Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xii

Joseph Shipley traces the genealogy of “acknowledgment” back to the Indo-European root “gn,” which means both “to know” and “to beget.” That explains why words such as “recognize” and “generate” derive from that exact same root. This dual etymology seems quite appropriate in the context of acknowledging the persons ...

Part One. Radical Hermeneutics: Reflections

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1. The Repetition of Sacred Anarchy: Risking a Reading of Radical Hermeneutics

B. Keith Putt

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pp. 3-17

In February 1990, a good friend and I decided to journey to Conception Seminary in northwest Missouri in order to attend a conference on Catholic philosophy and deconstruction. Little did I realize how consequential those three days at that Benedictine monastery would be for me, personally and professionally. ...

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2. From Sacred Anarchy to Political Theology: An Interview with John D. Caputo

Clayton Crockett

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pp. 18-43

According to the editor B. Keith Putt, the notion of “sacred anarchy” is the hidden thread that animates your work from Radical Hermeneutics up to the present. Can you explain in your terms what you mean by sacred anarchy, ...

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3. The Becoming Possible of the Impossible: An Interview with Jacques Derrida

Mark Dooley

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pp. 44-54

You once remarked that Jack Caputo reads you the way you love to be read. Why is that so? ...

Part Two. Radical Hermeneutics: Selections

§ 1 Pious Hermeneutics: From Aquinas to Heidegger

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4. Meister Eckhart and the Later Heidegger: The Mystical Element in Heidegger’s Thought, Part One

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pp. 59-73

In the introduction to his habilitation dissertation at Freiburg, The Doctrine of Categories and of Meaning in Duns Scotus (1916), the young Martin Heidegger praised the “objective” orientation of medieval philosophy: “Scholastic psychology, precisely inasmuch as it is not focused upon the dynamic and flowing reality of the psychical remains ...

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5. Meister Eckhart and the Later Heidegger: The Mystical Element in Heidegger’s Thought, Part Two

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pp. 74-92

Space does not permit us to pursue Eckhart’s thought in any greater detail. We must instead turn to Martin Heidegger and develop the striking parallel of the latter’s thought to that of the mystic of Hochheim. ...

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6. Heidegger's “Dif-ference” and the Distinction between Esse and Ens in St. Thomas

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pp. 93-108

The history of Western metaphysics, according to Martin Heidegger, is a centuries-old “oblivion of Being” (Seinsvergessenheit), the shadow of which reaches all the way from Anaximander to Nietzsche (WM, l l/210).1 If Heidegger himself claims to have recalled Being itself, Being in its truth, Western metaphysics has contented itself ...

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7. Demythologizing Heidegger: Alētheia and the History of Being

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pp. 109-124

Martin Heidegger could never resist a good story. He could never resist giving what he had discovered about aletheia and the oblivion of Being a narrative form. In Being and Time, we were promised a story—which was to be written backwards—of the “destruction of the history of ontology.” Beginning at the end, ...

§ 2 Cold Hermeneutics: From Phenomenology to Deconstruction

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8. Hermeneutics as the Recovery of Man

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pp. 127-145

When Constantine Constantius—the Kierkegaardian pseudonym—undertook a return trip to Berlin, he made an experiment in “repetition” which was, I want to argue, of some consequence for hermeneutics. I believe that what we nowadays call “hermeneutics”—Heideggerian and post-Heideggerian hermeneutics—...

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9. Heidegger and Derrida: Cold Hermeneutics

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pp. 146-163

I want to undertake here a double-reading of Martin Heidegger and Jacques Derrida. I do not intend a comparison, in any usual sense. Rather I want to let the texts of Heidegger and Derrida mingle with each other to the point of infiltrating and subverting each other. ...

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10. On Not Knowing Who We Are: Madness, Hermeneutics, and the Night of Truth in Foucault

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pp. 164-183

In this essay, which I take as the point of departure for the present study, from which indeed the whole has drawn its name, I argue that Michel Foucault’s thought is best construed as a hermeneutics of not knowing who we are. I construe Foucault’s work to operate according to what Jacques Derrida calls the logic of the sans. ...

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11. Beyond Aestheticism: Derrida’s Responsible Anarchy

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pp. 184-194

Deconstruction is sometimes accused of being a version of aestheticism. It appears to be frivolous and playful, to abdicate its duty to read literary and philosophical texts responsibly, and perversely to prefer arbitrary misreadings to serious interpretation. Viewed thus, Derrida sounds like the aesthete ...

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12. On Not Circumventing the Quasi-Transcendental: The Case of Rorty and Derrida

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pp. 195-212

Richard Rorty has given up the traditional idea of “philosophical knowledge,” the idea that there is some sort or entity or principle or condition which philosophers can come up with, so long as they argue carefully, that “explains” or “grounds” what the rest of us are doing. ...

§ 3 Devilish Hermeneutics: From Augustine to Derrida

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13. Shedding Tears beyond Being: Derrida’s Confession of Prayer

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pp. 215-230

The resources and strategies of negative theology, its “detours, locutions and syntax” (Marg., 6/6),2 have always fascinated Jacques Derrida, and that is because for Derrida, as for negative theology, our desire beyond desire is for what lies “beyond being,” to use a venerable expression from Christian Neoplatonism. ...

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14. The Good News about Alterity: Derrida and Theology

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pp. 231-243

Derrida’s work is often mistakenly criticized as a kind of linguistic subjective idealism which traps us inside a chain of linguistic signifiers, unable to do anything but play vainly with linguistic strings. In fact, Derrida’s thought is through and through a philosophy of “alterity,” of openness to the other, ...

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15. The Time of Giving and Forgiving/Edifying Divertissement No. 3

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pp. 244-265

The gift, one might say, is how things “come,” how the impossible happens.
The gift is an event, é-venir, something that really happens, something we deeply desire, just because it escapes the closed circle of checks and balances, the calculus that accounts for everything, in which every equation is balanced. ...

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16. Toward a Postmodern Theology of the Cross: Augustine, Heidegger, Derrida

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pp. 266-281

In this age of the death of God, it is of no little interest and significance that two of the major European philosophers of this century, two of the masters of postmodernity, if this is a word we still can use, have chosen (at different points in their work: one very early on, the other only later) to comment on the ageless power ...

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17. Jacques Derrida (1930–2004)

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pp. 282-284

With the death of Jacques Derrida on October 8, 2004, some thirty-seven years after he first burst upon the scene in 1967 with three explosive books of philosophy, the world lost one of its deepest, most original, and most provocative figures. Born of an assimilated French-speaking Jewish family in Algeria on July 15, 1930, ...

§ 4 Impossible Hermeneutics: From Sacred Anarchy to Radical Theology

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18. Sacred Anarchy: Fragments of a Postmodern Ethics

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pp. 287-304

“Postmodernism,” on my reading, is the issue of a crisis in hermeneutics. It is a radicalization of the problem of hermeneusis that faces up to the fact that hermeneutics has no metaphysical backup, no Hegelian assurances that the truth is inevitably working itself out, continually being reappropriated again and again. ...

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19. In Search of a Sacred Anarchy: An Experiment in Danish Deconstruction

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pp. 305-320

Like Martin Heidegger, like many of us, Calvin Schrag has had a theological point of departure. His earliest work, Existence and Freedom, published some forty years ago, undertook one of the first important confrontations of Heidegger and Kierkegaard in English.1 ...

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20. The Experience of God and the Axiology of the Impossible

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pp. 321-335

Who would not want to have an experience of God? But if no one has seen God and lived, who would want to risk it? Would this experience be some very extraordinary and death-defying event, like landing on the moon or being abducted by aliens? ...

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21. Without Sovereignty, Without Being: Unconditionality, the Coming God, and Derrida’s Democracy to Come

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pp. 336-349

Is there something “unconditional” that is nonetheless without “sovereignty”? Is there something that makes an unconditional claim without laying claim to unconditional force or power? Is there something that, even if it were a certain power or force, would be at most a “force without force” ...

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22. “Lazarus, Come Out”: Rebirth and Resurrection

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pp. 350-368

Once, during the time that Jesus was using Bethany as a base of operations, staying with his close friends Mary and Martha, he had left town for a short spell when Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha, became ill. The two sisters, whom Jesus loved, sent him a message to return at once. ...

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23. A Prayer for the Impossible: A Catechumen’s Guide to Deconstruction

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pp. 369-386

One of the things Derrida means by a text or a tradition is that it keeps “happening” (arriver) without ever quite “arriving” at a final, fixed, and finished destination. We cannot simply “derive” (dériver) direct instruction from it, but we must instead allow it a certain drift or free play (dérive), which allows that tradition to be creative and reinvent itself so that it can be, ...

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24. God, Perhaps: The Fear of One Small Word

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pp. 387-400

I dream of learning how to say “perhaps.” I have the same dream, night after night, of a tolle, lege experience, in which I open a book—I cannot make out the title—always to the same sentence, “Peut-être—il faut toujours dire peut-être pour .  .  .” In the morning I cannot remember the rest of the sentence. ...

Index

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pp. 401-408

About the Author

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