Religion

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Jacques Derrida, Gianni Vattimo
Stanford University Press, 1998 - Religion - 211 pages
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What should we make of the return to the sacred evidenced by the new vitality of churches, sects, and religious beliefs in many parts of the world today? What are the boundaries between the essential traits of religion and those of ethics and justice? Is there a "truth" to religion? This remarkable volume includes reflections on such questions by three of the most important philosophers of our time—Jacques Derrida, Gianni Vattimo, and Hans-Georg Gadamer. Together with other distinguished thinkers, they address a wide range of questions about the meaning, status, and future prospects of religion.

In his meditation on the "return of religion," entitled "Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of 'Religion' at the Limits of Mere Reason," Derrida addresses the ways in which this return is intrinsically linked to transformations of which the new media are both the carriers and the symptom. Derrida coins this process one of globalatinization. This neologism signals, among other things, the process of a certain universalization of the Roman word or concept of religion, which tends to become hegemonic, as well as a certain performativity discernible in the new media and in contemporary structures of testimony and confession. Examples of this include, Derrida reminds us, not only the phenomenon of televangelism and televisual stagings of the pope's journeys, and not only the portrayal and self-presentation of Islam, but also the fetishization and becoming virtually absolute of the televisual and the multimedial as such.

Using Being and Time as a point of reference, Vattimo suggests that religious experience is both an individual experience and a manifestation of a historical rhythm within which religion regularly appears and disappears. A commentary by Gadamer summarizes and enriches the contributions by Derrida and Vattimo.

Four essays by Maurizio Ferraris, Eugenio Trias, Vincenzo Vitiello, and Aldo Giorgio Gargani complete the volume by examining other facets of the "religious."

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User Review  - Joe Spencer - Goodreads

Every word of this book is rich. A good place to begin a critique of religion as such. Read full review

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About the author (1998)

Jacques Derrida was born in El-Biar, Algeria on July 15, 1930. He graduated from the École Normal Supérieure in 1956. He taught philosophy and logic at both the University of Paris and the École Normal Supérieure for around 30 years. His works of philosophy and linguistics form the basis of the school of criticism known as deconstruction. This theory states that language is an inadequate method to give an unambiguous definition of a work, as the meaning of text can differ depending on reader, time, and context. During his lifetime, he wrote more than 40 books on various aspects of deconstruction including Of Grammatology, Glas, The Postcard: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond, and Ulysses Gramophone: Hear Say Yes in Joyce. He died of pancreatic cancer on October 9, 2004 at the age of 74.

Gianni Vattimo is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Turin.

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