Gift of Death and Literature in Secret

Overview

The Gift of Death, Jacques Derrida’s most sustained consideration of religion, explores questions first introduced in his book Given Time about the limits of the rational and responsible that one reaches in granting or accepting death, whether by sacrifice, murder, execution, or suicide. Derrida analyzes Czech philosopher Jan Patocka’s Heretical Essays in the Philosophy of History and develops and compares his ideas to the works of Heidegger, Lévinas, and Kierkegaard. One of Derrida’s major works, The Gift of ...

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Overview

The Gift of Death, Jacques Derrida’s most sustained consideration of religion, explores questions first introduced in his book Given Time about the limits of the rational and responsible that one reaches in granting or accepting death, whether by sacrifice, murder, execution, or suicide. Derrida analyzes Czech philosopher Jan Patocka’s Heretical Essays in the Philosophy of History and develops and compares his ideas to the works of Heidegger, Lévinas, and Kierkegaard. One of Derrida’s major works, The Gift of Death resonates with much of his earlier writing, and this highly anticipated second edition is greatly enhanced by David Wills’s updated translation.
 
This new edition also features the first-ever English translation of Derrida’s Literature in Secret. In it, Derrida continues his discussion of the sacrifice of Isaac, which leads to bracing meditations on secrecy, forgiveness, literature, and democracy. He also offers a reading of Kafka’s Letter to His Father and uses the story of the flood in Genesis as an embarkation point for a consideration of divine sovereignty.
 
“An important contribution to the critical study of ethics that commends itself to philosophers, social scientists, scholars of religion . . . [and those] made curious by the controversy that so often attends Derrida.”—Booklist, on the first edition

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Comprises four sections which deal respectively with the development of the notion of responsibility in the Platonic and Christian traditions; the relation between sacrifice and mortality; the contemporary meaning of the story of Abraham and Isaac; and the relation between religious ideology and economic rationality. Originally published in 1992 as Donner la Mort in L'ethique du Don, Jacques Derrida et la Pensee du Don by Metailie-Transition, Paris. Lacks an index and a bibliography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226142777
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 2/15/2008
  • Series: Religion and Postmodernism Series
  • Edition description: 2ND
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 789,761
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was, at the time of his death, director of studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and professor of humanities at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of many books published by the University of Chicago Press. David Wills is professor in the Departments of English and Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University at Albany. He is the author of Matchbook: Essays in Deconstruction.

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Table of Contents

Translator’s Preface to the 2007 Edition
 
The Gift of Death
 
One
Secrets of European Responsibility
Two
Beyond: Giving for the Taking, Teaching and Learning to Give, Death
Three
Whom to Give to (Knowing Not to Know)
Four
Tout autre est tout autre
 
 
Literature in Secret: An Impossible Filiation
 
One
The Test of Secrecy: For the One as for the Other
Two
Father, Son, and Literature
Three
More Than One
 
Notes

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