Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 5-11-2018


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name





McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Marie L. Baird

Committee Member

Sebastian Madathummuriyil

Committee Member

George Worgul


Jean-Luc Marion, Gianni Vattimo, Theology, Philosophy of Religion, metaphysics, postmodernism, phenomenology


Catholic theology in the postmodern era has encountered various cultural or narrative shifts—both negative and positive—which have helped shape the Roman Catholic Church and Christianity at large. Negatively, the Church has been affected by external factors (e.g., globalization, immigration/emigration, increased access to technology, etc.) and internal struggles (e.g., reduced church attendance, an aging population, etc.). Positively, as others have suggested, postmodernity has ushered in a return to religion through new philosophical and theological ideas (e.g., phenomenology, existentialism, post-metaphysics, etc.). This dissertation aims to contribute to the ongoing postmodern concerns addressed in the cultural and narrative shifts, by focusing on the work of Jean-Luc Marion and Gianni Vattimo. The emphasis of this project focuses on the use of metaphysics as the foundational tool of theology and its corresponding limitations. This project also illuminates a central tenet of Christianity, caritas. Marion and Vattimo address caritas as that which should be the focal point of postmodern theology. Addressing this attribute of Christianity, this project observes the possibility of a ‘return to religion,’ one that reflects the postmodern exploration of religion by the several philosophers addressed herein. While this dissertation avoids offering a reconstruction of theology or, more specifically ecclesiology, it aims to re-establish the importance of philosophy, metaphysics, and caritas in the postmodern context.