Techno-rationalities and the motherhood trilogy of Fabrice Hadjadj: Beyond the reaches of Kaufmann’s médico-religieux

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Vincent Kaufmann’s Ménage à trois: littérature, médecine, religion (2007) sets up the category of the médico-religieux as a tool to understand the intersection of medicine and religion within French literature. This article aims to contest this paradigm, not only in the spirit of Felski’s hostility to the hermeneutics of suspicion (2015) but also because Kaufmann’s account of the religious is too dependent on a Weberian model of the instrumental-rational and thereby insensitive to patterns of religious self-understanding. To illustrate and deepen this objection to Kaufmann’s notion of the medico-religious, the article offers a reading of three plays by Fabrice Hadjadj, contemporary France’s most prolific Catholic author, especially by using the concept of the theandric encounter (a meeting of the divine and the human) which is sensitive to the possibility of the value-rational in a medico-religious imaginary but does not exclude the instrumental-rational. Massacre des innocents (2006), Pasiphaé (2008) and Jeanne et les posthumains (2014) all evoke in different ways elements of the medico-religious, including the evasion of pain and the instrumental uses of religion. Nevertheless, they also attempt to articulate an axis of the imagination that traverses the purely instrumental through experiences of religion that are epiphanic and transformational.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-379
Number of pages15
JournalModern and Contemporary France
Issue number4
Early online date23 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
EventL’Imaginaire médico-religieux: French Literary Perspectives - Queen's University, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Oct 201820 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Modern & Contemporary France on 23 April 2020, available online at:


  • Fabrice Hadjadj
  • techno-rationalities
  • medico-religious
  • Catholic literature
  • theatre


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