«La mort: passage ou limite ?» Introductory note on the methodology of an unpublished lecture offered by André Scrima at the Saint-Joseph University in Beirut (1978)
The proposal for an extremely original lecture – La mort: passage or limit? – will be developed in the classroom of the Faculty of Religious Studies, in the academic year 1978, at Saint Joseph University, Beirut. This course was transcribed by students of the Department of Religious Studies in Beirut in 1978. The recent discovery of this unpublished manuscript in the Augustin Dupré La Tour S.J. archives prompts me to make its first presentation to the academic world here. The Orthodox monk, from Romanian origins, André Scrima basically suggested that the theme of death should develop into various elements of reflection related to the comparative study of religions and modern thought in comparison to the Christian faith. Therefore, if the theme of death arises in a historiographical context related to the study of the History of Religions, the history of reflection on death in Western philosophical thought also plays its interpretative part. Finally, with respect to the two perspectives a third one is instilled: the problem of death for man from the point of view of Christian anthropology. The article also aims to contextualize the conceptual diagrams with which André Scrima works in his exposition on death through two parameters: the limit of the discourse on death – frontière logique – and the limit of death for itself – frontière existentielle. The subject is divided by Scrima into two conceptual diagrams: a. en deçà – death both as a subject within a discourse, of an observed fact, and as part of a noetic, reflexive exposition and questioning within consciousness and by our consciousness; b. au-delà – death as a mystery: the non-talking of death in itself; the invention of a “grammar” of the death of the human being.
Keywords: interreligious studies, history of religions, philosophy of religions, comparative studies, phenomenology, death studies, André Scrima, Middle East.