Unveiling the Pathos of Life: The Phenomenology of Michel Henry and the Theology of John the Evangelist


  • John Behr St. Vladimir's Seminary, New York




Phenomenology, Theology, Life, Phenomenology of Religion,


From the early centuries, the Evangelist John has been referred to as “the theologian.” And rightly so, for Christian theology, as we have come to know it, is inconceivable without his Gospel and especially its Prologue. Its words have provided the vocabulary for theological reflection thereafter, and it seems certain that, until the middle to the end of the second century, the annual celebration of Christ’s Passion, Pascha, was only celebrated by those who recalled how John had worn the distinctive headdress of the high priest in Jerusalem: the only disciple to remain at the foot of the cross, John was, for them, the high priest of the paschal mystery. It is thus perhaps not surprising that it was especially in John, and his words about the revelation of Christ, the Word and Life, that Michel Henry found a vision of Christianity that resonated with the phenomenology that he had been investigating from his initial magnum opus, The Essence of Manifestation, through to his final Christian trilogy: first, I Am the Truth: Towards a Philosophy of Christianity, then several years later, during which time he read Tertullian and most importantly Irenaeus, Incarnation: A Philosophy of Flesh, and finally, appearing in print posthumously, Words of Christ