2021-03Thematic Section
Abstraction Made Flesh – Immediacy of the Body and Religious Experience. Derrida, Hegel and Georges de La Tour


The text juxtaposes two different understandings of religion, the first: Hegelian, where it functions as an imaginary representation of the concept, and the second: Derridean, which confronts and radicalizes the idea of the death of God. At the center of their juxtaposition is the process of abstraction and the religious figure of the “desert” which both authors use to illustrate it. Central to Derrida’s thinking of religion, understood as a figure of relentless negativity in search of difference, a “desert” can also be found in Hegel’s exploration of “unhappy consciousness,” where it is used in reference to the crusaders and serves as a metonymy of the futile imaginary association of Christ’s divinity with his actual, individual body. The text sets out to complicate what Hegel understands as the abstract nature of Christ’s body and body in general with reference to Derridean gesture of religious purification and through the analysis of Saint Thomas, a work by a baroque painter, Georges de La Tour which is analyzed as an embodiment of the complex relations between religious abstraction and image.


religion, image, abstraction, Hegel, Derrida

How to cite:

Olesik, Marta. “Abstraction Made Flesh – Immediacy of the Body and Religious Experience. Derrida, Hegel and Georges de La Tour.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 5, no. 3 (2021):  50-63. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2021.0027.


Marta Olesik
Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences
18/20 Polna Street, Poland


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