The Gift of Death, Second Edition & Literature in Secret (Religion and Postmodernism) 2nd Edition

12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226142777
ISBN-10: 9780226142777
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy new
$10.15
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
List Price: $14.00 Save: $3.85 (28%)
29 New from $8.21
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Qty:1
The Gift of Death, Second... has been added to your Cart
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback, October 1, 2007
"Please retry"
$10.15
$8.21 $4.54
More Buying Choices
29 New from $8.21 32 Used from $4.54
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


InterDesign Brand Store Awareness Rent Textbooks
$10.15 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

The Gift of Death, Second Edition & Literature in Secret (Religion and Postmodernism) + Writing and Difference + Of Grammatology
Price for all three: $59.23

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

French philosopher Derrida stares death in the face in this dense but rewarding inquiry. Beginning with an analysis of an essay on the sacred by Czech philosopher/human rights activist Jan Patocka, Derrida follows the development of moral and ethical responsibility, and the concept of the soul's immortality, in the transition from Platonism to Christianity. He then ponders the self's anticipation of death in sacrifice, war, orgiastic mystery cults, murder and execution, with reference to Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, Nietzsche, Heidegger's thought (a "constant attempt to separate itself from Christianity") and the biblical story of Abraham's contemplated sacrifice of his son, Isaac, at God's behest. In the most provocative section, Derrida links religious injunctions of sacrifice to the "monotonous complacency" of modern society, which allows tens of millions of children to die of hunger and disease.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

This is Part 2 of Derrida's exploration of the ambiguity of giving. Part 1 (Given Time: Counterfeit Money, Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1992) weaves in and out of a Baudelaire prose poem on giving a beggar a counterfeit coin. Part 2 is more direct and reality-grounded, probably because its point of departure is an essay on history, religion, and responsibility by Jan Patov cka, Czech philosopher who died of a brain hemorrhage after police interrogation in March 1977. When confronted with the death of a scholar who gave his life because of his commitment to human rights, Derrida's readers will find the paradox of giving one's life-through death-somewhat precious. Derrida moves through texts from Emmanuel Levinas, Kierkegaard, the New Testament, and Nietzsche before ending with a passage from Baudelaire's art criticism, where he finds some of the same possibilities for double-reading a gift. Willis's model translation renders the text in clear English, with sufficient parenthetical French interpellations for readers to see where Derrida is playing on the gaps between the two languages. Recommended primarily for academic libraries.
Marilyn Gaddis Rose, Binghamton Univ., N.Y.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Series: Religion and Postmodernism
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 2 edition (October 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780226142777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226142777
  • ASIN: 0226142779
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Caponsacchi HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 18, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You can give someone life--or you can put someone to death. But you cannot "give" someone their own death. Death is a "gift" because it insures our irreplaceableness in God's eyes; it is ours and ours alone. No one can die in my place no more than I can die in theirs. Our willingness to acknowledge this relationship with our own deaths (which above all requires "responsibility," a term Derrida seems to prefer to "faith") in turn unites us with God and the self, with the giver and the receiver.
I'll admit I hadn't expected a deconstructionist to use terms like "absolute," "transcendant," "God," "self"--in profusion and in earnest. But perhaps Derrida has sufficiently exposed the instability, metaphoric basis and deceptive play of language to be able to employ it without qualifiers, disclaimers, and tedious textual self-referentiality. As is his custom, he represents his own work as a critique of others' works--Plato's "Phaedo," Nietzsche's "Genealogy of Morals," Kierkegaard's "Fear and Trembling," and the contemporary, politically executed Polish philosopher Jan Potocka. While he establishes his distance from Plato and Nietzsche, his re-visioning of Kierkegaard offers new angles without questioning or challenging the great Dane's existential reading of the Abraham-Isaac story. And his alignment with Potocka is so complete as to suggest more an apologia than a critique of the latter's work. Add to these texts numerous references to Heidegger and to both the Old and New Testaments as well as to stories by Poe and Hawthorne, and you'll have some idea of how richly allusive, not to mention dense, Derrida's discourse can be, even in a brief work such as this.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Peter Downing on January 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Like much of Derrida's work, The Gift of Death does require a familiarity with the continental tradition. Without knowledge of Heidegger, Levinas and Kierkegaard, it is unlikely to make an impression, but the central figure of the text is Jan Patocka, a little-known Czech philosopher who is only now beginning to come to light. Contact with his thoughts on Europe and the care of the soul makes this slim tract come to life. I actually found it to be one of the clearest of Derrida's works, certainly no more challenging than the average in current continental philosophy. Illuminates the tension between secrecy and givenness, human freedom and responsibility, and shows the ways in which death opens the space for human existence. A valuable contribution to the phenomenology of religion, and destined to be one of Derrida's more widely read essays, even if it never surpasses the importance of his earlier works.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 17, 2015
Format: Paperback
Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) was a French philosopher and writer, best known for developing a form of semiotic analysis known as “Deconstruction.”

The Translator’s Preface to this 1955 book states, “The French text of this essay… was published in a collection of papers from a conference held at Royaumont in December 1990, on ‘The Ethics of the Gift.’ … ‘The Gift of Death’ starts from an analysis of an essay by the Czech philosopher Jan Patocka, who, along with Vaclav Havel and Jiri Hajek, was one of three spokesmen for the Charta 77 human rights declaration of 1977.”

Derrida says, “To what extent should we be permitted to take literally the words ‘incorporation’ and ‘repression,’ such as they are encountered in the French translation of Patocka? Did he wish to give them the conceptual contours that they process within psychoanalytic discourse, notably in a theory of mourning? Even if that is not the case, nothing prevents us from putting a psychoanalytic reading of these words to the test, at least on an experimental basis; or if not a psychoanalytic reading at least a hermeneutics that takes into account psychoanalytic concepts corresponding to the words ‘incorporation’ and ‘repression,’ especially since our analysis concentrates on the motif of secrecy.” (Pg. 9)

He comments, “The crypto- or mytho-genealogy of responsibility is woven with the double and inexplicably intertwined thread of the gift and of death: in short of the GIFT OF DEATH. The gift made to me by God as he holds me in his gaze and in his hand while retaining inaccessibile to me, the terribly dissymmetrical gift of the ‘mysterium tremendum’ only allows me to respond and only rouses me to the responsibility it gives me by making a gift of death… giving the secret of death, a new experience of death.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kallionsivu Mikko on July 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
The deconstruction of Christianity plus some extent also Jewish and Islamic thinking from the point of view of gift or symbolic exchange is an interesting topic. Especially the core of Derrida's analysis, how to interpret -- or to deconstruct, depending your own stance -- the story of Binding of Isaac, is insightful. One could also use it as a masterful, more or less isolated close-reading of an enigmatic story.

I also liked the general idea that morality is always based on shortcomings and that the monotheistic religions try to evade this impossibility of total ethicalness by totally merging the ultimate other (the God, the permanently unknowable) within the very core of the self.

The Gift of Death is short book and not easy to read. I read it as a critique of monotheism, of 'monomanic' ethics that are based on surrendering yourself to an absolute and thus to monotony, monomania, monology and singularity (as opposite to generality). If this indeed what Derrida is saying, it is not as original as the idea of deconstructing religion seem to promise. But, as always -- with Derrida it is not so much what he says, but HOW he says it. Unlike Heidegger, for instance, this is also FUN to read.

A good dose of poetry makes any give subversive morality more interesting. In the words of Bob Dylan, "Don't follow leaders, watch the parking meters." I do both and it seems that in introducing multiple levels of simultaneous, symbolic exchange paradigms Derrida does, too.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Gift of Death, Second Edition & Literature in Secret (Religion and Postmodernism)
This item: The Gift of Death, Second Edition & Literature in Secret (Religion and Postmodernism)
Price: $10.15
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?