The Wedding Feast of the Lamb

Eros, the Body, and the Eucharist

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Emmanuel Falque
Translator(s): 
George Hughes
Perspectives in Continental Philosophy
  • Bronx, NY: 
    Fordham University Press
    , September
     2016.
     336 pages.
     $36.00.
     Paperback.
    ISBN
    9780823270415.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.

Review

The Wedding Feast of the Lamb: Eros, the Body, and the Eucharistis the third volume in a trilogy of works by Emmanuel Falque that bridges the disciplines of theology and philosophy. Of the previous two works, only volume 2, The Metamorphosis of Finitude: An Essay on Birth and Resurrectionhas been translated into English. The English translation of volume 1, The Guide to Gethsemane: Anxiety, Suffering, Deathis slated for an October 2018 release. Fortunately, each volume stands alone and can be read independently. 

The issues taken up in this volume are the questions raised by both philosophy and theology regarding human nature: Are we minds without bodies, or bodies without minds, or some combination of minds and bodies? Theologically this takes the form of a contrast between animality and angelism; philosophically the conversation begins with Cartesian mind-body dualism and proceeds to discussions of existentialism and phenomenology, including the theories of Heidegger and Deleuze that address the interrelatednessof not only mind and body, but also body, flesh, and organs. Philosophy, as Falque demonstrates, can raise questions and push boundaries, but has not and cannot satisfactorily answer those questions. He contends, however, that theology can, and that the place where all these aspects come together coherently—divine, human, and animal—is in the Eucharist. In the Eucharist, God shares in humanity/animality, while humans in their animality share in the divine. 

Often when a theologian ventures into philosophical territory, or when a philosopher ventures into theological territory, their knowledge of the other discipline is limited. Not so with Falque: he expertly handles both disciplines. In this he is like other post-WWII French Catholic phenomenological luminaries such as Jean-Luc Marion and Michel Henry. The strength of this book is that Falque thoroughly discusses the interaction of Catholic theology and philosophy from antiquity to postmodernity (or from the pre-Socratics to poststructuralism/deconstruction), bringing all to bear on his topic. What is not discussed is Protestant theology—German, Anglo, American, and others—and, aside from references to Freud, psychology barely makes an appearance. As such, the book is an excellent work of Catholic thought, and those of us who are Protestants (and/or psychologists of some sort) will have to expand the discussion on our end.

About the Reviewer(s): 

Thomas Edmondson is Senior Pastor at the First Christian Church of Atlanta.

Date of Review: 
April 11, 2018
About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Emmanuel Falque is honorary dean of the faculty of philosophy at the Catholic University of Paris.

George Hughes was professor in the faculty of letters at the University of Tokyo.

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