infinite measured strength” (Foucault: Maurice Blanchot: The Thought from the Outside, 19). To a world espoused to philosophies of light and systems of integration, Blanchot’s thought presents itself as a “thought from outside” of any philosophy and any system, and refuses, as Levinas, says, to “see in philosophy the ultimate possibility.”



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,386

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Efficacious and Sufficient Grace.Heidi Russell - 2010 - Philosophy and Theology 22 (1-2):353-372.
Holy Grace or Moral Behaviour?Rodica Croitoru - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 45:95-100.
The Grace We Are Owed.James B. Gould - 2008 - Faith and Philosophy 25 (3):261-275.
The Exposure of Grace: Dimensionality in Late Heidegger.Andrew J. Mitchell - 2010 - Research in Phenomenology 40 (3):309-330.
De Lubac, Grace, Politics and Paradox.Francesca A. Murphy - 2010 - Studies in Christian Ethics 23 (4):415-430.


Added to PP

46 (#337,879)

6 months
10 (#251,846)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references