“Kenosis, Sunyata, and Comportment: Inter-Religious Discourse Beyond Concepts,” by Eric Hall

Here, I argue against Masao Abe’s interpretation of the Christian notion of Kenosis. Kenosis supposedly coincides with the Buddhist notion of Sunyata, through which Abe attempts to build an interreligious bridge. Abe, however, presents Kenosis in such a manner that is too out of sync with most historical western understandings of it, meaning his interpretation cannot actually function as the bridge that he wants. Giving what I believe is a more “orthodox” interpretation of Kenosis, I argue that the idea still finds a parallel in Sunyata, only in terms of the notion of praxis rather than conceptuality.

3 Responses to ““Kenosis, Sunyata, and Comportment: Inter-Religious Discourse Beyond Concepts,” by Eric Hall”

  1. John Sobert Sylvest says:

    One may find the following discussions by my late friend, Jim Arraj, evocative vis a vis Abe’s perspectives:



    I am deeply sympathetic to the general notions that 1) theological concepts must not be too facilely mapped inter-religiously 2) turns to praxis can be fruitful & 3) Western metaphysical categories should not be imposed on Eastern phenomenal experiences.

    I need to re-read the article and consult other resources to comment further re: Christianity’s historical understandings of kenosis. The Kyoto school, in particular, has enjoyed a rather high profile in the West for various historical reasons, which at times has made me fear that others might use it, caricature-like, to engage the East, in general, vis a vis nonduality.

    This is an important conversation. Good work.

  2. John Sobert Sylvest says:

    I wrote “Kyoto” but was moreso thinking, instead, of the Soto school of Zen (and not really about the university’s philosophical legacy)

  3. Eric Hall says:

    Thanks, John. I appreciate the thoughtful response. I look forward to reading through these links.

Join The Discussion

You can participate in discussions of all Journal articles that we publish. Click Discuss this article and add your voice to the dialogue.