The Gift of Death: AND Literature in Secret

The Gift of Death: AND Literature in Secret

Paperback Religion & Postmodernism (Paperback)

By (author) Jacques Derrida, Translated by David Wills

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  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Format: Paperback | 160 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 213mm x 10mm | 159g
  • Publication date: 8 April 2008
  • Publication City/Country: Chicago, IL
  • ISBN 10: 0226142779
  • ISBN 13: 9780226142777
  • Edition: 2, Revised
  • Edition statement: 2nd Revised edition
  • Sales rank: 84,345

Product description

"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, Levinas, 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' 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.

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Author information

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) was, at the time of his death, director of studies at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales, 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.

Review quote

"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 "Derrida stares death in the face in this dense but rewarding inquiry....Provocative." - Publishers Weekly "The Gift of Death is Derrida's long-awaited deconstruction of the foundations of the project of a philosophical ethics, and it will long be regarded as one of the most significant of his many writings." - Choice "[This] may be his most provocative book to date, and...is certainly his first substantial commentary on religion. Any religionist interested in Derrida should start here." - Times Literary Supplement"