Theo-Phenomenology of Love in Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae's Thought

  • Nicolae Turcan Babes-Bolyai University


In reading Father Dumitru Stăniloae, it is obvious that love and divine-human communion have a prominent role in his theology. This text aims to approach this topic from a phenomenological point of view: it analyzes the implicit reductions working in Stăniloae's texts, the presence of the intentionality, the role of the ego and its limits, as well as the problem of the reciprocity of love (raised by Jean-Luc Marion). We will try to argue not only that there are phenomenological influences in Stăniloae's understanding of love, but also that such a topic requires a phenomenology that synthesizes the phenomenology of the world (Husserl and Heidegger) and the phenomenology of life (M. Henry). Because love, in its perfection, is a gift of the Holy Spirit, both types of phenomenology must be complemented with a dialogical and paradoxical one, a theo-phenomenology of love, where the Given can be invisible, living, eternally saturated, and never reducible to an object or to a concept.

Keywords: Dumitru Stăniloae, Jean-Luc Marion, love, erotic reduction, theological counter-reduction, reciprocity of love, spiritual life, phenomenology

Author Biography

Nicolae Turcan, Babes-Bolyai University

Nicolae Turcan is an associate professor at Babes-Bolyai University (Cluj-Napoca, Romania), Faculty of Orthodox Theology. Areas of interest include the dialog between theology and phenomenology, the continental philosophy of religion, history of philosophy, apologetics, Eastern orthodox dogmatics, metaphysics, phenomenology, and postmodernism. He is the director of the Centre for Dialogue between Theology and Philosophy, a member in The Romanian Society for Phenomenology and the editor of Diakrisis Yearbook of Theology and Philosophy.

Among his publications: 

  • Paradoxes and Kneels: Thoughts on Philosophy and Faith. [In Romanian]. Bucharest: Eikon, 2017.
  • Apology after the End of Metaphysics: Theology and Phenomenology in Jean-Luc Marion. [In Romanian]. Bucharest: Eikon, 2016.
  • Postmodernism and Apophatic Theology: An Apology against Weak Thought. [In Romanian]. Cluj: Limes, 2014.
  • Cioran or the Excess as Philosophy. [In Romanian]. 2nd edition. Cluj: Limes, 2013.
  • Abyss and Other Love. [In Romanian]. Cluj: Limes, 2012.
  • Beginning of Suspicion: Kant, Hegel & Feuerbach on Religion and Philosophy. [In Romanian]. Cluj: Eikon, 2011.
  • God of Small Thoughts. [In Romanian]. Cluj: Limes, 2009.



How to Cite
TURCAN, Nicolae. Theo-Phenomenology of Love in Fr. Dumitru Stăniloae's Thought. Diakrisis Yearbook of Theology and Philosophy, [S.l.], v. 2, p. 69-83, may 2019. ISSN 2601-7415. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 03 dec. 2021. doi: