Can we approach philosophically the essence of Christianity? We have access to it through its existential core, such as it is lived in faith, hope, and charity: we therefore need to decipher the essence of Christianity at the heart of Christian existence. With Saint Paul, we have an original and privileged access to such a fundamental experience, because in his Epistles, the new religious experience is accompanied by its first explanation.
And it is clearly because they have rediscovered the importance of this event that for two centuries, the philosophers have never ceased to dialogue with Paul: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Freud, Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Arendt, Jonas, Ricoeur, Agamben, and others.
The purpose of this series of lessons is to resume this dialogue, by passing through these different philosophical interpretations, sometimes made of lightning-fast breakthroughs, sometimes of caricatures and misunderstandings, in order to get closer to the true Paul: a Jew of the first century who believes in Jesus the Messiah (Christos). In deciphering the Epistles of Paul as close as possible to the texts, can we today make people sensitive to the authentic and revolutionary impact of his thinking?
I will try to identify the main knots of Paul's thinking, by focusing on a few moments essential to his thinking. I will try to show how its most remarkable concepts (madness of the cross, end of times, use of the world, moral impotence, identification of the self with Christ Messiah), are inserted in an experience that gives them their meaning : a new form of life. Paul himself often takes on a philosophical vocabulary, that of the Stoics, but in order to give it a new meaning. I will use it as a frame, to measure the twists he gives to the stoic concepts - which did not allow to think of a unheard-of Gospel - and to illuminate the vision of the world it faces.