Revue Roumaine de Philosophie, 65, 1, p. 125–143, Bucureşti, 2021
Abstract: The question we want to answer in this paper is the following: is there soteriology, i.e. doctrine of redemption, in Cioran’s work from his French period? If – as we had the opportunity to show elsewhere – his writings in Romanian indicate a kind of philosophical “therapeutics”, do we have sufficient reasons to think that his works in French was driven towards the formulation of a certain soteriology? Indeed, even at first glance, we have the impression of a change in discourse: his themes, his wordings, his references, the titles of his books, as well as some of his “characters” (God, Adam, the devil, the demiurge, the Man) do transport to a realm of explicit religiosity. Such impression may be misleading unless we immediately temper it with the explanation that it’s not only religion that has a soteriological dimension, but also philosophy, namely to a different extent according to historical contexts, authors and so on. Thus, there aren’t only religions, but also philosophies of redemption – such as the philosophy of Plotinus – which include religious motives and terminologies, although they basically remain unaffected by such homologies. And Cioran is a philosopher, even though the existential dimension of his philosophy makes him repudiate the “theoretical”, “objective”, or “impersonal” aspects of philosophy.
Keywords: redemption, soteriology, procession, conversion.
1. PHILOSOPHERS’ DELIVERANCE: SAVING THE MULTIPLE
As a matter of fact, as we shall see in this analysis – which follows one of his most important books of his French period, La Chute dans le temps – religion, though maybe preponderant, isn’t the only reference framework. Rather, it seems that here as well as in other of his writings, Cioran wants to “test” his theory by passing it through various “mediums”: religious, anthropological, biological, psychological, and gnoseological. These levels are visited briefly and without any predictable order, yet the difference among them is rather obvious. Highly schematized, Cioran’s construct shows its profound affiliation to a long and powerful philosophical tradition in which unity is the supreme value, and the true (sometimes ineffable) reality or substance, while multiplicity – its alterity – has an extremely complex relationship with it, where it may have different, sometimes conflicting values. Thus, the multiple may be sheer illusion (as in Parmenides), a copy or a shadow of the one (as in Plato), an emanation (as in Plotinus), or a mistake of an evil demiurge (as in the Gnostics).. [PDF]