For the foreseeable future, I will be writing a new book, Before God, due to appear next year.
The nine essays in Before God are an effort to reawaken an appreciation of what it is to live in the presence of God, to recognize that our most intimate mode of existence is not one of being-in-the-world only. Surmounting received divisions between philosophy and theology, they explore the relation we have to God and others, tracing a path instituted in antiquity and latent still in certain strands of contemporary phenomenology. After two introductory explorations of the ancient conception of philosophy as a way of life that undermines the modern notion of philosophy as methodologically atheist, the third chapter raises the question of our relation to others through an assessment of how, paradoxically, we are together in the world yet ever alone. This theme of our relation to others is deepened with an analysis of forgiveness in its various forms. The theme is continued in the next chapter’s discussion of peace, which is seen to prove so elusive because of the omnipresence of evil in the world, a fact which itself is explored in connection to the varieties of silence we encounter throughout our daily lives. Utilizing these results from the preceding chapters on forgiveness, peace, and silence, the last three chapters set out to inquire into perennial questions as immortality, doubt, and deception. Drawing together the previous results, the final one expounds on the view of man which has emerged: we utterly are open to a God who in Jesus Christ calls each of us back to ourselves.
“[T]he book is a well-written and provocative work, which makes for a lively reading and which gives much to think.”
— François Raffoul, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews
“In treating these authors and these subjects DeLay provides clear relief of the established phenomenological tradition coming from Husserl and Heidegger, thereby granting the text a remarkable unity despite covering such a wide range of distinct figures and topics. DeLay is able to clearly frame together the often-intractable development of ideas in this French phenomenological tradition, paying particular attention to the various points of contact, the divergences, the cultivation of specific intuitions, the development of particular concepts, and the emergence of new impulses. DeLay’s text balances two competing aims, the first in addressing the need for more commentary on those figures most productively interrogating the legacy of Heidegger and Husserl, and secondly, to introduce the texts in their own terms, and in their own styles, so that readers can enter into their own distinctive world … In total, we find a noteworthy contribution on two fronts: a compellingly clear account of intellectual history, and a unique contribution to the ongoing work of phenomenology itself.”
— William L. Connelly, Journal for Continental Philosophy of Religion
“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, Berkeley, 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 the Anglophone readership 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, University of Cambridge, UK
“Steven DeLay offers a very careful and well-documented overview of French phenomenology from the 1980s to the present. He shows that, far from being concerned only with parochial issues, this phenomenology is an original and valuable contribution to philosophy in general. One of the great merits of DeLay’s work is to reconsider how French contemporary phenomenology relates to the Anglo-American context, by showing that the lens of a ‘theological turn’ once popularized by Dominique Janicaud, while not being completely misguided, remains nevertheless very partial when accounting for the complexity and innovative power of la nouvelle phénoménologie.”
— Claude Romano, University of Paris-Sorbonne
“Steven DeLay’s book is not only one of the best introductions to French phenomenology in the English world, but it also questions the future of philosophy itself. That is why it must be put in all hands, not only for what it gives to understand, but also for what it gives to think. Every philosophy has a present and a future, and it is all the merit of this introduction to really demonstrate it.”
— Emmanuel Falque, Catholic Institute of Paris, France
It is profiled in Christ Church Matters, the Christ Church, Oxford alumni magazine (volume 41, Trinity Term 2018).