A Philosophical Reading of the Prodigal Son

Feb 21, 2011
Swift Hall, Common Room
1025 E 58th St,
Chicago, IL 60637
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Kevin HartUniversity of Virginia


While the parable of the prodigal son has traditionally been read as a story about a wayward son in need of repentance or the conflict of two siblings over their just treatment, Hart will suggest that the father is the central character of the narrative. The phenomenological tradition is employed to shift the theological perspective of the parable toward a vision of the kingdom of God imagined through the forgiveness and unconditional love of the Father. This lecture was co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Theology Workshop.

Kevin Hart is a Professor of Christian Studies and Chair of the Religious Studies department at the University of Virginia. In addition to being an acclaimed poet, he has written extensively on phenomenology, theology, and literary criticism. His works include The Dark Gaze: Maurice Blanchot and the Sacred and The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology, and Philosophy. His most recent book of poetry, published through University of Notre Dame Press, is entitled Morning Knowledge.