Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 22, 2022

Gestures

Rodolphe Olcèse
Pages 167-188

Vertige du moindre geste
Jean-Louis Chrétien, Emmanuel Lévinas, Simone Weil

In this article, I consider the gesture confronted with its own impossibility, in situations that open the gesture to a dimension of transcendence. Focusing first on the event of beauty, as it is discussed by Jean‑Louis Chrétien, and on the encountering of the face, as it is considered by Emmanuel Lévinas, this paper envisions a “below” and a “beyond” of the gesture, in exceptional situations where the gesture is faced with an excess, acquiring a dimension of a theopathy. Subsequently, I emphasize that the transcendence that takes gesture beyond itself can inhabit and nourish the daily gestures, and this can be an occasion of pain and difficulties. In this perspective, Simone Weil shows how the repeated gestures of manual labour can become the mirror of supernatural beauty.