Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

Jean-Luc Marion on the Divine and Taking the "Third Way"

Panu-Matti Pöykkoö


In this article, I will investigate Jean-Luc Marion’s influential critique of metaphysical and natural theological approaches to the divine which he regards as “idolatrous”, and his own proposal of an “iconic” account of God’s revelation which he calls the “third way”. Marion’s idol-icon distinction, I maintain, developed in his early work “God without Being”, is the guiding thread of Marion’s philosophical project, and the key for an adequate understanding of his own account. While Marion’s account is compelling and has provided new perspectives and insights to the contemporary discussion in philosophy of religion, its uncompromising excessiveness and the outright rejection of all hermeneutics leaves it deeply problematic and makes it hard to see how to follow his “third way”.


Marion, Third Way, Ontotheology

Full Text:



Blond, Phillip. 1998. Introduction: Theology before philosophy, in Post-Secular Philosophy. Between Philosophy and Theology ed. by Phillip Blond. London: Routledge.

Crowell, Steven. 2014. Transcendental Life, in Phenomenology and the Transcendental ed. by Sara Heinämaa & Mirja Hartimo & Timo Miettinen. London: Routledge.

Gschwandtner, Christina M. 2013. Postmodern Apologetics? Arguments for God in Contemporary Philosophy. New York: Fordham University Press.

—. 2014. Degrees of Givenness. On Saturation in Jean-Luc Marion. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

—. 2016. Marion and Theology. London & New York: Bloomsbury.

Heidegger, Martin. 1969. Identity and Difference. Trans. Joan Stambaugh. New York: Harper&Row

Horner, Robyn. 2005. Jean-Luc Marion. A Theo-logical Introduction. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Marion, Jean-Luc. 1991. God Without Being. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

—. 1997. Metaphysics and Phenomenology: a Summary for Theologians, in The Postmodern God ed. by Graham Ward. Oxford: Blackwell.

—. 2001. Idol and Distance. Five Studies. Trans. Thomas A. Carlson. New York: Fordham University Press.

—. 2002a. Being Given. Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness. Trans. Jeffrey L. Kosky. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

—. 2002b. In Excess. Studies of Saturated Phenomena. Trans. Robyn Horner & Vincent Berraud. New York: Fordham University Press.

—. 2004. The Crossing of the Visible. Trans. James K. A. Smith. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

—. 2008. The Visible and the Revealed. Trans. Christina M. Gschwandtner and other. New York: Fordham University Press.

Mason, Brock M. 2014. Saturated Phenomena, the Icon, and Revelation: A Critique of Marion’s Account of Revelation and the “Redoubling” of Saturation. Aporia vol. 24 no. 1. 25–38.

Mckinley, Shane. 2010. Interpreting Excess. Jean-Luc Marion, Saturated Phenomena and Hermeneutics. New York: Fordham University Press.

Schrijvers, Joeri. 2011. Ontotheological Turnings?: The Decentering of the Modern Subject in Recent French Phenomenology. Albany: State University of New York Press,

Welten, Ruud. 2011. Phénoménologie du Dieu invisible. Essais et études sur Emmanuel Levinas, Michel Henry et Jean-Luc Marion. Trans. Sylvain Camilleri. Paris: L’Harmattan.


  • There are currently no refbacks.