Religions (Sep 2021)

“All of Us” before God: Phenomenological Contours of the Liturgical Assembly according to Franz Rosenzweig and Jean-Yves Lacoste

  • Marie-Aimée Manchon

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 9
p. 783


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This article treats the notion of liturgical experience that was introduced into contemporary philosophy by Franz Rosenzweig at the start of the twentieth century. His original and deep thinking in the Star of Redemption describes, among other things, the liturgical feasts of Judaism and Christianity as ramparts against finitude and as openings onto the ultimate. The article will bring together his descriptions of the liturgical assembly as a dialogical and choral “we” or “all of us” with the work of Jean-Yves Lacoste who has made liturgy the very heart of his magisterial phenomenological work. Putting these two authors into conversation allows us to uncover some salient traits of what makes for a liturgical community, such as the link between the liturgical assembly and the notion of communion. Drawing on both Rosenzweig and Lacoste, we can see, first, that this community is not simply cultural or ideological, but that its core lies in the concrete experience of exposing oneself before God. Next, I take up the idea of eschatological presentiment in Lacoste and the choral response-structure in Rosenzweig and suggest that this eschatological anticipation is manifested in the flesh of the assembly, endowing it with a dimension of responsibility. Finally, the liturgical assembly becomes a concrete body in which the kingdom is able to come near in the density of presence as fraternity within an aura of love. By doing so, a “thinking otherwise” may prove capable of illuminating philosophical understandings of human community more broadly.