Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 1-6

Contents

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pp. 7-8

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

None of this book has seen print in its current form before, but several speaking and publishing opportunities allowed me to work through earlier versions of the material, to its benefit. David Casey, S.J., the alumni chaplain at Le Moyne College, invited me, along with Ludger...

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Introduction: From the Presence to the Sign

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pp. 1-31

Theology seduced me. I wanted to resist being drawn into its constant uncertainty and intellectual discomfort, but was enticed by its history of gorgeous writing (whether poetically extravagant or mathematically precise) and by the willingness of theological thinkers to take up thought at the...

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1. Seductive Epistemology: Thinking with Assent

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pp. 33-69

There appears to be a curious incompatibility between seduction and any proper sort of epistemology. Knowledge, with its firm and enduring grasp of true facts and its carefully maintained distance from opinion, seems clearly opposed both to the reserve, mystery, and elusive play of seduction and to...

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2. Reading Rites: Sacraments and the Community of Signs

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pp. 71-99

If all the world’s a sign, and all things to which signs point become caught in signification again, then our world is full even as it is fleeting, traced with absence even in what stays. With the modern turn away from a sense of saturated signification, the world’s signs are lost not merely, perhaps not even primarily, in...

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3. Because Being Here Is So Much: Ethics as the Artifice of Attention

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pp. 101-140

The very notion of seductive ethics is likely to give us pause, to seem more error than paradox. Ethics is more often than not conceived as the very resistance to seduction, if not in fact to any sort of pleasure (or bliss, which seems to undermine the ethical subject). It is dutiful, we think, a little...

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4. Prayer: Addressing the Name

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pp. 141-168

Ethical speaking is a strange, intercut mode of address and listening. As some of the peculiarities of the sign are made vivid in thinking of sacraments as divine signs, so too the strangeness of speaking is especially evident when it calls upon an infinite addressee. In considering the peculiarity of...

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5. Take and Read: Scripture and the Enticement of Meaning

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pp. 169-204

In his analysis of scripturally based faith as an opening of questions rather than a settling of answers, Jacques Ellul declares, with not unmerited irritation, “We must vigorously reject that nasty habit of turning to the Bible for an answer to the banal problems of everyday . . . or, still worse, the custom...

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In Place of a Conclusion: Thoughts on a Prior Possible

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pp. 205-218

Seduction resists conclusion—“the melancholy of everything finished,” as Nietzsche aptly has it. It depends upon recurrence and sustaining, on the continued emergence of a new or re-newed and not quite comprehended possibility, on something we know we want even if we aren’t quite sure what...

Notes

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pp. 219-279

Bibliography

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pp. 281-300

Index

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pp. 301-309