TABOR - Tradition and Contemporaneity in the Romanian Orthodox Church
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Idol and icon in the work of Jean Luc Marion. Three contexts for interpreting reality of the two phenomena
Jean-Luc Marion is one of the first philosophers of modernity which exhibits a genuine interest in religious subjects in his writings and also manages to reintegrate them into a philosophical discourse. One of the topics constantly discussed there is the idol and the icon. We could identify in his work three major contexts in which this binome is treated, broadly following the chronological sequence of the philosopher’s creation. A first approach of the topic is from the perspective of discursive thought: any concept which claims to understand God or the Being is an idol, and metaphysics is the first to be criticized for hosting such idolatrous thinking. How to understand and manage the problem of distance between Creator and creation is essential in distinguishing between idol and icon. Overcoming conceptual idolatry through an iconic speech occurs from recognition and acceptance of the distance that separates and unites with God, and takes the form of a praise to God, as a prayer. The second context in which the couple idol-image is treated is the phenomenology of vision, where Marion proposes a rich and up to date analysis of visibility structures. Finally, the idol and icon are defined as saturated phenomena, events of unbearable force that makes principles and intellect categories to be exceeded and the possibility of objectification to be excluded. The very nuanced understanding of the idol and the icon, reached by Jean-Luc Marion, becomes a very useful tool in drawing clearer benchmarks on the road to true knowledge of God and His world.