Steven E. Knepper and Ryan G. Duns, SJ / William Desmond and the Bible

Steven E. Knepper is Associate Professor of English and the Bruce C. Gottwald, Jr. ’81 Chair for Academic Excellence at the Virginia Military Institute. He is the author of Wonder Strikes: Approaching Aesthetics and Literature with William Desmond (SUNY, 2022), the editor of A Heart of Flesh: William Desmond and the Bible (Cascade, 2023), and the co-author, with Robert Wyllie and Ethan Stoneman, of Byung-Chul Han: A Critical Introduction (Polity, forthcoming 2024).

Ryan G. Duns, SJ, is Associate Professor of Theology at Marquette University. He is the author of Spiritual Exercises for a Secular Age: Desmond’s Quest for God (Notre Dame, 2020) and the forthcoming Theology of Horror: The Hidden Depths of Popular Films (Notre Dame, 2024).

Show Notes


A Heart of Flesh:

Fr. Ryan’s YouTube:

Steve’s Twitter:

Fr. Ryan’s Twitter:


Bespaloff, Rachel. “On the Iliad.”

Desmond, William. Desire, Dialectic, and Otherness: An Essay on Origins.

———. Godsends: From Default Atheism to the Surprise of Revelation.

———. The William Desmond Reader.

Duns, Ryan G., SJ. Spiritual Exercises for a Secular Age: Desmond and the Quest for God.

Knepper, Steven E. Byung-Chul Han: A Critical Introduction.

———. Wonder Strikes: Approaching Aesthetics and Literature with William Desmond.

———, ed. A Heart of Flesh: William Desmond and the Bible.

Taylor, Charles. A Secular Age.

———. Sources of the Self: The Making of the Modern Identity.

Weil, Simone. “The Iliad, or the Poem of Force.”


(01:53) – Discovering William Desmond

(05:12) – Fr. Ryan’s roundtable: Desmond, Levertov, Murdoch, Rahner

(07:27) – Steve’s roundtable: Desmond, Marcel, Bespaloff, Chrétien

(11:31) – Describing William Desmond

(19:40) – Between metaphysics and phenomenology

(28:17) – The four senses of being

(35:47) – “A heart of flesh”

(39:30) – Reading Scripture metaxologically

(45:41) – Reading 1 and 2 Samuel with Desmond

(50:47) – Reading Jesus’ parables with Desmond

(55:43) – What’s next for Fr. Ryan

(57:51) – What’s next for Steve

(59:52) – Where to find Fr. Ryan and Steve


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