Edward Said and the Religious Effects of Culture

Overview

This book provides a distinctive account of Edward Said's critique of modern culture by highlighting the religion-secularism distinction on which it is predicated. This distinction is both literal and figurative. It refers, on the one hand, to religious traditions and to secular traditions and, on the other hand, to tropes that extend the meaning and reference of religion and secularism in indeterminate ways. The author takes these tropes as the best way of organzing Said's heterogeneous corpus-from Joseph Conrad...
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Overview

This book provides a distinctive account of Edward Said's critique of modern culture by highlighting the religion-secularism distinction on which it is predicated. This distinction is both literal and figurative. It refers, on the one hand, to religious traditions and to secular traditions and, on the other hand, to tropes that extend the meaning and reference of religion and secularism in indeterminate ways. The author takes these tropes as the best way of organzing Said's heterogeneous corpus-from Joseph Conrad and the Fiction of Autobiography, his first book, to Orientalism, his most influential book, to his recent writings on the Palestinian question. The religion-secularism distinction, as an act of imagination and narrative continuity, lies behind Said's cultural criticism, his notion of intellectual responsibility, and his public controversy with Michael Walzer about the meaning and the uses of the Exodus story and about the question of Palestine.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A fashionable performance at a high level..." Choice

"This book will excite and reward in graduate courses on the politics of contemporary religious and culture." Religious Studies Review

"Hart meticulously analyses the constituent elements of Said's position and creates a much more nuanced and qualified assessment of its pros and cons. This book will excite and reward in graduate courses on the politics of contemporary religion and culture." Religious Studies Review Oct 2001

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Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface
Abbreviations
Preliminary remarks 1
1 Culture as the transfiguration of religious thought 17
2 The religious effects of culture: nationalism 40
3 The religious effects of culture: Orientalism 62
4 The religious effects of culture: imperialism 88
5 The responsibilities of the secular critic 116
6 Marx, Said, and the Jewish question 143
Concluding remarks: religion, secularism, and pragmatic naturalism 163
App. A Whose exodus, which interpretation? 176
App. B An exchange of letters between Michael Walzer and Edward Said 187
Notes 200
Select bibliography 228
Index of names 235
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