As much a work of philosophy and theology as art-criticism, In the Spirit invites the reader into an exercise of searing attention, where pressing topics of life and faith are considered with a sophistication, creativity, and seriousness that is truly invigorating. DeLay’s unique voice and uncompromising vision herald an author who looks to make an original and lasting impact on discussions of religion and spirituality. This beautiful book is an awakening. 

Ryan S. Kemp, author of Reason and Conversion in Kierkegaard and the German Idealists


DeLay certainly has a “zeal for wisdom,” and his book is, ultimately, about how to identify and obtain the “supreme good.” The short answer lies in the title: we should live our lives “before God.” The long answer can only be acquired by reading the book. For what DeLay offers is a series of powerfully written and insightful reflections on what a life lived before God looks like for the one who lives it […] It is a work of immense wisdom, compelling arguments, and rich phenomenological descriptions. It is, finally, a refreshing reminder of what draws most of us to philosophy in the first place: to grapple with ultimate questions of human existence, with clarity of thought and expression, and without methodological evasions.

– Walter D. Hopp, Editor-in-Chief, Husserl Studies


In 1933, Husserl discovered that according to National Socialist criteria he was not a German anymore. It is little known that after a while an American university offered him a professorship. He even toyed with the idea of emigrating to California. Interest in phenomenology is no recent fact in the United States. Interest in French phenomenology is no recent fact either. Steven DeLay is the heir of a long and distinguished history, and he lives in an academic world where many distinguished scholars have been influenced by their French colleagues. His book was well needed: after many original contributions to phenomenology in the wake of the French reception of Husserl and Heidegger, there was room left for a comprehensive introduction to French figures who have done something to keep phenomenology alive and creative. DeLay has provided Anglophone readers with such an introduction. He has done it thoroughly. And his is the work of a historian of philosophy who is also a promising philosopher in his own right.

Jean-Yves Lacoste, Clare College, Cambridge