God-without-Being: A Definition from Laruelle’s Dictionnaire de la non-philosophie

In the comments to the post on the principle of sufficient theology indiefaith asked me what relation there was, if any, between Laruelle and the phenomenology of Marion. I just got Laruelle’s Dictionnaire de la non-philosophie and was surprised to see that it contained an entry on God-without-Being. I thought it might be “fun” to translate it and as it may be of interest to other I’ve posted it below. Taylor Adkins at Speculative Heresy has posted quite a few of these and interested parties should see those translations (I’m sure his translation of this particular entry will be much clearer than my own amateur attempt here).

A quick word on the structure. The first part in italics is the short definition of the term, the second part indebted from the first sets the term in its philosophical history in terms of what is more significant for its non-philosophical use, and the final section is the non-philosophical use of and evasion of the philosophical decision.


First name for the identity (of) “God”, human identity in-the last-instance of a simple onto-theo-logical material. Necessary symbol for a non-theology or a unified theory of philosophy and religious faith.

The expression “God without Being” comes from Jean-Luc Marion and testifies to a deconstruction at the least Heideggerian, and more so, of onto-theo-logy. It is the idea of God represented in a particular mode of philosophy, onto-theo-logical, from the matrix of combining the great opposites (Being/being [Être/Étant], One/Multiple) characteristic of the metaphysical Decision and added on to the causality of the One. Instead of one of the opposites simply being split – at the assistance of language – in order to achieve the stature of a principle (for example and in particular the Platonic One), each of the opposites are here subjected to that splitting: the One of the aforementioned example would appear as One-for-the-dyad, the two of the dyad itself appears as “One divided into two”, and God as the conceptual gathering of that double division – the Whole of things which Kant said was composed by the unity of the One and the Multiple. Said otherwise, God is the principle of the enclosure of onto-theo-logical language, indeed philosophical.

In the ontological demonstration, God is the name of the combination of essence and existence, or even of Being [Être] and being [l’Étant], since God is the being-which-is [l’Étant-qui-est]. In the cosmological demonstration, God appears in the inverse as the difference between Being [Être] and being [l’Étant], in the play of the two demonstrations, God is then the difference of the identity and difference of Being [Être] and being[l’Étant], being pure amphibology.

The contemporary attempts (Lévinas, Marion) to think God without being, without essence nor existence, leads to the identification of God with the Other, an Other non-thetic in and by the definitions of an ethical God in the one [Levinas], and of a God without theology – liberated from the amphibology – in the other [Marion]. But the amphibology reappears as crossing from the philosophical Decision in so much as it is structured as a metaphysic which these attempts cannot radically invalidate.

The One-in-One, not being Self [Moi], could not be God (as in Schelling who confused the One and Being). The Stranger-subject [subject-Étranger] not being non-Self [non-Moi], could not be (in particular) God. God is a specific and irreducible mode of the Stranger – it is at the least that which imposes the onto-theo-logical material. The vision-in-One determines in-the-last-instance the experience of the identity (of) God, identity (of) a transcendence or of an absolute height (and not only of an exteriority). This is the only manner of returning to God his transcendence, as it is living-in-One [vécue-en-Un], or his sense (of) identity, while it is compromised by all the modes of arguing for its subject by presence, or, in the inverse, by withdrawal, or lastly by the withdrawal in presence which would qualify God as “gift”. It brings from dualysis the confusion One-God, identifying in the identity (of) God, always presupposed by theology, an effect of vision in-One. If the “given” precedes the donation and, as such, necessarily the gift, the only error of the dialectic is of having attributed this being-given [être-donné] (“givenence” [“donnéité]) to Being [Être], in forming the expression of “Being-given” [Être-donné] (Kojève), and in also consequently refusing to God appearance in the non-real order of donation. Being [Étant] given the One, as well as in-the-last-instance the givenence of the Other-as-donation, the new gift of non-philosophy may consist in admitting, in its manner, the being-given-without-donation of the donation of a God-non-theological, of an atheistic or human God in-the-last-instance, all the more transcendent, where the paradox dissolves the amphibology without resuscitating the dialectic of God and man (Hegel, Feuerbach). It is only from the radical phenomenal point of view of the-last-instance (and not phenomenological) that one knows that it is non-sufficient, that man is the measure of God himself.

4 thoughts on “God-without-Being: A Definition from Laruelle’s Dictionnaire de la non-philosophie

  1. Anthony, this is wonderful! This is a term that I was missing from my copy, so I’m glad to see you proceeding to translate it. Isn’t it fun to work on these definitions? I mean, really refreshing and quickly productive…like how it feels to write a succinct and affective poem (maybe).

    In any case, in the Deleuze essay, I have translated the nominatives Etre and Etant as being and the existent, but I think with the Heideggerian reminder at the front of this definition, it is clearer to do what you have done which is in accordance with at least one of the translations out there of Being and Time.

    One other suggestion (because all in all, I dispute your claim that I can do better)… the vecue-en-Un…could be “lived-in-One”… only because he does have the definition of vecue-sans-vie…which seems to accord with “lived-without-life”… so that I read “as it is lived” … instead of in the nominative of “real-life” which definitely accords to how it is rendered (by Daniel Smith for example in his dissertation), vecue being “lived-experience.” I think you tried to characterize it that way be adding “real,” but if it is translated in its participial sense it might work out differently.

    All in all, I hope you continue doing this, if you enjoyed it!

    All the best,


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