Faith and the Conditions of Possibility of Experience

James K. A. Smith

in The Experience of God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2005 | ISBN: 9780823225187
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237135 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Faith and the Conditions of Possibility             of Experience

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According to Kevin Hart, “that God can be experienced is to have assumed that the divine offers itself as a phenomenon, and this runs counter to everything you know about the proper usage of the word God”. That observation itself, however, assumes something about both the nature of “experience”, what constitutes a “phenomenon”, as well as the nature of God and God's “donation”. There is a correlation between experience and phenomenon: only a phenomenon can be experienced, and experience can only be experience of a phenomenon in a strict sense. So any “encounter” with something (or someone) that cannot — or will not — be subjected to the conditions of phenomenality cannot be “experienced” in a strict sense. But this does not mean that it cannot be encountered, or that it cannot encounter us; we will just have to find a different name for that “event” — a “counterexperience”. Faith is understood as the medium of this counterexperience that is not an experience and becomes the condition of possibility for the revelation of God.

Keywords: God; experience; Kevin Hart; counterexperience; faith; revelation; phenomenon; phenomenality

Chapter.  2608 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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