How can a natural disaster like the deluge be integrated into human history? How did the great flood reshape the rapports between nature, God and humanity? How does an accident become an event? Why and how does man classify an event? How does an event return to take on increased meaning?
Leaving aside the opposition between faith and reason so often associated with the story of the flood, this book revisits the principal textual corpus of Antiquity, examining how the flood was transformed into an event in ancient writings. Its presentation as an event reveals how the explanations given for the beginning of the deluge redistribute the rapports between nature, God and Man. The story of the flood has been historicized according to the Greek categories, to the extent of conferring upon it a structural role in human history. Its classification is also accompanied by a return of the event, integrating and exalting it. The deluge, like a watershed that interrupts regular configurations, introduces teleology and receives, from ulterior events, a supplement of different significations, depending on the community of believers: cosmological signification for the Gnostics, Christological for Christians, ethical for Rabbinic Jews.
The expression the power to initiate comes from Hannah Arendt, reworked by Paul Ricœur. The event no longer means to accomplish, but to make accomplishment possible. Man may not master the Creation, but he has received the freedom and power to initiate.
Available February 2015
468 pages, 39 €
Preface by Gilles Dorival
Christophe Leblanc became a Doctor of History in 2010 and fellow researcher at the Centre Paul-Albert. / CNRS – UMR 7297 in Aix-en-Provence He is a teacher of history and geography in secondary education.