René Girard - Violence and the Sacred.

Translated by Patrick Gregory. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. 1977. René Girard‟s Violence and the Sacred, published in French in 1972 and English in 1977, reads like a combination of Durkheimian sociology combined with a sort of Freudian use of Mythology. Ideas and language of primitiveness and progress is still well at work here, as I had to keep reminding myself the book was published just before turns toward a sense of reflexivity on such matters took hold. According to Girard, internal violence is endemic to societies, and “if left unappeased, violence will accumulate until it overflows its confines and floods the surrounding area” thus, “the role of sacrifice is to stem this rising tide of indiscriminate substitutions and redirect violence into „proper channels (Girard, 10).‟ Girard does think there is a difference between the societies who practice human sacrifice and those that only use animals, but he thinks that the gap between such societies “should not prevent us from perceiving what they have in common (Girard, 10).” Sacrifice in both types of society is defined as “an instrument of prevention in the struggle against violence (Girard, 17).” What separates “civilized” people from these “primitive” ones is a system of law. Girard writes of this, that if we compare societies that adhere to a judicial system with societies that practise sacrificial rites, the difference between the two is such that we can indeed consider the absence or presence of these institutions as the basis for distinguishing primitive societies from „civilized‟ ones. These are the institutions we must scrutinize in order to arrive, not at some sort of value judgment, but at an objective knowledge of the respective societies to which they belong (Girard, 19). Religion, then, develops as a means for man to protect himself from his own violence. He writes, Religion, in its broadest sense, then, must be another term for that obscurity that surrounds man‟s efforts to defend himself by curative or preventative means against his own violence. It is that enigmatic quality that pervades the judicial system when that system replaces sacrifice. This obscurity coincides with the transcendental effectiveness of a violence that is holy, legal, and legitimate successfully opposed to a violence that is unjust, illegal, and illegitimate (Girard, 23). Girard then explores these theses through a variety of literatures. The second chapter, “The Sacrificial Crisis” looks at tragedy, and how the modern mind has difficulty conceiving of violence in terms of a loss of distinctions, or of a loss of distinctions in terms of violence. Tragedy can help to resolve this difficulty if we agree to view the plays from a radical perspective. Tragic drama addresses itself to a burning issue – in fact, to the burning issue. The issue is never directly alluded to in the plays, and for good reason, since it has to do with the dissolution by reciprocal violence of those very values and distinctions around which the conflict of the plays supposedly revolves (Girard, 56). Chapter Three “Oedipus and the Surrogate Victim” turns to everyone‟s favorite tragedy of this variety, the continuing importance of this story he explains this way: It is generally assumed that collective violence – in particular, the pitting of all against one – is an aberration in the history of a society; a perversion more or less pathological in nature, whose study can hardly be expected to yield anything of sociological significance. Our rationalist bent (about which I will have more to say further on) leads to an innocence of outlook that refuses to concede to collective violence anything more than a limited and fleeting influence, a „cathartic‟ action similar, in its most extreme forms, to the catharsis of the sacrificial ritual. However, the fact that the Oedipus myth has survived over several millennia and that modern culture continues to hold it dear would suggest that the effects of collective violence are greatly under-estimated (Girard, 81). From reading Oedipus with Girard we learn that, “men cannot confront the naked truth of their own violence without the risk of abandoning themselves to it entirely. They have never had a very clear idea of this violence, and it is possible that the survival of all human societies of the past was dependent on this fundamental lack of

“The Bacchae takes as its subject a festival that goes wrong. 119). 82). (Girard. Girard concludes that men are “doomed to ritual. arguing that this is because.” This leads us to another well-loved-by-theory myth. 104). not some vague and ill-defined sins. “desire itself is essentially mimetic. that is. 99). “then even more momentous matters are at issue. 144)” and that the Freudian death drive “is no more than a last surrender to mythological thinking. civilized. he argues. is far from „useless. 134-5). we learn that religion “humanizes violence” and protects him from his own through rituals (primitively. the sacrificial crisis. a final manifestation of that ancient belief that human violence can be attributed to some outside influence – to gods. In Chapter Six. for it purges man of the suspicions that would poison his existence if he were to remain conscious of the crisis as it actually took place (Girard. protecting all the members of the community from their respective violence 0 but always through the intermediary of the surrogate victim. a calf or cow that assumes. that. 115) and that if his hypothesis is correct. but a multiplicity of examples will cast light on its various aspects until everything gradually becomes clear and certainly prevails (Girard. we should consider the proposition that the ritual victim is never substituted for some particular member of the community or even for the community as a whole: it is always substituted for the surrogate victim. “given the fundamental importance to mankind of the transformation of bad violence into good an the equally fundamental inability of men to solve the mystery of this transformation” arguing that it is not surprising that “the resulting rites assume forms that are both highly analogous and highly diverse (Girard. 114). As the catalyst for the sacrificial crisis.” From this analysis. legally). 127).” He says that. 87). Religious misinterpretation is a truly constructive force. transforming it into a transcendent and ever-present danger to be kept in check by the appropriate rites appropriately observed and by a modest and prudent demeanor. Chapter Five.‟ It humanizes violence.” Since. the sacrificial substitution does indeed play the role that we have attributed to it. If this is indeed the case we will find ourselves dealing not only with myths but also with rituals and the whole question of religion (Girard. to Fate. And we will hardly be surprised at this unpleasant turn of events when we consider that this bacchanal is none other than the original bacchanal. sacrificial. It is an act of evasion.understanding (Girard. He says that we are now dealing with “an animal pharmakos. “From Mimetic Desire to the Monstrous Double” Girard says that perhaps nothing “could be more banal that the role of violence in awakening desire (Girard. it protects man from his own violence by taking it out of his hands. he concludes. 145). Chapter Four.” Thus. from these myths. “no single religious form will suffice to illuminate the whole picture. to some force men can hardly be expected to control” and that “it is a mode of thought that refuses to confront human conflicts squarely. directed toward an object desired by the model (Girard. as stated earlier. but the very real (though often hidden) hostilities that all the members of the community feel for one another” and that in this chapter.” He says. As this victim itself serves as a substitute for all the members of the community. then. Girard. So. Dionysus.” In this process of sacrificing the “surrogate victim” the “ritualistic mind strives to reproduce the operation of violent unanimity without understanding its mimetic nature (Girard. The tragedy seems to offer strong evidence in support of my theory of the meaning of festivals (Girard.” In it we also learn about the “generating spark of religion itself and the "transcendental force that characterizes it” are produced by the “violent unanimity… of social unity forged or reforged by the „expulsion‟ of the surrogate victim” which forces us to see that. 104)” and “The ritualistic imagination strives to repeat the original generative process. an attempt to „pass the buck‟ and find an alternate sacrificial solution in a situation which makes such a solution increasingly difficult (Girard. “Our portrayal of sacrifice as an imitation and reenactment of spontaneous collective violence in no way conflicts with the definition I proposed in Chapter 1 (Girard. 101-2 With this theory of the “surrogate victim” Girard is “evolving a theory of myth and ritual – in short of religion as a whole (Girard. To understand how and why sacrifice functions as it does. it would eventually destroy the entire . Religion. simply titled “Dionysus” gives Girard the chance to tell us that he has “no doubt” that “these [Bacchanalian] festivities commemorate a sacrificial crisis (Girard. 146)” then “Mimetic desire is simply a term more comprehensive than violence for religious pollution. “The Origins of Myth and Ritual” Girard starts to talk about how the “ritualistic mind” and “ritualistic imagination” work. 103).

” Girard returns to sacrifice itself. untouched by structural ethnology. all mythical implications. in short. has only begun to take hold. “Mimetism is a source of continual conflict. banished by structuralism. If the mechanism of the surrogate victim gives birth to language and imposes itself as the first object of language. 169). they are another aspect of the monstrous double (Girard. but muddied and confused. to everything that sustains man‟s humanity – is jealousy preserved (Girard. They thus occupy the equivocal middle ground between difference and unity that is indispensable to the process of sacrificial substitution – to the polarization of violence onto a single victim who substitutes for all the others (Girard. 148). the Sacred. the sacred is absent. He was the first to maintain that all ritual practices. sometimes unanimous and generative. Saying further of how this relates to structuralism that. is the first truly to take into account the double nature of all primitive divinities. and on a whim destroys it. organizes. the rite that commemorates this epiphany with the myth that recalls it (Girard. In short. where a “cultural order” has not yet been put in place.” From this investigation of the relationship between the sacred and structure. 201). transforms. 221). The sacred also reigns over structure: engenders. for it does away with the confusion that has previously prevailed.” He explains this further in Chapter Seven on “Freud and the Oedipus Complex” saying that. and this nondifference cannot appear as such in the structure (Girard. and rivalry in turn transforms desire into violence (Girard. that inexhaustible reservoir form which all differences flow and into which they all converge. the primal horde is the original sacrificial crisis. There is nothing mythic about this original violence. the Dead. an area where that minimum of nonviolence essential to the survival of the children and the community‟s cultural heritage – essential. He describes this muddling of differences in terms of masking. “the sacred concerns itself above all with the destruction of differences. Thus.” He explains in depth that: As long as meaning is healthy. they do not merely defy differences or efface them. inChapter Eight on “Totem & Taboo and the Incest Prohibition. wherein “They [masks] are beyond differences. but its ritual imitation necessarily includes mythic elements (Girard. the blending of beneficent and maleficent that characterizes all mythical figures who involve themselves in mortal affairs (Girard. dissolves. 167). the divine epiphany. on the contrary. it is easy to see why language should first state the conjunction of best and worst. It remains outside the structure. 249). “Lévi-Strauss.” Girard turns to issues of language and insists that “There is no thought that is not symbolic in the structuralist sense of the word (Girard. All the doubles are interchangeable. By making one man‟s desire into a replica of another man‟s desire. observes. We now know that the sacred reigns supreme wherever a cultural order has not yet taken hold. the sacred is present. “The Gods. and perpetuates it or. but they incorporate and rearrange them in original fashion.” In Chapter Nine.community if the surrogate victim were not at hand to halt the process and the ritualized mimesis were not at hand to keep the conflictual mimesis from beginning afresh (Girard. have their origins in an actual murder. 161). or has lost its hold entirely. it is possible to distinguish the finite quality of sense – of structure – from the infinite quality of the sacred. it invariably leads to rivalry. Thus.” He explains how “mimetic desire” names “religious pollution” more comprehensively than “violence” by telling the reader that In the collective experience of the monstrous double the differences are not eliminated. They maintain a sort of sanctuary at the heart of the community. 241). in penultimate Chapter Ten. But the sacred is not actually present in structure in the sense that it is present everywhere else (Girard.” he tell us that “Freud made an important discovery. in fact. and Sacrificial Substitution. 235-6). arguing that his “theory of a violence that is sometimes reciprocal. he seemed unaware of the truly vertiginous scope of this idea (Girard. To refer to the origin of symbolic thought is to speak as well of the origin of language. Thanks to structuralism. mishandles. 251). Within such a situation “Ritual violence is intended to reproduce an original act of violence.” He has accomplished this unprecedentedly complete study by first “tracing the course of violence through those beings who appeared to . Structuralism and Marriage Laws.” For Girard. Freud was unable to exploit the boundless implications of this proposition. 242). although their basic similarity is never formally acknowledged. taboos are restrictions which “serve a basic. … Structuralism constitutes a negative but indispensible stage in the discovery of the sacred.” Though Girard does take issue with some of Freud‟s conclusions. 229)” and that.

The first is provided by generative violence. all the actors have the same role. is that of a victim for the surrogate victim” since “as we know. with the exception of the surrogate victim. 257). and deified ancestors” in such a way that “those various incarnations enrich our understanding of the many roles of violence and clarify the function of the surrogate victim and the preeminent importance of violent unanimity (Girard. The language of pure sacredness retains whatever is most fundamental to myth and religion. structure and change don‟t go together. Since “the birth of the community is first and foremost an act of separation … metaphors of severance permeate the generative act. to remind you. it detaches violence from man to make it a separate. 256-7). “these incarnations are invariably illusory in one sense” because “Violence belongs to all men. purgation or exorcism. religious man fears that it might become uncontrollable. which substitutes a single victim for all the members of the community. is utterly foreign to primitive religion (Girard. And even when change looks predictable to us. sacred kings. 282). impersonal entity. the only strictly ritualistic substitution. which he says. here already. it is actually the idea of evacuation and separation that is foremost (Girard. Sacrifice too can defined solely in terms of the sacred. it is „good‟ when it returns to the exterior. it can be defined in terms of maleficent violence polarized by the victim and metamorphosed by his death (or expulsion from the community.” By which he means that. but they provide the least unsatisfactory compromise. 257). The crucial fact is that the choice of the victim is arbitrary. Although the initiate knows what he is losing.” Chapter Eleven. is especially interesting in light of Derrida‟s idea of auto-immunity. without reference to any particular divinity. they can perhaps be said to belong to both the interior and the exterior of the community (Girard. 273). The second. and indeed by religion in general (Girard. he argues. In this conclusion. Situated as they are between the inside and the outside.” With an understanding of how these acts of separation are generative in society. 258 Contagion.incarnate it: mythic heroes. Although the sacred is „bad‟ when it is inside the community. a sort of fluid substance that flows everywhere and impregnates on contact. 269). Violence will determine the final result of this monstrousmixture of differences. . it is essential that the victim be drawn from outside the community” then “ritual sacrifice is defined as an inexact imitation of the generative act (Girard. The concept of contagion is obviously a by-product of this way of envisaging the sacred. 280)” and uses this idea to look at rites of passage. Girard claims. The rite of passage is always an awesome experience. gods. the better. he has no idea what he will be taking on. insofar as any of these appear to incarnate the supreme violence (Girard.” He argues that. 281).‟ The marginal categories form which these victims are generally drawn barely fulfill this requirement. The way that he thus explains the sacred in light of this kind of relationship of the community to its members. is an important way of thinking through the role of ritual and religion in society.” This “fact” of “religious misapprehension‟s role in religion (which. The religious interpretations we have considered so far are at fault precisely because they attribute the beneficial results of the sacrifice to the superhuman nature of the victim or the other participants. 272). Girard. reminds us that “the surrogate victim is the basis for all religious systems (Girard. 267). we see that “all sacrificial rites are based on two substitutions. and the less one has to do with that. I think. or even to natural laws. In short. which amounts to the same thing) into beneficent violence. … whether we refer to catharsis or purification.” Thus. Girard tells us that “We encounter once again a remarkable fact: religious misapprehension figures largely in the very real protection offered society by ritual sacrifice. that is. Ritual requires the sacrifice of a victim as similar as possible to the „monstrous double.” But. and thus to none in particular (Girard. because it is impossible to predict at the outset what its course will be. But anybody can play the part of surrogate victim. It is futile to look for the secret of the redemptive process in distinctions between the surrogate victim and the other members of the community. “have to do with the acquisition of a new status (Girard. he concludes. is how people protect themselves from their own violence) leads us to the Girard‟s final chapter on “The Unity of All Rites. The idea of a nature subservient to social laws.

Freud and Durkheim. psychoanalysis. especially. ritual. and. telling his reader that. lay claim to being „scientific. in the first person. and bestows them all the institutions and beliefs that define their humanity (Girard. 315). ritual. as I stated at the outset.” stating that whether my theory proves to be true or false. in the etymological sense of e-ducatio. His position in French sociological and literary scholarship on religion places him between such periods and approaches. 297). and religion. in apparently „naïve‟ fashion. all the more so because they coincide with archetypal myths that tell. the sacred. like Derrida. This crisis invites us. he says that “To carry Durkheim‟s insight to its conclusion… religion is simply another term for the surrogate victim. Ultimately what I would say about this book is that it reads as a really interesting cross-roads for a lot of the other texts we‟ve read. as founder of the rite. for the very first time. for the working basis of human thought. Violence and the Sacred. . gesturing at Durkheim directly now. philosophy and anthropology itself. Acts of Religion . we have managed to extricate ourselves from the sacred somewhat more successfully than other societies have done. to the point of losing all memory of the generative violence. 302). familial. I guess. All religious rituals spring form the surrogate victim. the source of all rituals and religion (Girard. Such is the case.” And. the theater. tried to demonstrate that generative violence penetrates all forms of mythology and ritual” he now says that we are “moving toward an expanded concept of sacrifice in which the sacrificial act in the narrow sense plays only a minor part (Girard. and social institutions grew out of the body of an original victim. He concludes.” With the minimization of the act. their cumulative effect is overwhelming. he moves to his conclusion. Many of our key themes appear (scientific method. with political power. Acts of Religion. Notes Jacques Derrida. I want to stress that these imitations had their origin in a real event (Girard. throughout the book. legal institutions. the process of „symbolization. It could hardly be otherwise. and to expose to the light of reason the role played by violence in human society (Girard. 309). rite.‟ if only because it allows for rigorous definition of such terms as divinity. 306). but we are now about to rediscover it. it can. 307). and all the great institutions of mankind. Thus.” With this. in which he argues recites his main arguments. he defends the idea that “various „scapegoat‟ phenomena are not the reflection of some ill-articulated guilt complex. we see that. economic. Girard has argued this way. read him through those far more critical of such subjects. 318). a leading out. but rather the very basis of cultural unification. and for that. even if it is only these imitations that come to our notice. That being said. etc.Part 1 Jacques Derrida.Though. medicine.‟ is rooted in the surrogate victim. I believe. literature. as we have seen. thus.” Thus. The surrogate victim. who reconciles mimetic oppositions and assigns a sacrificial goal to the mimetic impulse (Girard.) and receive clear and interesting treatments. The essential violence returns to us in a spectacular manner – not only in the form of a violent history but also in the form of subversive knowledge. The rite gradually leads men away from the sacred. and the continuing importance of the concept. once more claiming scientificity for his hypothesis and giving us a definition of “the religious. Any phenomenon associated with the acts of remembering. appears as the ideal educator of humanity. in reading this book it is hard not to be continually surprised at the ease with which Girard feels entitled to his language and his conclusions and to want to thusly. and perpetuating a unanimity that springs from the murder of a surrogate victim can be termed „religious‟ (Girard. is perhaps still worth reading? René Girard. Even if no example taken alone offers conclusive proof of my theory. to violate the taboo that neither Herclitus nor Euripedes could ever quite manage to violate. removes them from violence. how all man‟s religious. both secular and religious spring from ritual. insisting still that “even if innumerable intermediary stages exist between the spontaneous outbursts of violence and its religious imitations. it permits them to escape their own violence. commemorating.

Judaism. the Arab Jew (Muslim and Jew. Readability. Memory Introduction: “Once More. of course that question takes no time to surface. Auto-Immune. Sacred. this tradition has virtually ignored – has been unable to read – these links and ruptures as constitutive of what is still called „Christian Europe (Anidjar. but the first one he really gives is on page seven when he begins a sentence this way: “The Abrahamic – that is to say.‟*[Jacques Derrida Donner la Mort (Paris: Galilée. Jew.” Okay. This is “because to engage Derrida on religions is to follow „the religious beyond the concept. Which means I am definitely not going to go through every part of every essay in Acts of Religion. takes aim at the whole enterprise of Religious Studies: “The modern discourse of comparative religion which rendered the incommensurable comparable. Law. Arab and Jew). I think I will give very short synopses of the other essays. Islam. though. 10). I‟m going to try really hard to make this manageable. “moreover. 4). the Arab. 7). still with me? The Abrahamic is Derrida‟s way of leading us to the explosive force haunting the question of how „Europe‟ came to be conceived of the way that it is. are you excited? It‟s finally time for a little bit of Derrida. and more precisely. And it is „an experience that leaves nothing intact (Anidjar. the texts are plenty difficult as it is. Moor and Jew. and sacredness and their relation to the premises of philosophy and political culture (Anidjar. Christian and Muslim medieval disputations that stage the one/three faith(s) in different and complex ways (Anidjar. But. the . if not quite the explosion of the Abrahamic. Difference. comforts because it presents. Knowledge. Derrida the Abrahamic is Derrida on Religion which is Derrida on the Jew. Anidjar (yeah. the Arab and Europe/ Christianity. 7). so this starts out clear enough.Edited and with an Introduction by Gil Anidjar. So the plan here instead will be to really go through Gil‟s introduction to the book and then the first essay. destroys.” This leads us to Derrida and Anidjar‟s Jew and Arab: Figured and failing to figure as the promise and the threat of an alliance – the cut of circumcision – of the Arab and the Jew. right?) tells us that< “Jacques Derrida‟s writing on religion has indeed consisted of a manifold and powerful effort to situate and raise again questions of tradition. Language. ever appear or become manifest (Anidjar. as Derrida has shown. Arab. because immediately Anidjar.‟* it is to witness and experience – to read – the irreconcilable and. You want a freakin‟ abyss. Politics. that would be an abyss. 1999)] at once ancient and new – more ancient and newer than could.” But what do we mean by “religion” here? Well. I see no sense in making it any harder than that. “The Abrahamic („la coupure [cut] abrahamique‟ as Glas has it) dissociates and breaks the dividing movement around which „Europe‟ – and religion – constitutes itself. by way of Derrida‟s texts. the scholarly tradition has not been entirely consistent in addressing he links and ruptures that operate between Islam and Judaism” and that. 3). Chora. 6). or steals no more than the images of the other (Anidjar. faith. Routledge. Spectrality. I guess that‟s what I have to call him for this purposes. Ethics. is often the trace that summons us time and again to the scene of something significant (Anidjar. the Abrahamic as explosive. Faith and Knowledge. strictly speaking. that renders what is important unreadable? The theme to which this essay attaches itself and uses to make Derrida‟s text readable to an introduction. not just religion. is that of the Abrahamic. Christianity. Key Terms: Theologico-Political. 2001. 9). 4). a non-figure that. in the direction of a certain Abraham. After that.” He continues. Derrida on religion” and concludes the paragraph by saying that. in part or entirely ripping off Gil‟s introductory summaries that precede each of them. Violence.” To be more and less clear. Abrahamic. that “as already pointed out. this is and is not the Abrahamic of the “new ways of talking about historically dominant monotheistic religions. Messianism. “The Abrahamic will also have been Derrida‟s name (Anidjar.” The Abrahamic “transports” us to a “reading field” which “is therefore that of an impossibility. more often than not.” He elaborates in his fourteenth footnote a few pages later. so. Europe. but the comparative mode. yet the unreadable. Once More”: Derrida.‟” The question presented here. History. What is it about the study of religion. could hardly have emerged independently of Jewish. All right. of what is readable will be of great importance throughout the essay. There are many definitions of the Abrahamic passing through Anidjar‟s essay. the Abrahamic may very well be as unreadable as an explosion. then undoubtedly. Don‟t worry. the Abrahamic does more than that. reproduces and exceeds the so-called „Jewish-Muslim symbiosis. the Jew by Gil Anidjar Okay. in its invisibility and unreadability. of course. Anand. “it does more than conjure a distant Biblical past to which „Judaism‟ can be and has often been referred… The Abrahamic does more than harangue us toward a prophetic and messianic future that. Globalatinization. Abstraction.

If you‟ve seen “Waltz with Bashir. names a place. then and today. “What of it if its name is also „Islamism‟? and what of it if this is also Derrida‟s name.‟” The Arab Jew. once more. they may attend to the reading field to which Derrida exposes (and explodes) us „with.‟ fails to fuse and violently opens the field of the Abrahamic that Derrida gives us to read. an explosive specter of uncertain and troubling existence („Judaism and Islam would thus be perhaps. 27))” Anidjar asks about the Abrahamic. to remain thus on the threshold – was this not the most consistent possible apophasis? Concerning that about which one cannot speak. we are confronted. Thus. Christianity. Circonfession. Thus. that can be said or sayable (Derrida. “these are the questions raised once again.” Anidjar tells us that: Earlier in „Comment ne pas parler‟ Derrida elaborates on his decision not to speak: „I thus decided not to speak of negativity or of apophatic movements in.’ (53) The answer to the question. 36).Abrahamic articulates the non-figure of the first as already the last. to read (for) the Abrahamic. 20). then. “the Abrahamic. He says that in the remainder of the essay he will follow the “unreadability of the Abrahamic. Anidjar reads Derrida to have not said all of what he might have said about religion. Islam (Anidjar.wikipedia. could not. I can only imagine must be read as a reference to the massacre in the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camp in Beirut in 1982.” This “autobiographeme” must be traced because. the name of a place that like Moriah. for example. then.‟ „I am an Arab Jew‟) and an impossible theological and political entity (Anidjar. whose silent hyphen will prove both more and less than that of „Judeo-Christianity.‟ one could say. “Unsurprisingly.‟ On the other hand.* The Arab Jew. Anidjar then posits that “if recalling is not yet speaking („what I would have wanted to say‟) neither is (not) speaking. substitute for a reading of the undreadable. They have therefore retained the spectrality and explosiveness of a non-history. sorry). then. Ultimately. isn’t it best to remain silent.” Which leads us to what Anidjar (and perhaps Derrida) is really saying about what Derrida is not saying (I know. there is here a Derrida who has painfully inscribed incineration.” Yet. The threshold. 42)‟). of the last and of the end. Anidjar refers . have otherwise failed to gather or to coagulate – into words. where Derrida may remain by speaking and not speaking. 10). in Derrida.* This. 33). is Derrida on religion. is a silent. 20). the Abrahamic (Anidjar. suffering and who exhorts us to an exp(l)osure. the spectrality and explosiveness of the Abrahamic (Anidjar. he says. “Shatila (that is. To leave this immense place empty. 22). as this anthology proposes. will mean to listen to the recurrence of sounds and lexemes that have escaped attention.” the documentary footage at the end is of this event. but it does not have one proper name (least of all Arab Jew‟) this nameless threshold would be where Derrida stays. http://en. “with the Abrahamic. the name Shatila. the last two monotheisms to revolt against everything …‟). is the other‟s. by the Abrahamic. serait peut-être alors. memory. focusing on moments where the three so-called Abrahamic religions or markers thereof are cross-implicated (by now. to a reading field that is a mine field (Anidjar. of „religion‟ in Derrida as the interplay of an autobiographeme (the utterance of the impossible: no longer. the decision. This is Anidjar‟s proposition. The Abrahamic Derrida (Derrida on Religion) is also about that. 28-29)?” Shatila here. is Derrida „on religion (Anidjar. ce qui peut y lier tel nom de Dieu au nom du Lieu. on the one hand. A page earlier having written. it should be clear that they hardly cohabit peacefully) in and around Derrida‟s texts (Anidjar. that Shatila is the Abrahamic. is a brutal and explosive encounter between the three Abrahamic religions? What if this is indeed the name of the Abrahamic (Anidjar. whose porous boundaries are constantly violated. and the ethics of memory. After affirming the connection between the Abrahamic and Derrida as the connection between the personal and the political and the political and the theological (Anidjar. the Jewish or Islamic traditions. and above all that which can connect such a name of God with the name of the Place. whenhe stood and delivered the lecture entitled „Comment ne pas parler‟ in Jerusalem… (Anidjar. It is always entrusted to the other. 26). where he would have wanted to remain. Anidjar tells us of his introduction that it what it “traces is the way of marking a path of entry into the question of the Abrahamic. forgotten hyphen that constitutes the secret holdings of links between the personal and the political. not only „I am dead‟ but „I am a Muselman. 11). is not some easily hyphenated lexeme like “JudeoChristianity. and though they do not. the Abrahamic. Judaism. 30). 20)” but “it remains possible that Derrida did not say what he would have wanted to say („I am saying nothing.” Ethics.? I let you answer this question.” And.org/wiki/Sabra_and_Shatila_massacre). avoiding (Anidjar. and this will remain important. It inserts itself enigmatically and persistently in an unwritten and unreadable history (Anidjar. with a Derrida preoccupied with ethical concerns and with what one could call an „ethics of memory. between the political and the theological. but is a massacre in which Jews enabled the massacre of Arabs by Christians.

of reacting to the antagonism of capitalism. “Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of „Religion‟ at the Limits of Reason Alone” “Faith and Knowledge” is the first essay in Acts of Religion. ever [Derrida. the distinct operations that are at work between all of these terms. (15). the ‘question of religion’ actually appears in a new and different light. He writes. both global and planetary. To radical abstraction (Derrida. The first part of the essay. Derrida tells that “eventually.). 50). „could I explain anything without it. Now if. of this ageless think. an element that ultimately is irreducible and untranslatable – but an idiom that above all is inseparable from the social nexus. simple and dizzying: the Christian religion would be the only truly ‘moral’ religion. (4). For. trustworthiness. I think the point here is that Derrida on religion is Derrida on histories of violent construction and encounter as embodied in memory and language. certainly – and more precisely the idiom. 71]?‟” I‟m pretty sure you can imagine what Gil thinks about how that question gets answered. In other words. credit. which might be the most useful way to think of it. the following hypothesis: with respect to all of these forces of abstraction and of dissociation (deracination. language and nation from the historical body of all religious passion (Derrida. the first twentysix of which are entirely italicized. I admit. a mission would thus be reserved exclusively for it and for it alone: that of liberating a ‘reflecting faith. path. 43). writing. 46). we must never treat as an accident the force of the name in what happens. and yet. In these times. the question of „religion‟ is that of an aporia produced by two sources. Something like that. delocalization. salvation – and the two sources (Derrida. so we‟re all set on the Abrahamic. familial. objectification. Okay.). since. Thus. In his introductory page preceding it. bound to one another by the band of opposition. 41). and from the ever more problematic relation to citizenship and to the state. (7). Language and nation are what are of interest and what are at stake. 43). (2).to the Abrahamic as a condition. 44). And thus we get to globalatinization. “As a condition. from the political. occurs or is said in the name of religion. (2). Monolingualism of the Other. the act of faith will always have made common cause. eventually. I think because it‟s about. here in the name of Islam. Now I‟ll go through an actual example of Derrida writing about religion so we can see how this all really looks in action.’ It necessarily follows therefore that pure morality and Christianity are indissociable in their essence and in their concept. from the nation and from the people: from autochony. ethnic. that forms the element of all revelation and of all belief. is not merely European. Are we ready to measure without flinching the implications and consequences of the Kantian thesis? The latter seems strong. Anidjar tells the reader that. Whence the aporia – a certain absence of way. telecommunication etc. then? Basically. literality.‟”The essay itself is broken up into fifty-two numbered sections of varying lengths. beginning with that of democracy or of secularization. he asks. refiguring the politics of religion.” We will link them In order to think religion today abstractly. the theologico-political. then what is at stake is language.Derrida further says that. if there is an unprecedented resurgence. like. certainly not in any exclusive way. even of the right to literature. blood and soil. real philosophy. technology (the text is also one of Derrida‟s most extensive discussions of technology in its contemporaneity). communitarian nexus. ‘religion’ is at the same time involved in reacting to antagonistic technoscience (‘capitalist’ and fiduciary) and belief. but Graeco-Christian. we would therefore like to link the question of religion to that of the evil of abstraction. and our understanding of „life (Anidjar. issue. we will take these powers of abstraction as our point of departure. directly or not. “‟Faith and Knowledge‟ can be read as Derrida‟s own introduction to the question of religion in his work” and that it “recasts Derrida‟s earlier texts. . Graeco-Roman (Derrida. disincarnation. the Abrahamic cannot quite be said to structure. like all the concepts plastered over these questions. universalizing schematization. today. was really confusing. in order to risk. … This thesis doubtless tells us something about the history of the world – nothing less (Derrida. one of abstraction and dislocation and the other. formalization. Thus. and I still don‟t really know any of that stuff.

56) Imagining such a “general structure of experience” requires us to use the language of „religion‟ but it does not. the aporia within which we are struggling would perhaps be the following: is revealability (Offenbarkeit) more originary than revelation (Offenbarung). there is a World involved that is also an Old-New Book or Testament.” The next section. if not this faith itself? or rather. (21). (15) 52). inversely. I take this to resemble something like the openness to “astonishment” de Certau advocated in Heterologies.” one of Derrida‟s many enduring neologisms. (15).’ either simultaneously or successively. can thereby open the way to everything from which it withdraws. the ‘fundamentalisms’ and the ‘integrisms’ hyperbolize today this outbidding. since Derrida says further of it that. That for which this “religious retreat” makes way for “messianicity without messianism.) (Derrida.” and asks it this way. It is an idea of experience structured around expectation with an “invincible . those who are involved in this outbidding can pursue it from all angles. This deserted retreat thus makes way for the repetition of that which will have given way precisely for that in whose name one would protest against it. At issue there is a ‘general structure of experience. The messianic exposes itself to absolute surprise and. for that matter. providing that the appropriate transpositions are respected. and hence independent of all religion? Independent in the structures of its experience and in the analytics relating to them? Is this not the place in which ‘reflecting faith’ at least originates. and the resulting square could today frame. 5455). the veiled and cloudy day of every day (Derrida. Which leads us to a desert. would no longer be restricted to a paradigm that was Christian or even Abrahamic? What would be the project of such a ‘book’? For with Religion within the Limits of Reason Alone. the one never coming without opening the possibility of the other. 51-52). to the uttermost limit (Derrida. (20) 55). Shortly thereafter he reframes the inquiry in terms of that titular element “faith. against that which only resembles the void and the indeterminancy of mere abstraction (Derrida. (17) 53).’ for essential reasons of language and of place. of culture. tells us that. even if it always takes the phenomenal form of peace or of justice. about the existence of this limit or about its reducibility to any other limit. itself. In its most abstract form. When translated into the element of religion. a programme of analysis of the forms of evil perpetrated at the four corners of the world ‘in the name of religions (Derrida.’ would today be effectively universal? And which.’ With this “framework” in place. be prepared (waiting without awaiting itself) for the best as for the worst. They can do this in two times. then. but without horizon or expectation and without prophetic prefiguration Derrida. would the event of revelation have consisted in revealing revealability itself. ultra-powerful and in the process of exhausting itself. simply. and the origin of light. How then to think – within the limits of reason alone – a religion which. the very invisibility of visibility (Derrida. without again becoming ‘natural religion. to the current figure of limitation (Derrida. it ought. (19). “Globalatinization. Derrida then asks. the absolute anachrony of our time. in its origin and in its end. a limit like any other? A Christian – but also a Jew or a Muslim – would be someone who would harbour doubts about this limit. to continue giving it names marked by the Abrahamic religions. of a provisional rhetoric and a historical strategy of which I will speak later. They exacerbate it at a moment when – we shall return to this later – globalatinzization (this strange alliance of Christianity. sixteen. moral ideas pervert the purity of their transcendence. ‘among ourselves.’ This messianic dimension does not depend upon any messianism. exposing itself so abstractly. Christian? And would this necessarily be a limit. as the experience of the death of God. and tele-technoscientific capitalism) is at the same time hegemonic and finite. Whence the ambiguity or the duplicity of the religious trait or retreat. (16) 52). the originary light. Does this project retain a meaning or a chance? A geopolitical chance or meaning? Or does the idea itself remain. (21). it belongs properly to no Abrahamic religion (even if I am obliged here.” by which Derrida means “the opening to the future or to the coming of the other as the advent of justice. it follows no determinate revelation. 56). of which he “asks”: Is this not the madness. two ways. depend on such an institution. or an “abstraction of the desert” which. adopting all ‘positions. of its abstraction or of its subtraction. the disjunction of all self-contemporaneity.From one religion to the other.

place itself. (24). (23). reflecting without flinching. losing itself thus in the desert. to knowledge. 57). A spacing.’ The mystical thus understood allies belief or credit. Radically heterogeneous to the safe and sound. nor the Good. It will always resist them. 56). Derrida tells us that he distinguishes this idea of justice from “right. It is the decision of the other in the undecidable (Derrida.desire for justice” linked to it (Derrida. nor God. (22) 57). 58). to a faith. of a system. we will later say also. stripped of everything. of language or a culture” in which “chora would situate the abstract spacing. as the word indicates. sovereignty and violence. justice. This justice inscribes itself in advance in the promise. is announced whenever. a purely rational analysis brings the following paradox to light: that the foundation of law – law of the law. Such an event is unjustifiable within the logic of what it will have opened. the place of absolute exteriority.’ of a universalizable culture of singularities. … Henceforth reason out to recognize there what Montaigne and Pascal call an undeniable ‘mystical foundation of authority. ‘religion’ can only begin and begin again: quasi-automatically. Wherever this foundation founds in foundering. ontological or anthropological instance.‟ In fact. a different kind of space or place.” This messianicity that exceeds and precedes “any traditional opposition. this faith without dogma which makes its way through the risks of absolute night. wherever it steals away under the ground of what it founds. It will never have entered religion and will never permit itself to be sacralized. the subtitle of that essay is The ‘Mystical Foundation of Authority. at the very instant when. mechanically. will have always been (and no future anterior. to science as ‘doing.’ as theory. it never admits any indemnification. Force of Law. but also the place of bifurcation between two approaches to the desert (Derrida. It is neither Being. does not even announce itself as ‘beyond being’ in accordance with a path of negation. The space that opens.” In this “structure of experience” we can then recognize “the mystical foundation of authority” which links faith and knowledge through the linking together of belief and credit (faith) with the practical and scientific (knowledge). not allowing itself to be dominated by any theological. Out of that space „religion‟ might be produced. origin of the constitution – is a ‘performative’ event that cannot belong to the set that it founds. “which. might chora. the fiduciary or the trustworthy. beyond all ‘messianisms. a culture in which the abstract possibility of the impossible translation could nevertheless be announced. (22). institution of the institution. sponte sua. machine-like. Spontaneously. even. in the act of faith or in the appeal to faith that inhabits every act of language and every address to the other. in which and out of which „religion‟ begins. (22). nor History. of an infinitely impassible persistence : an utterly faceless other (Derrida. for chora never presents itself as such. cannot be contained in any traditional opposition. (22). but so too. The universalizable culture of this faith. that is. a place of and for the other. “this messianicity. that space is “the open interior of a corpus. historicized. without history and more ‘ancient’ than all oppositions (for example that of sensible/intelligible). what is being said is that “messianicity without messianism” would structure an experience of waiting for the other constitutive of a kind of justice that exposes the paradox at the foundation of law. 57). 56). this reads like a way into Derrida‟s engagement with Walter Benjamin. 22). cultivated. inflect or reflect a chora without faith or law) the very place of an infinite resistance. alone permits a ‘rational’ and universal discourse on the subject of ‘religion (Derrida. a via negativa (Derrida. and with the automaticity of the machine (Derrida. nor Man. will have been able to reappropriate. To try to put this all together. practice and theoretical practice – which is to say.‟ Faith as expectation of and for the other. Each time that it is forgotten that the mystical (faith) founds authority (knowledge) a space is opened for „religion‟ to begin. 58-59). . 57). spontaneously.’ a line he uses here when he says that we can. (24).’ a famously difficult and important text on law. to the holy and the sacred. “the decision of the other in the undecidable. humanize. This cannot even be formulated in the present.” and that it alone allows the hope. the secret (which here signifies ‘mystical’) to foundation.” The chora is not related to „religion. In fact. both as the origin of what flows from the source. inaugurates or justifies. to performativity and to technoscientific or teletechnological performance. it loses the very trace of itself and the memory of a secret. for example that between reason and mysticism (Derrida. and not of another or before all others. To me. sanctified. which is to say. without age. Carl Schmitt and Emmanuel Levinas in the essay contained later in this volume. as it should. theologized.

or even irreligious manner. Well beyond its strictly capitalist or politico-military figures. 61).. although such a language remains. He says. (30). among ourselves.’ even if we have not been assigned the mission of promoting it. “Respect for this singular indecision or for this hyperbolic outbidding between two originaries.” This idea of religion‟s “name” leads to another important term. It is worth quoting this section in full in order to get the best possible idea of what he means with this neologism: (30) Religion circulates in the world.’ of a new ‘tolerance? (Derrida. An ellipses which is repeated at the start of section twenty-seven before a bold-lettered “Religion?” The second half of the essay thus begins with a very direct statement regarding how today we must “take into account. Jacques. It imposes itself in a particularly palpable manner within the conceptual apparatus of international law and of global political rhetoric.’ is this not at one the chance of every responsible decision and of another ‘reflecting faith. in the world. a hyper-imperialist appropriation has been underway now for centuries. it would respect the distance of an infinite alterity as singularity. he leaves this part of the essay by proposing that “Another ‘tolerance’ would be in accord with the experience of the ‘desert in the desert’. about whom no decision could be made. for the entire religious „vocabulary‟ beginning with „cult. 59” Derrida then asks the reader to try to think of “tolerance” as it might be if it had never been Christian. an other that could never be captured by language or visibility. we know that such globalization is finite and only projected (Derrida. the word „religion‟ is calmly (and violently) applied to things which have always been and remain foreign to what this word names and arrests in its history. For at the same time that we no longer perceive its limits. globalatinization. (26). what religion at present might be as well as what is said and done what is happening at this very moment. expectation.‟ „unscathed‟ (heilig). or the spread and domination of Christianity through the history and continued dominance of a vocabulary. The idea of which leads Derrida to ask. Globalatinization. “lesson of tolerance was first of all an exemplary lesson that the Christian deemed himself alone capable of giving to the world.. distance. And this respect would still be religio. to be sure). Acts of Religion.” Jacques Derrida . New York: Routledge. I‟m going to try and give the most crucial highlights from the rest of this section. in history. coming from the threshold of all religion in the link of repetition to itself. we “arrive” at a place suspension. But by ineluctable contagion.‟ „sacred. it articulates itself through a discourse on religion. (25). Wherever this apparatus dominates. Post-Scriptum Between the section heading “Post-Scriptum” and the twenty-seventh section of this essay is the italicized work “Crypts…” followed by this ellipses mark. (26). in the Derridean vocabulary. a possibility that would not be solely Christian (Derrida. of the greatest necessity here. dissociation. 2002. that all of us here are for ‘tolerance. disjunction. And there we leave the “Italics” half of the essay and enter the “Post-Scriptum. all the same. 67). one might say. practicing it or founding it. this word names a unique event to which a meta-language seems incapable of acceding. (27). if that is not too fine a point to put on it. if possible in an areligious.” He thus explains that he has “immediately” placed the word in quotation marks to “announce” through it “through the density of its history.Acts of Religion .‟ „unscathed. I dare not say „safe and sound. likean English word <comme un mot anglais> that has been to Rome and taken a detour to the United States. We would be here to try to think what ‘tolerance’ could henceforth be.Part 2 Derrida. From here on. différance. distance. the spacing for. "Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of 'Religion' at the Limits of Reason Alone" continued. The same remark could apply to many other words. religio as scruple or reticence. Rather than trying to make this flow in some way.‟ „belief. even if he often had to learn it himself.‟ „faith. 59). the threshold of every social or communitarian link (Derrida.‟ in this apparently borderless process. in its name (Derrida. Globalatinization (essentially Christian. no semantic cell can remain alien.The chora would be the place made.‟ „saved.‟ „holy.” According to Derrida. . the order of the ‘revealed’ and the order of the ‘revealable.” So. Let us suppose it agreed upon. 60).” As so often with Derrida.

First. (34). (33). 70). their centres of authority. a radical destruction of the religious (stricto sensu. as one of its two tendencies. (32). 78). Whether it is a question of sacredness. for the purposes of this essay. to give ourselves back to the other. (32). intuition)” and “2. of sacredness or of holiness. at least not at first sight (Derrida. (33).” From here. „What is religion?‟ (Derrida. (37).” In other words. but they should never be confused or reduced to one another as is almost always done (Derrida.” Auto-immune in the sense of a system whose logic is the identification and elimination of infection. on the one hand (believing or credit. Derrida says “should be distinguished from one another” since “they can doubtless be associated with each other and certain of their possible co-implications analysed. “etymology never provides a law and only provides material for thinking on the condition that it allows itself to be though as well (Derrida. as was just suggested.” Religions are thus. “ought to dominate. “the last type. (37). 78).” These two veins of religious experience. we do know that it is always a response and responsibility that it is always a response and responsibility that is prescribed.‟” The “return of the religious” (always in quotes).” that is religion. Henceforth religion „in the singular‟ accompanies and even . 78). at times victims” and is thus the access to the world (transnational or translate) networks of telecommunication and of tele-technoscience. which. the appeal to blind confidence. “at the same time producers. there where no memory and no history could suffice to announce or gather it. sons of the same God. states. the Roman and that statist. sacrificiality or of faith. „catholic‟ or not. 72).” This is how we can think about the use of the word “religion” and how it is “singularized” but. the law is the other. 73). (34). (33). (37). genealogies and pragmatics [bold in the original]. could well be at work in all the projects known as „pacifist‟ and economic. to be sure. Derrida. “it will always be difficult extricating this pacifying movements from a double horizon (the one hiding or dividing the other (Derrida. Derrida turns his attention to the “problematic of the „return of the religious (Derrida. one must still respond (Derrida. saying that. 71). will and responsibility. will and freedom without autonomy. or rather. therefore. to the same world market. to be sure. But. the testimonial that is always beyond proof. He asks. because. whether religious or irreligious.” And filiations or genealogies would determine an immense field. (37). nor is there always and everywhere. but also certain forms of Protestant or even Catholic orthodoxy) (Derrida. capitalistic and politico-economic) remain original and unprecedented (Derrida. the experience of the unscathed. but let us try to think this. „discursive practices. “the field of this war or of this pacification is henceforth without limit: all the religions. 71 A “response not chosen freely. 78).” Thus. The experience of belief. (32). fidelity. with which the meaning of the word is put to the test of historical transformations and of institutional structures… which in itself.‟ And yet.” At work also is what Derrida says that something “auto-immune. Derrida means. “which is to say. identical with itself.” Here. There is no doubt that it implies freedom. 70).” One must still respond. at times exploiters. Derrida argues.‟ and above all when these brothers belong to the monotheistic tradition of the Abrahamic religions (Derrida. (37). however little may be known of religion in the singular. the other makes the law. then. 71). it is not just the fear of “outsider extremists who destroy our values” kind of rhetoric at work here in this “self-destructive affirmation of religion (Derrida. all agree to call „religion. on the other?) (Derrida. one tells oneself. “not a simple return. 76). demonstrative reason. according to Derrida. like everything that incarnates the European political or juridical order against which all non-Christian „fundamentalisms‟ or „integrisms‟ are waging war. to the reconciliation of „men. a thing that is one and identifiable.” pragmatics. nations or ethnic groups that they represent have unequal access. the religious cultures.” to call a “predefinition” of religion. 78). “there has not always been. nor will there always and everywhere („with humans‟ or elsewhere) be something. “perhaps. for it comports. From here. etymologies. “how can discourses. singularizes the use of the word „religion‟ as well as experience of „religion‟ associated with the word. the fiduciary or the trustworthy in the act of faith. belief and the sacred. It should not exclude others – that would lead to too many absurdities – but it should privilege the signs of what in the world. but often one that is immediate and potentially without limit. for its globality and its figures (teletechno-mediascientific. he comes to what he is willing. The “discursive practices” Derrida assesses in his effort to “take the measure of the question” of “what is religion?” are. To every other and to the utterly other. 70). actors and sought-after consumers. the “two veins (two strata or sources) of the religious: “1. today. which appeal to universal fraternization. Derrida becomes downright practical.‟ be articulated and made to cooperate in attempting to take the measure of the question.” Nor is it “a simple return of the religious. [prove] nothing about the effective use of the word (Derrida. not chosen freely in an act of pure and abstractly autonomous will. the spread of a complex and overdetermined phenomenon” is. the result of which.

a principle of sacrificial self-destruction ruining the principle of self-protection (that of maintaining its self-integrity intact). and above all swelling. immune). and pregnancy to talk about the other subject Anidjar noted as important: life. the future. to which it reacts with all its forces. from the linguistic idiom in its „letter. this price is priceless. appropriating religion for the „proper‟ (inasmuch as it is also the unscathed: heilig. 79-80). on the other hand.‟ From here. is auto-immunity. communities. Here. immune and so on). in truth from place itself. He not only proposed a radical separation between philosophy and theology. sacred. the discourse on the divinity of the divine. to the family and to the nation. on the one hand. saved. augmentation. (37). respect of life in the discourses of religion as such concerns „human life‟ only in so far as it bears witness. reticent. respectful. (37). simultaneously. the positive study of faith. he moves to auto-co-immunity. the „machine for making gods (Derrida. he also wrote.‟ and the theological machine. select. etc. or anatomical. inhibited) between the value of life. sacred. He writes. Writing. or something. growth. which is to say. 87). again. the fiduciary experience presupposed by all production of shared knowledge. It conducts a terrible war against that which protects it only by threatening it. without being arbitrary. and thus. (37). It is. in 1953: „Belief [or faith] has no place in thought . death. in the spontaneity of erection or of pregnancy (Derrida.precedes the critical and tele-technoscientific reason. of the safe and sound. We are here in a space where all self-protection of the unscathed. reticence. the same movement” that “renders indissociable religion and tele-technoscientific reason in its most critical aspect reacts inevitably to itself (Derrida. This internal and immediate reactivity. (37). declaring war against that which gives it this new power only at the cost of dislodging it from all its proper places. of anthropotheological life. and this in view of some sort of invisible and spectral survival. safe and sound. exploits the capital and knowledge of telemediatization… But. freedom. 84). open to something other and more than itself: the other.-mon auto-immunity: no community that would not cultivate its own autoimmunity. modesty. Religion today allies itself with tele-technoscience. He explains further how this “logic of auto-immunity” produces an “internal splitting” which is peculiar or „proper‟ to religion. this section ends and so beings the section entitled “… and pomegranates” which becomes even more physiological. in some manner.”Now that we are speaking of “life-force. Derrida. of the sacred (heilig. bringing in the phallic.” This. 82). “one could. it produces. It is its wake. at once immunitary and auto-immune. appropriating religious indemnification to all forms of property. can alone account for what will be called the religious resurgence in its double and contradictory phenomenon (Derrida. according to this double and contradictory structure: immunitary and auto-immunitary (Derrida. 79-80). there is a detour into Heidegger who not only excluded the very possibility of a philosophy of religion. its own immunity. the pledge of faith. the space and time of a spectralizing messianicity beyond all messianism. Derrida. the shadow of light itself. It is this terrifying but fatal logic of the auto-immunity of the unscathed that will always associate Science and Religion (Derrida. safe and sound.‟ to blood and soil. its absolute „dignity. The price of human life. read. the sacrosanctness of the law). unscathed. as the absolute price the price of what ought to inspire respect. from the taking-place of its truth. 81-82). if not between thought and theiology. sacred. weds. which is to say. 87 From auto-immunity and lives. globalization. the testimonial performativity engaged in all technoscientific performance in the entire capitalistic economy indissociable from it (Derrida. It is there that the possibility of religion persists: the religious bond (scrupulous. to the infinite transcendence of that which is worth more than it (divinity. Community as comm. modest. Thus. That linking movement. the price of what ought to remain safe (heilig. secrets its own antidote but also its own power of auto-immunity. it reacts immediately. its own police. (37). Further. fertility. holy) must protect itself against its own protection. He not only attempted a „destruction‟ of all forms of the ontotheological. it watches over it as its shadow. holy‟ – that speaks of force. holy. the coming or the love of the other. says. the guarantee of trustworthiness. life-force. Thus. This self-contesting attestation keeps the auto-immune community alive. heilig. connect everything in the semantic genealogy of the unscathed – „saintly. 79-80).

answering machine and the possibility of radical evil: perjury. Heilige.. 97). This site of testimony in witnessing. Which is a hell of a lot to deal with. machine-like division (testimonial affirmation and reactivity. the logic of autoimmunity that links religion and science. in our eyes. It offers itself like the miracle itself in space that leaves no room for disenchantment (Derrida. There is no alliance of two. which. ordinary or everyday thing cannot do otherwise: it must still appeal to faith as would a miracle. perhaps.) and reject so energetically „belief‟ or „faith‟ (Glaube). 100). yes. Our hypothesis again refers back to the two sources or two strata or religion which we distinguished above: the experience of sacredness and the experience of belief (Derrida.‟ [“The Anaximander fragment. he will argue. Since the major question remains. makes violence of itself. does violence to itself and keeps itself from the other On the bottom without bottom of an always virgin impassibility. unless it is to signify in effect the pure madness of pure faith. the One + n incalculably engenders all these supplements (Derrida. Zusage. it is the One without name. the two strata or veins of experience. Bezeugung. it is shown that. etc. What therefore does the promise of this axiomatic (quasi-transcendental) performative do that conditions and foreshadows „sincere‟ declarations no less than lies and perjuries. 98).‟ Even the slightest testimony concerning the most plausible. „yes. on the following statement about how religion. the essay ends. ordered at a distance even when it rapes and kills with bare hands).” Here. This place is unique. . albeit in a form that is still quite new: „What does it mean to believe? „ we well ask (elsewhere) how and why Heidegger can at the same time affirm one of the possibilities of the „religious. of a certain faith (Derrida. 100). converge in “witnessing. that for our purposes. belief and the sacred. “at the bottom without bottom of this crypt. remote-control murder. “The auto-immunity of religion can only indemnify itself without assignable end” because. it makes way. The dispersion of ashes is not even promise there. is “where the socius or the relation to the other would disclose itself to be the secret of testimonial experience – and hence. neither divine nor human. nor death given (Derrida.‟ of which we have just schematically recalled the signs (Faktum. Later stating that. 99).‟ etc. 100 Thus. and thus all address of the other/ it amounts to saying: „Believe what I say as one believes in a miracle. but without the slightest generosity. lies. Derrida. and a sense of what that means in terms of religion as response to the other.‟ in Martin Heidegger. Verhaltenheit.” Of which he asks. And here.(Der Glaube hat im Denken keinen Platz). Back to the experiences of the sacred and of belief. Early Greek Thinking] (Derrida. the take-away from this part of the essay are globalatinization (language and pragmatics). I would say. The worst violence. 94). chora of tomorrow in languages we no longer know or do not yet speak. The more than One is this n+One which introduces the order of faith or of trust in the address of the other. but also the mechanical.

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