Vol. 41 No. 2 (2021): The body and its surplus

Glorious Vulnerability. The Christological body as surplus of the suffering and dead body

Carlo Chiurco
Università di Verona
Leopoldo Sandonà
ISSR Vicenza - Facoltà Teologica del Triveneto
Il corpo e la sua eccedenza, the body and its surplus

Published 2021-12-07


  • body,
  • vulnerability,
  • wound,
  • care,
  • gift

How to Cite

Glorious Vulnerability. The Christological body as surplus of the suffering and dead body. (2021). Teoria. Rivista Di Filosofia, 41(2), 173-193. https://doi.org/10.4454/teoria.v41i2.139


Grounded in the experience of the ontological fragility of the body, vulnerability – a key notion of contemporary philosophical debate – marks the starting point of philosophical enquiries, such as Judith Butler’s, striving to elaborate an  original  a-normativity  manifesting  itself  in  the  disruptive  forms  that  let  the body appear as a surplus of meaning, such as ectasis, grief, and political subversion. However, all these conceptions imply a kenotic anthropology, where the meaning of human experience consists in the human’s own loss. Its ethical equivalent is the (not necessarily shared) reciprocity of such loss. This amount to a vision of the “woundâ€, from which vulnerability originates, always as cutting from the outside to the inside, as an opening that means a loss, and denies the authentically relational dimension of mutual recognition. Ancient figures of vulnerability agree to this meaning of the wound, too. On the contrary, the episode  of  the  disbelief  of  the  apostle  Thomas  shows  an  opposite  perspective,  where the wound is a cutting from the inside to the outside: an opening that means whole-ness, and allows the manifestation of the meaning of the human as absolute positivity while not denying its full vulnerability, and, in doing so, without  making  a  claim  neither  to  sovereignty  nor  to  violence.  Such  positive  meaning of vulnerability as “opening as wholenessâ€, in turn, manifests itself at the ethical level as an anthropology of irrevocable dedication to the other, where the latter is recognized as s/he is, while being actively taken care of