De dood staat op. Naar een seculier opstandingsverhaal − een onderzoek met Jean-Luc Nancy

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In his philosophical project of a ‘deconstruction of monotheism’, Jean-Luc Nancy explores the hypothesis that the historical roots of secularization should be traced back to the beginnings of the monotheistic traditions. The secular is not exclusively a feature of modern culture. The complex connections and tnesions between secularity and religion emerging in the last decades can only be analyzed effectively if one rethinks the notion of the secular along these historical lines. The author offers a brief introduction into Nancy’s project, before moving toward a theme that is central in one of the monotheistic traditions, Christianity: that of he resurrection. He reads and comments parts of Nancy’s essay Noli me tangere, that entails an innovative interpretation of John 20:11-18. In dialogue with Nancy he then develops a new view on the resurrection, in which paradoxically death is given a central meaning. In the resurrection, it is death itself that resurrects; the idea that death would be vanquished into a life after death − as Christian doctrine has it, thereby expanding the modest little epilogue that the tale of the ‘empty tomb’ actually is in the gospels, to a massive foundation of Christian redemption − is hence criticized. It is a life in death, and a death in life that is affirmed here. The resurrection of the mortal, earthly and vulnerable God that Christ is, invites an affirmation of the here and now, of humanity and of the human body: a ‘yes’ to the world, not to an afterworld. Parallel to this analysis, the author follows on Nancy’s suggestion that the resurrection, and in fact the entire gospel, is a parable, and that its ‘truth’ is a parabolic truth: a play with the impossible and the miraculous, in which true and untrue become entangled with each other. In this way, the theme of the resurrection is thought as a secular trace within Christianity. This confronts us with the difficult question to which not only Nancy, but quite an array of postwar thinkers have devoted most of their work (like Hans Blumenberg or recently Charles Taylor): to what extent does Christianity announce and prepare modernity, the latter being a specific continuation and rephrasing of the monotheistic religions? And on the other hand, to what extent do religion and modernity both have their own independant legitimacy? The present article intends to offer a contribution, however limited in scope, to answering this question.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages18
JournalTijdschrift voor Theologie
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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