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God, the Gift, and Postmodernism

Edited by John D. Caputo and Michael J. Scanlon

Publication Year: 1999

Pushing past the constraints of postmodernism which cast "reason" and"religion" in opposition, God, the Gift, and Postmodernism, seizes the opportunity to question the authority of "the modern" and open the limits of possible experience, including the call to religious experience, as a new millennium approaches. Jacques Derrida, the father of deconstruction, engages with Jean-Luc Marion and other religious philosophers to entertain
questions about intention, givenness, and possibility which reveal the extent to which deconstruction is structured like religion. New interpretations of Kant, Heidegger, Husserl, and Derrida emerge from essays and discussions with distinguished philosophers and theologians from the United States and Europe. The result is that God, the Gift, and Postmodernism elaborates a radical phenomenology that stretches the limits of its possibility and explores areas where philosophy and religion have become increasingly and surprisingly convergent.

Contributors include: John D. Caputo, John Dominic Crossan, Jacques Derrida, Robert Dodaro, Richard Kearney, Jean-Luc Marion, Frangoise Meltzer, Michael J. Scanlon, Mark C. Taylor, David Tracy, Merold Westphal
and Edith Wyschogrod.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Series: Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-iv


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pp. vii

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pp. ix

The editors wish to acknowledge the support of Villanova University in making possible the conference "Religion and Postmodernism," on September 25-27,1997, upon which this volume is...

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Introduction: Apology for the Impossible: Religion and Postmodernism

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pp. 1-19

This volume is based upon a conference held at Villanova University on September 25-27, 1997, entitled "Religion and Postmodernism," which brought together a distinguished international body of philosophers and theologians in dialogue with Jacques Derrida in order to discuss the question of religion at the end of the millennium. In particular, the...

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1. In the Name: How to Avoid Speaking of “Negative Theology,”

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pp. 20-53

That the two questions of the "metaphysics of presence" and of "negative theology" -questions which to all appearances come from such dissimilar provenances-should today end up encountering one another, indeed end up being by and large superimposed, could be surprising...

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2. On the Gift: A Discussion between Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion

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pp. 64-78

Michael Scanlon: Villanova University is an Augustinian University, and I know the affection that Jacques Derrida has for Augustine. So, by way of introducing this afternoon's roundtable, I want to say just a word on Augustine and the gift. One of Augustine's favorite words for the...

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3. Loose Canons: Augustine and Derrida on Their Selves

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pp. 79-111

It is fitting and just that I, too, excuse myself in advance of daring to speak about a man and his work which I can never completely understand, but for whom I confess an enormous respect, if for no other reason than because of the courage with which he now dares to expose the most private...

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4. Desire of God

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pp. 112-145

In On the Name (1995), Derrida writes: "The desire of God, God as the other name of desire, deals in the desert with radical atheism."1 In what follows, I wish to tease out some of the issues thrown up by this arresting statement...

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5. Overcoming Onto-theology

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pp. 146-169

Not long ago I participated in a conference on biblical hermeneutics. It asked about the relation between trust and suspicion for Christians reading the Bible. The keynote addresses by Walter Brueggemann and Phyllis Trible wefe brilliant. But for me the highlight of the conference was the workshop...

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6. Fragments: The Spiritual Situation of Our Times

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pp. 170-184

If postmodernity is to avoid the essentialism it hopes to rout, it must first admit that there is no such phenomenon as postmodcrnity. There are only postmodernities. If modernity is to escape the trap of totalization it has unintentionally...

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7. Apostles of the Impossible: On God and the Gift in Derrida and Marion

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pp. 185-222

In a series of groundbreaking texts published over the last twenty years, Jean-Luc Marion proposes to stretch phenomenology to the limits of its highest possibility, to the limits of an impossibility, to the possibility of something "impossible," something declared off limits by the "conditions of possibility" imposed by modernity and onto-theology.1 He proposes a radical phenomenology...

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8. A Deconstruction of Religion: On Derrida and Rahner

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pp. 223-228

Listening to Jacques Derrida at the roundtable discussion celebrating the new doctoral program in philosophy at Villanova University, I was amazed by his enthusiastic presentation of the "messianic" structure of experience as distinct from the "messianisms" of the religions of the Book. I was seated next to the current President of Villanova...

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9. Betting on Vegas

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pp. 229-244

So what's the deal? Why are so many people, corporations, institutions, even governments betting on Vegas? What's its draw? What's at stake? Las Vegas is the fastest growing city in the United States. The most popular retirement destination in the country, Vegas is home to eleven out of the twelve largest hotels in...

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10. Eating the Text, Defiling the Hands: Specters in Arnold Schoenberg’s Opera Moses and Aron

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pp. 245-259

"A masterpiece always moves, by definition, in the manner of a ghost," its mode of temporalization, its timing, always out of joint, spectrally disorganizing the "cause" that is called the "original," Derrida tells us. l Can there be an "original" describing an event that has...

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11. Re-embodying: Virginity Secularized

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pp. 260-281

I want to frame my essay with three subtexts, which run like various threads through it. The first is Jacques Derrida's "The Double Session" from La Dissemination-a text that treats, among other issues, the hymen (Mallarme, Hegel, Plato). The second is Jean-Luc Marion's notion of "donation" from his new book, Etant donne, and the third is the following initial remarks...

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12. Our Own Faces in Deep Wells: A Future for Historical Jesus Research

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pp. 282-310

Our subject is Religion and Postmodernism. First, the religion I focus on is Christianity or, to be more precise, the distinction between Catholic Christianity and Gnostic Christianity. I understand that distinction as described...


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pp. 311-314


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pp. 315-322

E-ISBN-13: 9780253113320
E-ISBN-10: 0253113326
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253335722

Page Count: 336
Illustrations: 1 index
Publication Year: 1999

Series Title: Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion

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Subject Headings

  • Christianity -- Philosophy -- Congresses.
  • Postmodernism -- Religious aspects -- Christianity -- Congresses.
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