chapter  4
12 Pages

Kenosis

ByAlan Jacobs

This chapter illustrates the idea that genuine love of others is kenotic in a particular sense of that word: Genuine love of others requires an emptying out of one's own self and a consequent refilling of the emptied consciousness with attention to the other. This notion derives from St. Paul's account of Christ's kenosis or "self-emptying," "self-divestiture": "Have this mind among yourselves, which have in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men". The evidence suggests that Bakhtin directly rejects the kenotic tradition as just described—though, as we shall see, there is another sense in which the kenosis passage from St. Paul is utterly essential to his charitable hermeneutics, and ours.