Miracle and Machine: Jacques Derrida and the Two Sources of Religion, Science, and the Media

Overview


Miracle and Machine is a sort of "reader's guide" to Jacques Derrida's 1994 essay "faith and knowledge," his most important work on the nature of religion in general and on the unprecedented forms it is taking today through science and the media. It provides essential background for understanding Derrida's essay, commentary on its unique style and its central figures (e.g., Kant, Hegel, Bergson, and Heidegger), and assessment of its principal philosophical claims about the fundamental duplicity of religion and ...
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Overview


Miracle and Machine is a sort of "reader's guide" to Jacques Derrida's 1994 essay "faith and knowledge," his most important work on the nature of religion in general and on the unprecedented forms it is taking today through science and the media. It provides essential background for understanding Derrida's essay, commentary on its unique style and its central figures (e.g., Kant, Hegel, Bergson, and Heidegger), and assessment of its principal philosophical claims about the fundamental duplicity of religion and the ineluctably autoimmune relationship among religion, science, and the media. Along the way it offers in-depth analysis of Derrida's treatment of everything from the nature of religious revelation, faith, prayer, sacrifice, testimony, messianicity, fundamentalism, and secularism to the way religion is today being transformed by globalization, technoscience, and worldwide telecommunications networks.

But Miracle and Machine is much more than a commentary on a single Derrida text. Through references to scores of other works by Derrida, both early and late, it also provides a unique introduction to Derrida's work in general. It demonstrates that one of the very best ways to understand the terms, themes, claims, strategies, and motivations of Derridean deconstruction from the early 1960s through 2004 is to read critically and patiently, in its spirit and in its letter, an exemplary text such as "Faith and Knowledge." Finally, Miracle and Machine attempts to put Derrida's ideas about religion to the test by reading alongside "Faith and Knowledge" an already classic work of American fiction that is more or less contemporaneous with it, Don DeLillo's 1997 Underworld, a novel that explores the same relationship between faith and knowledge, religion and science, religious revelation and the World Wide Web,
messianicity, and weapons of mass destruction in a word, in two words, miracles and machines.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Naas has opened a unique access to the way Derrida thinks and writes, which will be of great importance both for continental philosophy of religion and for our understanding of Derrida's place within it. The careful scholarship, philosophical insight, and immense readability of this book will make it an indispensable resource for anyone who seeks to come to terms with Derrida's arguments."-Martin Hägglund, Harvard University

"This book is overflowing with insights and broad perspectives at the same time that it offers an authoritative summation, overview, and progress report on Jacques Derrida's considerable work on religion and its impact on the contemporary world."-Henry Sussman, Yale University

"With Miracle and Machine, Naas provides us with an extremely rich and highly illuminating reading of Derrida's complex work that permits us to gauge the stakes of this absolutely unique text in Derrida's corpus."-Research in Phenomenology

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Michael Naas is Professor of Philosophy at DePaul University. His most recent books include Taking on the Tradition: Jacques Derrida and the Legacies of Deconstruction and Derrida from Now On (Fordham).

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