Flesh, Body, World: Michel Henry on Incarnation
body, flesh, life, Michel Henry, world
Henry tirelessly insists that all flesh is an invisible, radically immanent, impressional material in which life arrives in itself. But this raises a theological problem: is the material, visible body of Christ to be excluded from what we understand by incarnation? To answer this and related questions, the problematic of the duplicity of appearing—the appearing of life and the appearing of the world—must be clarified. It is precisely through an analysis of flesh that Henry seeks to establish a rapport between the two modes of appearing, so a study of the flesh should allow us to articulate in one stroke an account of our access to the world and the thingly body. Against a simplistic reading that claims that, for Henry, an unbridgeable gorge separates life and the world, the flesh and the body, I argue that the objective, visible body is real, but that its reality is founded on the more immediate reality of the flesh. I use the results of this inquiry to argue further for two distinct but related senses of the concept “world”, one which names a phenomenological reality and another that picks out an ideological aberration endemic to modernity. While the flesh opens up the reality of the former, the latter is an imaginary and impossible world.
Scruggs, J. (2023). Flesh, Body, World: Michel Henry on Incarnation. Religions, 14 (9). https://doi.org/10.3390/rel14091109