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Trials: Of Antigone and Jesus
 9780823293445

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Trials

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Series Board James Bernauer Drucilla Cornell Thomas R. Flynn Kevin Hart Richard Kearney Jean-Luc Marion Adriaan Peperzak Thomas Sheehan Hent de Vries Merold Westphal Michael Zimmerman

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John D. Caputo, series editor

P E R S PE C T I V E S I N C O N T I N E N TA L PHILOSO PHY

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WILLIAM ROBERT

Trials Of Antigone and Jesus

F O R D H A M U N IV E R SI T Y P RE SS New York

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2010

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Copyright 䉷 2010 Fordham University Press All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher. Fordham University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party Internet websites referred to in this publication and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Robert, William. Trials : of Antigone and Jesus / William Robert.—1st ed. p. cm.— (Perspectives in Continental philosophy) Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index. ISBN 978–0-8232–3165–2 (cloth : alk. paper) 1. Jesus Christ—Person and offices. 2. Theological anthropology—Christianity. 3. Tragic, The—Religious aspects—Christianity. 4. Antigone (Greek mythology) 5. Philosophical anthropology. 6. Tragic, The. 7. Deconstruction. 8. Continental philosophy. I. Title. BT205.R52 2010 232⬘.8—dc22 2009048725 Printed in the United States of America 12 11 10 5 4 3 2 1 First edition

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To my teachers

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Contents

Acknowledgments

xi

Invocation

1

1

Impossible Love

6

2

Between Nature and Culture

20

3

Surviving, Forever Foreign

36

4

Cryptic Crossing

54

5

Touching Transcendence, in the Flesh

71

6

The Tragedy of Christianity

88

Opening

103

Notes

107

Index

145

ix

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Acknowledgments

This text comprises a journal of debts to my teachers, with each debt the record of a generous gift: of friendship, acumen, encouragement, love. My teachers, named and unnamed, have made possible the acquiring and recording of these debts—and all that they entail. I offer to them this text as an inscription of gratitude, a thank-you card addressed to them and signed in my name. I thank the Department of Religion and the Humanities Postdoctoral Faculty Fellows at Syracuse University, which provided an institutional home during this text’s composition. They also provided outstanding colleagues, whom I thank for their unfailing support of me and my work. I thank in special ways Jack Caputo and Gail Hamner, whose encouragement of and faith in me know no bounds, and David and Pat Miller, without whose enthusiasm and advice this text would never have come to exist. I thank Nell Champoux, Wilson Dickinson, Francis Sanzaro, and Donovan Schaefer for provocative discussions, particularly of Jean-Luc Nancy’s work, without which what follows would not be what follows. I also thank my students, who continually teach me the value of learning— that is, of asking the next question. I continue to thank Helen Tartar for her editorial faith and sage guidance. I thank an extraordinary group of teachers who have become friends and friends who have become teachers for their prescience, support, humor, and kindness: Jane Cairns, Letitia Campbell, Beth Currans, Jay Geller, Jeff Kosky, Karmen MacKendrick, Dan Miller, Christine Thomas, xi

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Clark West, and Meg Wolff. I owe particular gratitude to Roger Friedland and, singularly, to Tom Carlson, who remain my unflagging guides and cherished mentors and from whose imaginative insights and challenging dialogues I continue to benefit. I also owe special thanks to Zoran Kuzmanovich and Elisabeth Weber, who—with unrestrained and unspeakable grace, compassion, devotion, and wisdom—have opened doors, have stood with me in the thresholds, and have sustained me without wavering. I owe distinctive and distinctively prodigious debts to my dear friends and family, who teach me more than I could know and, in giving without reserve, do the impossible. I owe incalculable debts to my family—Raoul, Jonalyn, Leah, Jon, Shelby, Noah, Josephine, Madison, and so many others—who are my first and best teachers, who keep my heart full and my spirit open, who support without always understanding, and who love unconditionally through it all. I thank and thank again Finbarr Curtis, Alicia DeNicola, Jacob Latham, John Lardas Modern, Ellen Posman, and Wendy Wiseman, my indefatigable and irreplaceable teachers, all intellectual rock stars and personal heroes, for unending inspiration, unparalleled discussion, unyielding patience, and unfathomable love.

xii

Acknowledgments

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When in the end, the day came on which I was going away, I learned the strange learning that things can happen which we ourselves cannot possibly imagine, either beforehand, or at the time when they are taking place, or afterwards when we look back on them. . . . Those who have been through such events can, in a way, say that they have been through a death—a passage outside the range of imagination, but within the range of experience. Isak Dinesen The scandal of death, and thus tragedy, are not only an aspect of being; they are fundamental to any discourse on the divine, on love itself, and, above all, on the subject. Franc¸ oise Meltzer To write: to touch on the extremity . . . How then to touch on the body? It is perhaps not possible to respond to this ‘‘how?’’ as to a technical query. But what it is necessary to say is that this—to touch on the body, to touch the body, to touch finally—happens all the time in writing. . . . Writing has its place on the limit. Jean-Luc Nancy I posthume as I breathe . . . Jacques Derrida

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Invocation

I am on trial. In many ways the text that follows unfolds as an exposition of this brief invocation—an invocation that entwines subjectivity (‘‘I’’) and existence (‘‘am’’) by way of trial. This invocation harbors at least three senses of ‘‘trial’’: as examination, as test, and as ordeal. This text explores these three senses and, in the process, stages a triple trial, in each of these registers, of humanity and divinity. ‘‘I am on trial’’ discloses an examination. It discloses that ‘‘I am under examination,’’ that ‘‘I am on trial,’’ as in a juridical context, which entails subjection to being probed, interrogated, called to respond, mediated, and judged by an other—here and now. This disclosure supports Jean-Luc Nancy’s contention that ‘‘the inaugurating decisions of contemporary thought . . . have all involved putting subjectivity on trial.’’1 Contemporary critical inquiry subjects subjectivity or ‘‘the subject’’ to an examination, in which subjectivity or ‘‘the subject’’ performatively utters ‘‘I am on trial.’’2 This examination or subjection includes investigating—and exposing—the nearly ubiquitous and nearly ubiquitously unacknowledged insertion of ‘‘human’’ between ‘‘the’’ and ‘‘subject,’’ which effectively equates ‘‘the subject’’ and ‘‘the human’’ in Occidental thought. Hence examining subjectivity requires examining humanity, on its own and in relation to alterities such as divinity and animality. This process unearths a latent humanism in the silent insertion of ‘‘human’’ into ‘‘the 1

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subject,’’ thereby uncovering and disinterring a humanistic vein coursing through not only modern but also ancient accounts of subjectivity, of who or what counts as a subject. This text undertakes a multilayered examination of subjectivity—of a subjectivity that discloses in the process that ‘‘I am on trial’’—by unburying and putting on trial its constitutive elements, both acknowledged and unacknowledged. In putting ‘‘the subject’’ on trial, this text also puts on trial ‘‘the human’’: it puts on trial humanity and humanism. The former it tries particularly vis-a`-vis divinity as an otherness against or in terms of which humanity defines itself. The latter it tries by questioning constructions of nature and culture, whose distinction founds humanism’s selfassertions and self-formations. These trying queries proceed according to what Avital Ronell describes as ‘‘a kind of questioning . . . perhaps even a modality of being’’ that ‘‘scans the walls of experience, measuring, probing, determining the ‘what is’ of the lived world.’’3 This text conducts these trials by examining the two trials of Antigone and Jesus, individually and relationally. Antigone and Jesus each effectively articulate ‘‘I am on trial’’ as she or he appears before powerful authorities and, in the process, palpably confronts her or his mortality. To the question ‘‘Who is on trial?’’ or ‘‘Who says ‘I am on trial’?’’ I explore two responses: Antigone (and with her, ‘‘the human,’’ humanism, sexual difference, and distinctions of nature and culture) and Jesus (and with him, relations of humanity and divinity and, more specifically, ways of figuring humanity vis-a`-vis divinity). Moreover, entwining Antigone and Jesus puts on trial resistances to or effacements of tragedy in Christian traditions—resistances or effacements whose roots run as deep as many Christian traditions themselves. ‘‘I am on trial’’ announces a test. More specifically, it announces a test drive, a trial run; it performs an experiment inseparable from examination, with both remaining matters of experience, always testing experience in the process of or as a part of any experiment or examination. This relation recalls Emmanuel Levinas’s statement that ‘‘I prefer the word ´epreuve [trial] to expe´rience [experience] because . . . in the word ´epreuve there is at once the idea of life and of a critical ‘verification’ that overflows the self of which it is only the ‘scene.’ ’’4 Consequently, a test is always a test, in Ronell’s words, of ‘‘the experienceability and constitution of reality in general,’’ which makes apparent that ‘‘this mode of testing involves a thoroughgoing reconstitution and reconceptualization of the subject’’ and moves ‘‘in the direction of the unknown, situated as it is in . . . an open finitude’’ that ‘‘admits of no divine principles of intelligibility, no first 2

Invocation

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word of grace or truth, no final meaning, no privileged signified.’’5 A test requires that its results be unknown and unknowable in advance, since this unknowability conditions the possibility of and opens the space of a test drive or trial run. Hence the outcome of any test drive remains in an unforeseeable future, which Jacques Derrida calls l’avenir, until the trial run occurs and the results arrive. This text conducts a number of test drives or trial runs entwined in its examinations. Most apparently, it performs trial runs of close, creative readings of Antigone and Jesus, on their own and taken together, that engender trial runs of new modes of humanity and divinity, individually and relationally. This project is therefore not a commentarial engagement with the countless treatments of or bodies of secondary literature concerning Antigone and Jesus.6 Such an engagement would, in any thoroughgoing way, be an inconceivable, unachievable task and would potentially discount the focused, innovative trial runs, vis-a`-vis Sophocles’ Antigone and the Gospel of Mark, at the heart of this text. These trial runs take place as test drives of possible responses to two questions around which this text revolves: (1) What does it mean to be (called) ‘‘human’’? and (2) How does this meaning affect a divinity who is (also) fully human? My responses to these queries include a trial run of Christianity as tragedy and of tragedy as affirmation that resists resolution, so that tragedy names a question rather than an answer—or a question without an answer—and its affirmation includes affirming abiding differences that resist dialectical sublation or comic dissolution. In this way, these trial runs try the impossible. They test what Derrida names ‘‘an other manner of thinking the limit from the philosophical to the regard of questions . . . but also to the trial of an im-possible that would not be negative. One such trial involves an other thinking of the event, of the ‘taking-place’ [une autre manie`re de penser la limite du philosophique au regard de questions . . . mais aussi a` l’e´preuve d’un im-possible qui ne serait pas ne´gatif. Une telle ´epreuve implique une autre pense´e de l’e´ve´nement, de l’ ‘avoir-lieu’],’’ according to which ‘‘only the im-possible takes place [seul l’im-possible a lieu].’’7 (This translation is itself a trial run that test-drives the possibility of translating ‘‘du . . . au’’ as the compound construction ‘‘from the . . . to the,’’ which then calls for translating ‘‘au regard de’’ more literally than idiomatically and sets up the parallels of ‘‘au regard du’’ and ‘‘a` l’e´preuve d’un’’ in a way that emphasizes the dynamic, open, ‘‘toward’’ quality of ‘‘a`’’ in both cases.) Such a trial of ‘‘an impossible that would not be negative’’ but affirmative is vital to the trials—in all three senses—that this text performs. An affirming impossible and an affirmation of the impossible are particularly critical insofar as Invocation

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my considerations of Antigone and Jesus turn on such an impossible. Along these lines, Derrida’s suggestive statement might serve as one possible translation of ‘‘I am on trial.’’ Moreover, affirming this impossible that Derrida depicts signals this text’s extended encounters and exchanges with the writings of Derrida and Nancy, to which it owes substantial debts. This text stages a trial run of this double encounter. ‘‘I am on trial’’ exposes an ordeal. It exposes the real possibility (one that is often more than just a possibility) of suffering by recognizing that an experience is or always involves a trial (e´preuve) that, via examination or test or another route, pushes an ‘‘I’’ who declares ‘‘I am on trial’’ to his or her experiential and existential limits, there where possibility and impossibility touch. Any trial thus includes an ineradicable and unavoidable element of tribulation that involves destabilization, displacement, even potential destitution or destruction. Antigone and Jesus, each in her or his singular way, embody these movements that bring them not only to but across their respective limits, delineated most discernibly in terms of life and death. Through the trials that Antigone and Jesus suffer, they face and even touch their own mortalities, the borders and boundaries of their human finitudes. They suffer extreme affliction up to and into their deaths, whose hasty arrivals attest to the abiding, irrepressible differences that they incarnate—differences that bear grave and decisive implications for humanity and divinity. Focusing on the ordeal of any trial therefore entails attending to irreducible differences in their singularities, for a trial’s ordeal is each time a singular experience that takes place in an unrepeatable here and now. This focus entails paying particular attention to embodiment: to body as locus of humanity, for, as Nancy avows, ‘‘body itself is experience’’; it ‘‘gives place [donne lieu] to existence’’ and therefore to any trial, any ordeal, any ´epreuve humanly experienced.8 Recognizing corporeality as so vitally pivotal underscores the religious, philosophical, political, sexual, existential, and other differences that Antigone and Jesus animate and inhabit and for which they are subjected to trials of the impossible. Antigone and Jesus corporeally suffer the ordeals of trials and deaths, not as means to other ends but singularly and tragically, with their living and dead bodies becoming sites in and through which tragedy takes place. Tragedy affirms the trial and death that each suffers by emphasizing elements of powerlessness and passivity, on limits and limitations that are distinctively human and that Antigone and Jesus distinctively embody. Their bodies’ constitutive, mortal finitudes materialize Ronell’s realization that a trial as ordeal 4

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(‘‘the other test’’) ‘‘crashes against walls, collapses certitudes, and lives by failure—living by dying.’’9 This text’s examinations and tests, of Antigone and Jesus and their human embodiments, transpire via human living and dying, in and through which any such trial occurs. This text examines and tests and faces and endures these experiential modes thanks to a nonnegative impossible that affirms living and dying as corporeal, human events thanks to which any ‘‘I am on trial’’ achieves expression. With this, the trials unfold.

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Impossible Love

Tragedy crosses the line. It is excessive; it goes too far; that is what makes it tragic. Tragedy is not tragic simply because someone or something dies but because someone or something steps across a border and, in doing so, breaches a boundary believed to be unbreachable. Someone or something exceeds an established limit. Therein lies the tragedy. Tragedy thus puts on trial limits and limitations, particularly those that demarcate the bounds of human life. Tragedy probes the edges of humanity, there where humanity confronts its limits, on the border of possibility and impossibility. For mortal humanity, this border demarcates life and death, the possibility and impossibility of embodied existence and experience. Here tragedy’s affinity with death emerges: death represents the other side of embodied human life, which for life remains impossible except via rupture and trespass. Tragedy represents trespass, motivated by excess that pushes human life beyond its limits. In this way, tragedy figures itself as an aporetic question: in Jacques Derrida’s words, ‘‘what is it, then, to cross this ultimate border [qu’est-ce alors que franchir cette frontie`re de l’ultime]?’’1 This becomes the tragic question, to which only someone excessive, someone who has crossed this border, can reply. Antigone is that someone par excellence. If tragedy is a question of pushing on and through ultimate limits, Antigone positions herself as a consummate responder, for Antigone is excessive. She embodies and performs the tragic movement of going too far, of crossing uncrossable borders—including the ‘‘ultimate border’’ demarcating life and death. 6

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Hence she has become a central trope of tragedy in Occidental discourses of religion, philosophy, aesthetics, ethics, and politics since Sophocles’ play that bears her name was first performed in 442 bce during the Athenian festival of Dionysus. But neither time nor tropic identification has tamed her, since Antigone still amazes; she still dazzles; and she is still valorized, criticized, demonized, neutralized, questioned, and challenged by countless commentators in a variety of discourses. Such commentaries span her 2,400-year history, though the most laudatory emerge in nineteenthcentury Europe, during which time, George Steiner notes, ‘‘it was widely held by European poets, philosophers, scholars that Sophocles’ Antigone was not only the finest of Greek tragedies but a work of art nearer to perfection than any other produced by the human spirit.’’2 Chief among such thinkers is G. W. F. Hegel, who pronounces that Antigone is ‘‘one of the most sublime and in every respect most excellent works of art of all time.’’3 While Antigone represents what Jacques Lacan identifies as ‘‘a turning point in the field that interests us’’ and ‘‘reveals to us in effect the line of sight that defines desire,’’ it is rather ‘‘Antigone who fascinates us, Antigone in her unbearable splendor [dans son ´eclat insupportable].’’4 Why? Perhaps because of her captivating biography. As a daughter of Oedipus and Jokasta, Antigone is the product of an incestuous marriage, thereby embodying a transgression of the prohibition of incest that grounds kinship and culture. When her brother Polyneikes leads an army against their brother Eteokles over a dispute concerning which one will rule Thebes, the brothers slay one another in battle. Kreon, Antigone’s uncle who assumes the throne, pronounces that Polyneikes’ traitorous body must remain unburied outside the city walls: as Antigone recounts it, ‘‘none may shroud him in a tomb or wail for him;/he must be left unwept, unburied, treasure sweet/for watching birds to feed on at their pleasure.’’5 Abiding by this political edict would force Antigone to abandon her ethical and religious duties of filial piety that, according to the divine law of Hades, god of the underworld, require a sister to bury her dead brother. She finds such an abandonment intolerable, so, with no help from her sister, Ismene, she twice buries Polyneikes’ body (a guard uncovers it the first time). Caught in the act, she appears on trial before Kreon, remaining defiant and firmly standing her ethical and religious ground by refusing to observe what to her is an unjust, human law. Kreon stands just as firmly and sentences her to be buried alive. The blind prophet Teiresias, Kreon’s son Haimon (who is also Antigone’s fiance´), Impossible Love

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and the chorus eventually convince Kreon to lift the sentence, but when Kreon arrives at Antigone’s tomb, he discovers that she has hanged herself. This discovery begins a suicidal chain reaction that ends in the deaths of Haimon and Eurydike, Kreon’s wife. Antigone continues to fascinate also because she remains relevant. Simone Weil, for example, views Antigone and Sophocles’ play that bears her name as ‘‘so human that they are still very close to us and can interest everyone,’’ especially ‘‘those who know what it is to struggle and suffer.’’6 Antigone knows struggle and suffering; she is, according to Weil, ‘‘a courageous and proud being who struggles all alone against an intolerably painful situation.’’7 Luce Irigaray echoes Weil, finding in Antigone a woman who ‘‘is always worth reflecting upon as a historical figure [figure de l’Histoire] and as an identity or identification for many girls and women living today’’—hence ‘‘her relevance to our present situation [a` cause de son actualite´].’’8 In this case, her relevance persists because she resists: she resists domination, incorporation, categorization, explanation. Her resistance finally disrupts the stability of boundaries delineating foundational oppositions in Occidental thought—such as man and woman, human and inhuman, culture and nature, life and death—which renders her (from this perspective) impossible. Loving Nature Antigone is impossible by nature. This is because her nature compels her to love, which she reveals when, on trial before Kreon, she tells him, ‘‘My nature joins in friendship, not enmity’’ or, translated differently, ‘‘I cannot side with hatred. My nature sides with love [outoi sunechthein, alla sumphilein ephun].’’9 These translations diverge so greatly because Antigone here uses language creatively, coining a new term to name this love: philia, a love involving a relationship of reciprocal responsibility or mutual obligation. Philia refers to the love that Antigone exemplarily performs in adhering to her familial, ethical, and religious obligations of respect and piety. Philia thus emerges linguistically from a woman, granting this term a female genealogy. This quasi-maternal link reiterates that Antigone’s nature, a nature that she refuses to sublate or sublimate, inscribes her in philia. Antigone cannot but love—and be guided by her love for—her family members, living and dead, since her ‘‘nature joins in philia.’’ Her philial alignment impresses her filial duties on her: as a sister, she is obligated to bury her

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brother’s corpse. This impression becomes more pronounced, its imperative greater, because of her brother Polyneikes’ irreplaceability, which distinguishes him from a potential child or husband. Antigone makes clear that I would never have defied the citizens to do this labor if the oozing corpse were that of my own child, or if my husband lay there dead. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . My husband dead, I could have had another, and a child from someone else, if I had lost the first; but with my mother and my father both concealed in Hades, no more brothers ever could be born.10 That her parents are dead accords her brother his unique status as unsubstitutable, further emphasizing familial relations and their accompanying responsibilities. These relations and responsibilities, undergirded by her religious obligation and allegiance to Hades, become for Antigone not simply primary but singular: they are the only ones that she recognizes as binding. Antigone demonstrates this singularity by identifying herself only in familial terms, according to her role as sister. Being a sister becomes the single identity available to her as an unmarried woman, which means that she is only a sister. She is, Derrida writes, ‘‘this sister who never becomes citizen, or wife, or mother . . . she fixes, grasps, transfixes, transfigures herself in this character of eternal sister.’’11 For an ‘‘eternal sister,’’ philia becomes the only kind of sanctioned love, since a sister relates to her family in and through philia, the love to which Antigone’s nature joins her. Viewed in this way, Kreon’s edict forbidding Polyneikes’ burial constitutes a mandate that Antigone deny or abandon her nature and her family—which is to say, her love. Kreon’s ordinance effectively forbids Antigone to love: philia is the only mode of love available to her, but Kreon refuses to allow the burial rites demanded by philia and filial piety, thereby prohibiting her from loving her dead brother. (In the same stroke, Kreon also denies the possibility of politics if, as Derrida contends, ‘‘there is no politics without an organization of the time and space of mourning, without a topolitology of the sepulcher,’’ so that politics depends on mourning and burial rites as conditions of its possibility.)12 Along these lines, Antigone’s refusal to recognize Kreon’s legal authority or observe his decree comes neither from a clash of obstinate wills nor from a dialectical conflict of legal orders (human or divine) but from the decree’s insistence

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that Antigone abandon her love and, with it, her nature. Kreon’s demand requires that Antigone do something ‘‘unnatural,’’ given her natural bond with love. This motivation illuminates Antigone’s resolved declaration to Ismene that Kreon ‘‘has no business to keep me from what is mine.’’13 Here, ‘‘what is mine’’ can include her brother, her love for her brother, and her duty of filial piety to her brother—and the love that, by nature, binds all of these to her, just as she remains bound to the oikos, the domain of family and of philia. Though Antigone’s ‘‘nature joins in philia’’ and all that it entails (in its requirements of her and in the actions it motivates her to perform), philia is not her definitive experience of love. This distinction belongs to ero¯s, whose passionate, excessive qualities grant it a kinship with tragedy. In Antigone’s ancient Greek context, ero¯s also bears divine attributes since it names both a human experience of love and a god who wields the power to ravage human lives. Ero¯s thus names an experience or a divinity that is transgressive and even destructive, with its ability to overtake and to ransack humans and their property with unassailable force. The chorus attests to this in its hymn to ero¯s, which it addresses (as experience and god) as ‘‘destroyer love,’’ with the capability ‘‘to sweep across the bounds of what is right’’ in religious, ethical, political, or psychological registers, driving those under its sway to their limits, for ‘‘he who has you [ero¯s] has madness.’’14 Because ero¯s remains invincible, it will inevitably defeat ‘‘he who has you,’’ its victims passive and powerless to its force. The chorus begins and ends its ode to ero¯s by acknowledging its invincibility, opening with the address ‘‘Ero¯s, unconquered in battle!’’ and ending with the assertion that ‘‘Aphrodite is invincible in battle.’’15 That the chorus begins by naming the god Ero¯s and ends by naming the goddess Aphrodite, both divinities of love, emphasizes the divine dimension inspiring any human experience of ero¯s regardless of the particular divinity motivating the experience. This double naming also grants ero¯s a doubly divine genealogy that is male and female (as well as pre-Olympian and Olympian).16 Antigone is subject (or subjected) to ero¯s’ divine, unbeatable force, which inescapably drives her to madness. But her ero¯s is singular: Antigone madly loves the impossible—or, more precisely, she is madly in love with the impossible. Ismene perceptively announces this love when she says to Antigone, ‘‘you’re in love with the impossible [all ame¯chano¯n erais].’’17 With this, Ismene delivers the pivotal line around which Antigone and Antigone move, for everything in Sophocles’ tragic drama turns on this love of the impossible. Though Antigone naturally sides with love, her sister’s declaration marks the only identification of Antigone with ero¯s, 10

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thereby distinguishing this love as unique—and decisive, thanks to its consuming, passionate power. The Impossible In and through her ero¯s, Antigone exposes the nature of the impossible. The impossible names a constitutive exclusion whose very exclusion makes possible that which excludes it. In short, the impossible is the condition of the possible; the impossible engenders the possible (and with it, limits and limitations, since possibility must have limits), installing itself as and at the heart of the possible. (In this way, the impossible also engenders finitude.) The impossible, Derrida writes, ‘‘ensures its rhythm and its respiration: diastole, systole, and syncope, beating of the im-possible possible, of the impossible as condition of the possible.’’18 What ensures possibility’s rhythm and respiration is not only diastole and systole but also syncope, which situates an interval that spaces and temporizes rhythm and regularity with an unpredictable irregularity, an interruption that erupts unforeseeably. Syncope names what Derrida elsewhere calls diffe´rance or supplement (as well as trace, hymen, pharmakon, etc.): a prosthesis or tekhne¯ of dislocation, disruption, and delay that always already ruptures stability, certainty, homogeneity from within, as the impossibility that makes possibility possible. At the heart of the possible, syncope (another name for the impossible) inscribes a potential disruption that occurs unexpectedly and without warning. If and when the impossible happens—and, Slavoj Zˇizˇek insists, ‘‘the impossible does happen,’’ or, John Caputo reassures, ‘‘of course the impossible happens’’—it arrives unannounced as a singular eruption and interruption that breaches possibility’s limits.19 The impossible occurs singularly each time, uniquely and unrepeatably, as a disruptive exception. Such an exception, in which the impossible happens, constitutes an event, which Derrida describes as ‘‘that which comes, that which arrives’’—and ‘‘arrives as the coming of the impossible,’’ so that ‘‘when the impossible makes itself possible, the event takes place (possibility of the impossible) [quand l’impossible se fait possible, l’e´ve´nement a lieu (possibilite´ de l’impossible)].’’20 An event implies surprise, arriving always unexpectedly and unforeseeably, in an unanticipatable ‘‘here’’ and ‘‘now.’’ If and when an event arrives, unforeseeably, here and now, it calls for affirmation. It calls for a ‘‘yes.’’ This ‘‘yes’’ is, in Derrida’s words, ‘‘a ‘yes’ to [un ‘oui’ a`], a ‘yes’ to the other . . . a ‘yes’ to the event, that is to say, a ‘yes’ to that which comes, to letting-come [au laisser-venir].’’21 ‘‘Yes’’ performs affirmation and reception, as what Derrida calls ‘‘a quasi-transcendental Impossible Love

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and silent performative’’ that ‘‘opens the eventness [l’e´ve´nementialite´] of every event.’’22 ‘‘Yes’’ thus makes way for the impossible possibility of an event, which arrives unpredictably, and responds with openness and receptivity (and therefore passivity) to an event that arrives. Because ‘‘yes’’ makes way in advance of an event’s arrival, it does so unconditionally, without knowledge of what an event might bring. Such unconditional affirmation and avowal expose a risk inherent in every event, which arrives as a chance and a threat. But this risk and the chance-threat that it entails are necessary, since they allow for the possibility of an unconditional and unforeseeable event, in which the impossible occurs. This risky chance-threat is, for Derrida, a necessary element in ‘‘the trial [l’e´preuve] of an im-possible that would not be negative’’ and would ‘‘imply an other thinking of the event, of the ‘taking-place’ [l’ ‘avoir-lieu’ ]: only the im-possible takes place.’’23 Only the impossible happens, since it carries with it the risk, both chance and threat, of experience, opened by an event as an experience of the impossible. The impossible stages this trial of experience in and through an event—the impossible that happens—which alone can engender the chance and threat of the possible. If ‘‘only the im-possible takes place,’’ then the impossible must take place as the trial of any potential ‘‘taking-place.’’ The impossible not only does happen but must happen, which according to Derrida ‘‘means that it is necessary to do the impossible [veut dire qu’il faut faire l’impossible],’’ particularly since ‘‘the event, if there is one, consists in doing the impossible [l’e´ve´nement, s’il y en a, consiste a` faire l’impossible].’’24 Doing the impossible involves an arche-originary ‘‘yes’’ as affirmation and opening that lets an event come, that gives the impossible its chance of taking place—in, for example, forgiving the unforgivable, avowing the unavowable, or loving the unlovable. Accordingly, an event of love can happen only through an impossible love. But this is what love calls for: doing the impossible by loving impossibly. Only an impossible love, a love for the impossible (with its implicit, risky chance-threat), could arrive as an event that would make way for and habilitate any possible experience of love. This sort of potentially eventive love exposes, Derrida writes, the ‘‘possible-impossible as law of desire or of love.’’25 Antigone, who is ‘‘in love with the impossible,’’ performatively recognizes and affirms this exposition, for in loving, Antigone does the impossible—the impossible that must be done—and, by her doing so, her love becomes an event. If ‘‘only the im-possible takes place,’’ then only someone who, like Antigone, loves the impossible loves. By being ‘‘in love with the impossible,’’ moreover, Antigone realizes the impossible that, in and through its occurrence, makes love possible. Antigone thus engenders love by way of the impossible. 12

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Impossibly Passionate In so doing, Antigone exposes her elemental relation to religion, since by performatively saying ‘‘yes’’ to the impossible and to love, Antigone also says ‘‘yes’’ to religion. Religion would be, then, ‘‘a passion for the impossible,’’ which is how Caputo articulates religion (understood as love of God).26 Following Augustine, Caputo maintains that ‘‘the only measure of love is love without measure . . . a giving without holding back, an ‘unconditional’ commitment, which marks love with a certain excess’’—as it must, for ‘‘the mark of really loving someone or something is unconditionality and excess, engagement and commitment, fire and passion.’’27 Divinity calls for such an excessive, impossible love inasmuch as divinity designates an event: ‘‘God’’ becomes a name for the impossible that happens. This calls for an affirmative ‘‘yes’’ in response to an event’s arrival as an excessive occurrence that, Caputo writes, ‘‘exceeds our grasp and eludes our reach,’’ so that ‘‘we begin to lose our grip. . . . We are exposed, vulnerable, expectant, in motion, moving, being moved, by the impossible,’’ since ‘‘as an event, the name of God overtakes us and overturns us, uprooting and unhinging us, and leaves us hanging on by a prayer. The more undecidable it is, the more our passion is intensified.’’28 Taken to the limit, this passion becomes a passion for the impossible. Figured in this way, religion becomes a matter of passion and event, impelled by the impossible and its constitutive excess to the edges of experience. Religion, on Caputo’s account, designates a point ‘‘where the bottomless abyss that opens up in the name of God meets the bottomless abyss of our desire for God, where abyss meets up with abyss’’—or where edge meets edge, where limits touch.29 Religious experience takes place on the edge, at the limit, of possibility and impossibility through an exposure to an event that might arrive, unforeseeably and overwhelmingly. For Caputo, living that takes place ‘‘at the limit of the possible, on the verge of the impossible, constitutes a religious structure,’’ which grants human experience a religious dimension insofar as ‘‘human experience . . . comes alive as experience by and through the impossible’’ (a point that Derrida metonymically underscores: ‘‘possibility of the impossible, impossibility of the possible, experience in general, etc.’’).30 Hence the impossible opens and animates not only religion or religious experience but experience in general. But this experiential animation by the impossible requires the risk of passionate exposure to the chance-threat of an event and its excess. Therein lies tragedy (or at least a potential tragedy), bound together with religion and experience by passion and excess—by the impossible. The impossible, with its passionate excess (or excessive passion), drives Impossible Love

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tragedy as well as religion and experience, which is why Caputo maintains that ‘‘we do not find the religious without the tragic,’’ that ‘‘religion is coconstituted by the tragic sense,’’ making way for ‘‘a radical and inescapable fluctuation or ‘undecidability’ between . . . the tragic and the religious sense of life.’’31 This ‘‘fluctuation or ‘undecidability’ ’’ owes to the excessive element that drives tragedy and religion, organizing them not around sacrifice but around passion: a passion for the impossible. Identifying passion rather than sacrifice as the constitutive component of tragedy and religion emphasizes that tragedy and religion do not value death over life. Miguel de Unamuno succinctly articulates this point: ‘‘religion is not the longing for self-annihilation’’; it is ‘‘a longing for life and not for death,’’ since from embracing tragedy as ‘‘this intimately loving embrace will surge a wellspring of life.’’32 Tragedy and religion, in their undecidable fluctuation, name senses (or a sense) of life, ways of living that call for open-ended exposure to the impossible and its potential arrival in an unforeseeable event. Only as a passion for the impossible can a sense of life emerge, since the possible’s chance and threat lie with the impossible. Therefore a religious or tragic sense of life opens onto a vital affirmation: a ‘‘yes’’ to living, with all of its potential pleasures and pains, ecstasies and miseries, necessities and impossibilities. But to performatively say ‘‘yes’’ to living is to say ‘‘yes’’ to finitude, ‘‘yes’’ to limits and limitations and to experiences of these limits and limitations. Just as tragedy and religion do not long for sacrificial self-annihilation, so they cannot long for immortality and remain sense(s) of life, for to value immortality over mortality devalues the risky dimension of finite living emblazoned by its passionate desire for the impossible. This riskiness depends on finitude as what gives, Caputo writes, ‘‘the constraining limits under which things transpire, which defines what the Greeks would have called the ‘tragedy’ of the human situation, and which we are more inclined to describe by saying that life is risky business, an ‘event.’ ’’33 As event, this risk constitutive of living calls for affirmation, so that, in Derrida’s words, ‘‘tragedy would have this sense, a contingent one finally, that it is necessary to affirm, to learn to love, instead of dreaming (of ) the innumerable [au lieu de reˆver l’innombrable]. Yes, perhaps [Oui, peutˆetre].’’34 ‘‘Yes,’’ tragedy and religion entwine affirmation and love as vital experiences of and exposures to finite living, particularly at its limits. There, at the edge of the impossible, Derrida writes, ‘‘the experience of this limit is a jouissance greater than my jouissance, it exceeds [de´mesure] both myself and my sex, it is sublime, but without sublimation . . . this ecstasy that 14

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consists in thinking, in order to love it, the impossible.’’35 Thinking, loving, experiencing, doing the impossible—such eventive encounters recall Antigone, who is ‘‘in love with the impossible.’’ What might this mean? What might it mean to be in love with, to have an erotic passion for, the impossible? What might the impossible with which Antigone is in love be? In what figure might it appear, or what rupturing representative might it send? Impossible Death (1) The impossible might be death. Antigone might be in love with death or the dead.36 Such would befit her sexual position as bound to the oikos, the connotatively feminine sphere of home, family, and death, for as a woman, Antigone is prohibited from entering or acting within the polis, the exclusively male, public domain of politics. In Antigone’s context, death and the dead are feminine matters: death stands, on Derrida’s account, as the family’s ‘‘proper object’’ around which the oikos organizes itself, for the oikos ‘‘can busy itself as such only around death [ne peut se pose comme telle que dans la mort]’’—and, moreover, ‘‘one belongs to a family only in busying oneself around the dead [on n’appartient a` une famille qu’en s’affairant autour du mort]: toilette of the dead, institution of death, wake, monumentalization, archive, heritage, genealogy, classification of proper names, engraving on tombs, burying, shrouding, burial place, funeral song . . . the work of mourning.’’37 This oikonomia of death and the dead grants Antigone, as an ‘‘eternal sister,’’ a bond with the crypt—the crypt that she twice attempts in vain to grant to Polyneikes, the crypt in which she will be entombed alive. Crypt here exposes its affiliation with cryptic and encryption as well as, Derrida points out, with ‘‘the transcendental or the repressed, the unthought [l’impense´] or the excluded that organizes the ground to which it does not belong,’’ making crypt (which becomes Antigone’s home) a home of exception and supplementation and making Antigone a supplement, that is, ‘‘an element excluded from the system that assures the space of possibility of the system.’’38 Antigone is, as Derrida describes, ‘‘the system’s vomit [le vomi du syste`me].’’39 This owes to her love for the impossible. Moved by ero¯s, which is transgressive, destructive, and invincible, Antigone and her love for the impossible are marked by tragic excess, which leads (via ero¯s) to madness. Antigone appears mad to the polis: from this perspective, which Kreon exemplifies, Antigone’s speech and actions signify madness because they fit no rational calculations or determined roles. Kreon’s political rationality cannot tolerate such incalculability (a metonym for the impossible), Impossible Love

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which renders Antigone an undigestible other—‘‘the system’s vomit’’—in political terms. Kreon’s solution is to encrypt Antigone as a way of burying what, for the polis, represents the disruptive potentiality of the impossible or of ero¯s. This move ultimately backfires, however, as it ensures that such a self-quarantined polis will become petrified. Ero¯s refuses such containment, with its ability to cross borders, including those of mortal finitude that delineate the edge of human possibility. The chorus recognizes this transgressive quality in its song devoted to ate¯, whose semantic range includes blindness, madness, disaster, ruin, and destruction. None of these is lacking, the chorus sings, ‘‘when a house is tossed by the gods’’ (such as ero¯s’ ransacking), with the effects spreading ‘‘out over that family/like a surging wave of the salt sea,’’ as ate¯ ‘‘stalks mortals who are great,/Leaves no escape from disaster [ouden erpei/thnato¯n bioto¯i pampolis ektos atas].’’40 This disaster can, with divine force, drive humanity up to and potentially across its finite limits, leading Lacan to designate ate¯ as ‘‘the limit that human life can only briefly cross [ne saurait trop longtemps franchir].’’41 In experiential terms, ate¯ demarcates the border where the possible and the impossible touch at the edge of mortal finitude. Crossing ate¯ might take place in or as an event, but dwelling on the far side of ate¯ cannot. Yet this is precisely what Antigone desires to do. This, Lacan says, ‘‘is where Antigone wants to go’’: ‘‘beyond ate¯ [au-dela` de l’ate¯],’’ across ‘‘the boundary between life and death [cette limite de la vie et de la mort],’’ which is why he contends that ‘‘it is around this image of the limit that the whole play turns.’’42 Why? Because Antigone is ‘‘in love with the impossible,’’ and her love for the impossible aims across this limit of mortal finitude, to the other side of ate¯. Though this aim epitomizes Lacan’s assertions that ‘‘every drive is virtually a death drive,’’ keeping desire ‘‘in a fundamental relationship to death,’’ Antigone remains enigmatic, as an embodied aporia who recalls Derrida’s question: ‘‘what is it, then, to cross this ultimate border?’’43 Antigone’s love of the impossible would lead her toward a response to this tragic query, as Ismene’s declaration, ‘‘you’re in love with the impossible,’’ might be translated as ‘‘you have a passion for the impossible’’ (Caputo’s religious formulation) or as ‘‘you are in love with someone or something across ate¯.’’ This latter translation resonates with Antigone’s self-declaration that ‘‘my nature joins in love’’ and with her implicit attestation that ‘‘I am made for death’’ or ‘‘I am on the side of death.’’ Antigone makes this effective avowal from the start, according to Lacan, in the unspoken affirmation that ‘‘ ‘I am dead and I desire death [je suis morte et je veux la mort].’ ’’44 Here, Lacan offers a doubly impossible 16

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statement as a particularly intriguing articulation of what Antigone performatively acknowledges vis-a`-vis her sister’s statement (‘‘you’re in love with the impossible’’). Because the dead do not speak in the domain of the living, ‘‘I am dead’’ is (at least apparently) an impossible announcement. ‘‘I desire death’’ is also impossible if it follows ‘‘I am dead’’ insofar as desire can crave only what is lacking. Impossibly Dead Undeterred by its impossibility, Antigone nevertheless makes this doubly impossible avowal when she tells Ismene that ‘‘my soul has long since/ been dead.’’45 She thus reveals her enigmatic existence: ‘‘I am dead.’’ By her own admission, Antigone is already dead. She is dead while still alive, animating an embodiment of death within life; she is, in other words, living death. Her living death disrupts any dialectical attempt to keep life and death separate, particularly if such an attempt views death in negative terms, as an absence of life. Antigone incarnates death-in-life—an incarnation that is impossible and does the impossible, so that the impossible takes place in and as Antigone. Antigone achieves this impossible incarnation by twice crossing the mortal threshold of ate¯: from life to death and from death to life. In this way, she incarnates death-in-life and inhabits life-in-death. She vitally demonstrates that, as Derrida remarks, death or dying (like incest) ‘‘is neither entirely natural (biological) nor cultural,’’ instead remaining aporetic as ‘‘the unique occurrence of this possibility of impossibility,’’ for ‘‘death, as the possibility of the impossible as such, or even of the as such impossible, is a figure of the aporia in which ‘dead’ and death [‘mort’ et la mort] can replace . . . all that is possible, if there is such a thing [s’il y en a], only as the impossible’’—including love.46 Antigone’s death-bound love, her passion for the impossible, already manifests her final sentence of living entombment, which formally enacts what she has experienced all along: in Judith Butler’s words, ‘‘living within death, dying within life.’’47 Lacan amplifies this aporetic position by describing Antigone as ‘‘suspended, in the zone between life and death,’’ located ‘‘on the boundary between life and death, the boundary of the still living corpse [cadavre encore anime´],’’ as ‘‘a life that is about to turn into certain death, death lived by anticipation, death encroaching on the sphere of life, life encroaching on death [une vie qui va se confondre avec la mort certaine, mort ve´cue de fac¸on anticipe´e, mort empie´tant sur le domaine de la vie, vie empie´tant sur la mort].’’48 Antigone impossibly lives and dies this double encroaching out of love—a love that leads to her living entombment. Impossible Love

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This double encroaching, which crisscrosses living and dying in a chiasmus of ero¯s, makes her crypt a space of death (la mort) and of love (l’amour). Her crypt is where, in consummating one, she consummates the other. Antigone recognizes this when, just before being escorted across her cryptic threshold and buried alive, she sings her own epithalamium, addressed to her tomb: ‘‘Oh grave! Oh marriage chamber! Oh you caverned dwelling-/place, eternal prison where I go to join/my own.’’49 Through this conflation, her wedding canticle suggests that her grave is her marriage chamber, making it the place where she may consummate her impossible love. (This conflation of grave and marriage chamber, of death and love, also crosses finite singularity with reproduction, though this turns out to be a miscrossing, because for Antigone, this ‘‘eternal sister’’ whose name means ‘‘anti-generation,’’ reproduction is always already foreclosed as a possibility.) Antigone can marry only in death, and her impossible bridegroom can be only death or the dead, according to her particular necro-philia. If her marriage is to the former, if she takes death as her bridegroom, she highlights her unique bio-displacement as one who transgresses demarcations of life and death. Such a marriage would also underscore her identification of her tomb (oike¯sis) as her home (oikos)—her oike¯sis that becomes her oikos—recalling through this etymological kinship Antigone’s feminine bond(age) to the oikos.50 If her marriage is to the dead (whom she describes as ‘‘those who matter most’’), her bridegroom might be Haimon, her cousin and fiance´, whom a messenger describes as lying with Antigone in her tomb, ‘‘corpse embracing corpse,’’ as ‘‘they’d brought their marriage off at last in the house of Death’’; or her bridegroom might be Polyneikes, her beloved, dead brother.51 In any case, her marriage in death and in the space of death (which also serves as her cryptic home) underscores the significance of sexual difference. Antigone is ‘‘in love with the impossible’’ as a woman, just as it is as a woman that she is uniquely capable, as Derrida observes, ‘‘of overturning, paralyzing, or exceeding a system and a history, of interrupting the life of the concept, of cutting off its breath,’’ since sexual difference stands as the difference whose ‘‘borders . . . crisscross all the others.’’52 Antigone interrupts ‘‘the life of the concept’’ and the concept of life, as fixed by boundaries that divide it from and oppose it to death. She does this, moreover, from her impossible position at her mortal limits. Antigone stands neither on one side nor the other but between life and death—or between two deaths.53 She inhabits this threshold, destabilizing its demarcation from within, as both dead and alive yet neither dead nor alive. She is at once already dead, not yet dead, living but no longer living, 18

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living death, dead and alive, neither alive nor dead, between life and death, dead in the land of the living, living within the walls of death, death-in-life, life-in-death, ‘‘living within death, dying within life.’’ In short, Antigone ‘‘lives’’ an impossible life: a living death. From a different vantage point, however, Antigone survives death; she outlives her death.54 In either case, she vitally ruptures conceptions of life and death set against one another in binary opposition. Rather than opposing life and death in terms of plenitude and lack, or being and nonbeing, Antigone cohabits living and dying in an eventive way. Because Antigone survives her death, living on as dead, her living becomes an embodied event in which the impossible happens. It is an event within the domain of living, for Antigone does the impossible by living on, dead within the sphere of life. (Her living entombment, in which she lives in the space of the dead, represents the converse of this survival.) She thereby incarnates Derrida’s insistence that ‘‘life has no other, it has no other side,’’ that ‘‘there is no other side than this side, the side of life,’’ which means that ‘‘there is no side for nonlife.’’55 Life and death must therefore be on the same side: the side of life. (So, too, must finitude and infinitude.) Consequently, life and death are not opposed but co-implicated, like the possible and the impossible, which means that the two cannot disentangle themselves. Inextricably enmeshed, life and death become ‘‘life death,’’ or (even better) ‘‘living dying.’’ The co-implication of life and death also means that the living cannot disentangle themselves from the dead—a point that Antigone exemplarily understands, for she recognizes that, as Derrida attests, ‘‘ ‘living together [vivre ensemble]’ with the dead is not an accident, a miracle, or an extraordinary story. It is rather an essential possibility of existence.’’56 It is the only possibility, impossible though it might be, for tragic, excessive Antigone, who survives death, who affirms the dead, and whose impossible love is for death and the dead.

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Between Nature and Culture

(2) The impossible might be incest. Ismene’s remark to Antigone that ‘‘you’re in love with the impossible [all ame¯chano¯n erais]’’ might index an incestuous love, in which case being in love with the impossible might signify being in love with an impossible someone, someone with whom it is impossible for Antigone to be in love.1 According to the prohibition of incest that grounds kinship and culture, such a ‘‘someone’’ would include any immediate family member. Antigone’s genealogy and existence attest to this prohibition’s power: she is a child of Oedipus and Jokasta, who are son and mother to one another, which means that Antigone and her father share a mother. Oedipus and Jokasta’s union transgresses the incest taboo in place in ancient Greek culture, and for their transgression they pay dearly—with their lives: Jokasta kills herself when she realizes her transgression, and Oedipus spends his life wandering, blind and cursed and homeless, searching for a place to die and be buried.2 Yet the debt remains, which Antigone acknowledges when, in Antigone’s opening lines, she says to Ismene, ‘‘You and I are left alive to pay/The final penalty to Zeus for Oedipus’’—a penalty resulting from ‘‘the sexual intercourse and the incest/My father had with our mother./Ill-fated parents make a miserable child.’’3 If Antigone’s impossible love is incestuous, she compounds rather than discharges the penalty. This compounding results from the object of Antigone’s incestuous desire: her brother Polyneikes. Antigone, a product of incest, is incestuously in love with Polyneikes, also a product of incest, 20

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which triples or perhaps even raises to the third power the incestuous element and, with it, this love’s impossibility from the standpoint of kinship. Antigone testifies to this impossible, incestuous love when, on the threshold of her grave, she makes known that it is for ‘‘tending your/corpse, Polyneikes, that I’m reaping this reward’’—a ‘‘tending’’ she would perform and a ‘‘reward’’ she would accept only for Polyneikes, her irreplaceable brother whom she twice calls ‘‘dear heart, my brother.’’4 These words point to Polyneikes as the impossible ‘‘someone’’ with whom Antigone is in love. They also reaffirm her earlier pronouncement when she tells Ismene, ‘‘I shall bury him./To me it’s fine to die performing such a deed./ I’ll lie there, dear to him, with my dear friend’’—or, expressed more strongly, ‘‘lie with him, a dear sister with a dear brother [phile¯ met autou keisomai, philou meta].’’5 Though ‘‘dear’’ translates forms of philia, which underscores kinship relations, its repetition stands next to keisomai, a verb (the future form of keima) meaning ‘‘to lie’’ or ‘‘to lie with.’’ While this verb could refer to Antigone’s postmortem position, it bears a strongly sexual connotation, suggesting that Antigone’s love for her brother is selfconsciously incestuous. Incest becomes the impossible trajectory of Antigone’s transgressive desire. Her desire is transgressive because, as Luce Irigaray quips, ‘‘incest, here, is forbidden, do what you will, and is quite rigorously impossible, say what you like [inceste, la`, interdit quoi qu’on fasse, et, en toute rigueur, impossible, quoi qu’on (en) dise].’’6 For kinship and culture, incest remains the impossible, thereby serving as the condition of their possibility. In this way, incest supplements and thus engenders kinship and culture, just as death names that impossible event that makes life possible. In the impossible, death and incest intertwine. Their intertwining becomes apparent in response to Jacques Derrida’s question, ‘‘Where does Antigone’s desire lead [ou` conduit le de´sir d’Antigone]?’’7 It leads to the impossible, for it aims across ate¯, the limit that mortals can cross only briefly. It aims, in other words, beyond life. Such is the terrain of desire—which ‘‘is nothing other than the impossible, in which we recognize the topology of our desire,’’ according to Jacques Lacan, for whom desire names ‘‘an incommensurable measure, an infinite measure.’’8 This ‘‘infinite measure’’ recalls the excess constitutive of tragedy, thereby underscoring desire’s tragic dimension. To the extent that desire sets its sights on the impossible, it cannot but be tragic. Antigone’s desire, directed across ate¯, exemplifies desire’s tragic excess. Hers is, in Lacan’s words, ‘‘pure desire, the pure and simple desire of death as such. She incarnates that desire’’ and, by incarnating death within life, demonstrates that ‘‘the function of desire must remain in a Between Nature and Culture

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fundamental relationship to death.’’9 She incarnately demonstrates that desire always bears the potential of death, for any drive can potentially become a death drive, since every drive remains excessive and every desire desires too much. Antigone’s desire is therefore both death drive and death-driven. It identifies and enacts what Judith Butler (following Lacan) terms ‘‘this death-driven movement internal to desire’’ thanks to desire’s ‘‘internal conflict . . . that can meet its limit only in death.’’10 Necro-philia Antigone heightens the death-driven element of desire by driving her desire toward death or the dead as one possible name of the impossible with which she is in love. Death and incest again intertwine in the impossible via Antigone’s love for her dead brother Polyneikes, who is singular in his irreplaceability and therefore the only one for whom Antigone would perform a series of actions bent on death (which for her is a uniquely double death). Though she states her desire to ‘‘lie with’’ Polyneikes, she expresses this desire through philia, that mode of love proper to family members. Philia is the experience of love appropriate for a sister (especially for someone Derrida calls an ‘‘eternal sister’’) to bear for her brother; it is the experience of love bound up with kinship that carries with it the filial obligation that she bury her brother.11 This obligation and the philia that engenders it are one possible referent of Antigone’s declaration to her sister that Kreon ‘‘has no business to keep me from what is mine,’’ for ‘‘what is mine’’ might refer to philia and filial piety.12 ‘‘What is mine’’ might also refer to ‘‘dear’’ Polyneikes or, even more specifically, to Polyneikes’ dead body. The latter would literally be a necro-philia, a love of a dead body (necros), which again entwines death and incest in an experience of love (and reiterates that Antigone remains a drama of bodies, a tragedy that turns on corpses). This experience of love names philia rather than ero¯s, the passionate, excessive love that Antigone bears for the impossible. But this philia is itself excessive, with the excess inscribed in Antigone’s name, which combines anti, a preposition meaning both ‘‘in opposition to’’ and ‘‘in compensation of,’’ with gone¯, a derivative of genos (kin, lineage, descent), meaning at once offspring, generation, womb, seed, and birth. Based on what Stathis Gourgouris calls ‘‘this etymological polyphony (the battle for meaning at the nucleus of the name itself ),’’ Antigone nominally ‘‘embodies both an opposition of kinship to the polis . . . as well as an opposition to kinship, expressed by her attachment to a sibling by means of a 22

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disruptive desire, philia beyond kinship.’’13 Hence if Antigone is, as she admits, tied to philia by nature, then Antigone is excessive and transgressive by nature, for her ‘‘natural’’ philia exceeds itself and thereby breaches the limits of its domain—as does Antigone, who transgresses the confines of the oikos. Furthermore, Antigone’s transgressive nature reveals a transgression of nature: incest, in her impossible, death-driven desire for her brother. Antigone thus performs (albeit ironically) Claude Le´vi-Strauss’s claim that ‘‘the prohibition of incest is where nature transcends itself [la prohibition de l’inceste est le processus par lequel la nature se de´passe ellemeˆme].’’14 Antigone’s excessive nature, impelled by incestuous desire, ultimately transgresses philia and, with it, kinship. Her necro-philia for Polyneikes exceeds itself, giving way to ero¯s, for Antigone cannot keep the two apart. Her impossible, incestuous desire for Polyneikes—her consuming desire ‘‘to lie with’’ him that drives her speech and actions in Sophocles’ tragic drama—partakes of philia and ero¯s, making ‘‘what is mine’’ refer to a double experience of love whose material object is a corpse. Philia and ero¯s cross in her love for Polyneikes, with the one contaminating the other, so that it becomes impossible to separate or distinguish philia from ero¯s in this instance. Antigone’s philia thus becomes subject to the ravaging, invincible, divine power of ero¯s that the chorus describes.15 Moreover, Antigone herself is subject to this power since, as she admits, ‘‘my nature joins in philia’’—a philia polluted by ero¯s, with its excessive capacity (as the chorus sings) ‘‘to sweep across the bounds of what is right.’’16 This sweeping would violate the prohibition of incest as ‘‘what is right’’ according to kinship structures, locating Antigone as and at (in Butler’s description) ‘‘the limits of intelligibility exposed at the limits of kinship.’’17 In doing so, it would call into question Antigone’s sexually identifying role as a sister, especially as an ‘‘eternal sister.’’ This erotic sweeping would perhaps substitute for this role a different one: a lover of the impossible who shifts (or augments) from a necro-philiac to a triply incestuous necro-erotic in love with the impossible. Such would, by her own account, be Antigone’s nature. Natural Dialectic / Dialectical Nature Antigone, in and through her incestuous and loving nature, embodies a crossing of nature and culture. Most humanistic discourses separate or even oppose these two domains, following the example of G. W. F. Hegel (though he is not alone in this separation, as Antigone’s chorus makes Between Nature and Culture

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clear), for whom this opposition occupies the nucleus of ethical life (Sittlichkeit). Ethical life, according to Hegel, proceeds through the movement of Spirit as it advances dialectically through sublation toward self-reconciliation, which entails the reconciling of differences as identityin-difference. Spirit achieves what Hegel describes as its ‘‘self-supporting, absolute, real being,’’ in-itself and for-itself, in the community of citizens, which reconciles the nation (as abstract concept) and the family (as material particularity) and thus represents ‘‘the ethical essence that has an actual existence.’’18 Hegel positions Antigone at the heart of his account of ethical life, albeit cryptically (he names her only twice), prompting an identification of Kreon with the nation and of Antigone with the family. Read in this way, Antigone becomes a dialectical struggle between these two embodied manifestations who stand structurally opposed, with man/ light/polis/human law/civil relation/activity/life corresponding to Kreon (the nation) and woman / darkness / oikos / divine law / blood relation / passivity/death corresponding to Antigone (the family). Ultimately, the inexorable movement of Spirit sublates both as it follows its preordained course toward absolute being and the fulfillment of ethical life. Attic tragedy provides Hegel with an exemplary stage for this course, though tragedy is for Hegel only a step along the way that is finally overcome in a resolution that, as such, is comic. Accordingly, Kreon and Antigone, as tragic characterizations of dialectical structures, are destined for devastation and destruction. They, like tragedy itself, are means to an end, as Hegel claims that ‘‘only in the downfall of both sides alike is absolute right accomplished.’’19 Their destructive downfalls are ordained by nature and, more specifically, by sexual difference, since for Hegel ‘‘nature, not the accident of circumstances or choice, assigns one sex to one law, the other to the other law.’’20 Nature, then, serves as the vehicle for female subjection, which keeps women in the darkness of the oikos and forecloses any possibility that they might dialectically advance from their unconscious existences into the light of self-consciousness. Foreclosed, too, is any possibility of attaining knowledge, so that women cannot proceed beyond intuition. Hegel elaborates: ‘‘the feminine, in the form of the sister, has the highest intuitive awareness of what is ethical. She does not attain to consciousness of it, or to the objective existence of it, because the law of the Family is an implicit, inner essence which is not exposed to the daylight of consciousness, but remains an inner feeling and the divine element that is exempt from an existence in the real world.’’21 Because of her nature (as a woman), Antigone remains in the dark—and fluid, since for Hegel nature keeps ‘‘them [women] dissolved in the fluid of their own nature.’’22 24

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As a woman, Antigone cannot advance from nature to culture and into Hegel’s community of self-conscious Spirit, for as a woman, she cannot become a citizen. She remains bound to nature and to relations determined by blood, a natural, bodily fluid necessary for life. Blood reiterates her embodiment, which she cannot escape or sublate. She is confined by corporeality, which means that she is resolutely sexual, for human bodies can live only as sexed or sexuate. Her bondage to blood also confines her to familial (‘‘natural’’) relations of genealogy, making it impossible for her to elude her incestuous heritage and the toll it exacts. Antigone’s identification as ‘‘eternal sister’’ underscores blood’s vital roles by reiterating kinship relations and doing so in and through sexual difference: Antigone is who she is and does what she does as a sister and, therefore, as a woman. Here, sexual difference is natural difference, the two flowing through blood. Antigone’s embodied illustration of this relation leads Irigaray, ironically, to reverse the flow by inverting Hegel’s assertion that ‘‘nature . . . assigns one sex to one law, the other to the other law.’’ Instead, Irigaray contends, ‘‘nature has a sex, always and everywhere [la nature est sexue´e, toujours et partout].’’23 Thus nature is sexed and sexuate, flowing through sexual difference, which means not (as Hegel would have it) that sexual difference is a matter of nature but that nature is a matter of sexual difference. That nature moves through sexual difference also means that nature never exists in a ‘‘pure,’’ ‘‘virginal,’’ prediscursive state—a state necessary for the nature–culture distinctions operative in Hegel’s philosophy and in Le´vi-Strauss’s anthropology. The latter constructs itself around the twin supports of the nature–culture distinction and the incest prohibition. ‘‘Man,’’ Le´vi-Strauss writes, ‘‘is a biological being at the same time as a social individual,’’ with ‘‘universality as the criterion of nature, for what is constant in man necessarily escapes the scope of customs, techniques, and institutions,’’ while ‘‘everything subject to a norm is culture and is both relative and particular [tout ce qui est astreint a` une norme appartient a` la culture et pre´sent les attributs du relatif et du particulier].’’24 This distinction allows Le´vi-Strauss to answer his question ‘‘where does nature end and culture begin?’’ with the incest taboo, ‘‘that complex group of beliefs, customs, conditions, and institutions described succinctly as the prohibition of incest, which presents, without the slightest ambiguity, and inseparably reunites the two characteristics in which we recognize the conflicting features of two mutually exclusive orders. It constitutes a rule, but a rule that, alone among all the social rules, possesses at the same time a universal character.’’25 Between Nature and Culture

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The prohibition of incest stands as the singular and singularly universal rule that establishes culture as distinct from nature. It represents what Lucien Le´vy-Bruhl calls ‘‘this vexata quaestio’’ that is an impossibility, ‘‘a monstrum, a transgression spreading horror and fear.’’26 It remains a vexing question for Le´vi-Strauss as well, who remarks that the incest taboo ‘‘is in origin neither purely cultural nor purely natural, nor is it a composite mixture of elements from both nature and culture’’ but is instead ‘‘the fundamental step [la de´marche fondamentale] because of which, by which, but above all in which the transition [le passage] from nature to culture is accomplished.’’27 The prohibition of incest is therefore a function, a dynamic space in which a performative act takes place: the prohibition of incest exposes itself as a performative whose instantiation inaugurates culture. In this performative sense, the prohibition of incest makes culture by making culture possible. The Far Side of the Symbolic Both Antigone and the prohibition of incest are, in Derrida’s words, ‘‘the system’s vomit,’’ expelled by and from symbolic orders as what ‘‘escapes these concepts and precedes them—probably as the condition of their possibility,’’ so that Occidental traditions based on the nature–culture dyad are ‘‘made to leave in the unthought [l’impense´] the very thing that renders this conceptualization possible, namely, the origin of the prohibition of incest.’’28 This includes all modes of signification, beginning with culture itself and including within its bounds kinship and language. Symbolic systems cannot but vomit up the incest taboo and Antigone, the incarnation of its transgression, since these two have necessarily emetic effects. The incest prohibition cannot be conceived within the nature– culture oppositional dyad, which relegates it and Antigone to the unthinkable, barred from symbolic registers and rendered unintelligible.29 Antigone remains naturally and culturally unintelligible. Like the incest taboo that she incarnates, she belongs neither to nature nor to culture but remains outside of and prior to them, as their condition of possibility. Antigone is the eventive impossibility that makes way for possibility. She cannot reside on either side of the nature–culture binary since she occasions this binary and its symbolic orders—and does so, moreover, through sexual difference as a sister and thanks to her ero¯s-infused ‘‘philia beyond kinship.’’ This ‘‘philia beyond kinship’’ names the erotically contaminated, taboo love that she bears for her dead brother Polyneikes. Antigone’s love for the impossible is what bars her from intelligibility and symbolization, in the terms of life and kinship, just as this impossible love 26

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drives her to dwell across ate¯. There she marks what Butler delineates as ‘‘the far side of a symbolic limit beyond which humans may not cross. Antigone appears at this limit or, indeed, as this limit’’ by figuring ‘‘the limits of intelligibility exposed at the limits of kinship,’’ since she is ‘‘the one for whom symbolic positions have become incoherent.’’30 Among such symbolic positions are familial and sexual ones. Given her incestuous genealogy and her incestuous desire, Antigone confounds any possible coherence of kinship positions such as mother, father, brother, sister (in spite of herself ). Antigone’s Differance She resists signification—which includes kinship insofar as, Butler claims, ‘‘kinship is a function of language’’—as ‘‘the unconscious of the law’’ that does not appear except, impossibly, ‘‘by way of an active trace.’’31 She traces the unthinkable and unsymbolizable incest prohibition; she is herself an embodied trace of this taboo that, for nature and culture, represents the impossible. As a trace, Antigone becomes a living metonym of the impossible and of supplement, diffe´rance, arche-writing, hymen, invagination, pharmakon, kho¯ra, and event (among other nicknames). Each of these names a tekhne¯ exposed at the heart of symbolic systems that decenters and disrupts these systems from within, turning them inside out through what Derrida describes as an ‘‘eruption of the outside within the inside,’’ so that ‘‘the outside is the inside [le dehors est le dedans].’’32 Politically, this eruption reveals the oikos within the polis. Sexually, it reveals the feminine within the masculine. Symbolically, it exposes Antigone, as a living-dead trace of the incest prohibition within the nature–culture oppositional system. She erupts with the unforeseeable surprise of an event, in which the impossible takes place, for Antigone is eventive: irruptive, interruptive, disruptive. She incarnates a tekhne¯ of interruption that, as diffe´rance, marks movements of difference and deferral that resist and finally prevent totalization— which is to say, systematization and symbolization. But she does so without being present. Through her eventive eruption, the outside irrupts on the inside, thanks to which ‘‘the outside is the inside,’’ with ‘‘is’’ crossed out since the outside (in this case, Antigone) remains symbolically unintelligible. She ‘‘is’’ not—she ‘‘is’’ only crossed out—which indicates that she remains barred from and outside of the metaphysics of presence on which nature–culture depends. Impelled across ate¯ by her love of the impossible, Antigone precedes and exceeds this metaphysics in which she can never ‘‘be’’ (except, perhaps, as ‘‘the Between Nature and Culture

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system’s vomit’’). She unwittingly acknowledges this dislodging in her lament that ‘‘I have no home among mortals’’: she has no place in an Occidental metaphysics of nature–culture, no home in natural or cultural domains.33 As a trace, she is, in Derrida’s words, ‘‘not more natural . . . than cultural, not more physical than psychic, biological than spiritual.’’34 She is metaphysically homeless. She remains homeless in the realms of nature and culture because she threatens them. She incarnates a tekhne¯ of the impossible that, for them, is a potentially lethal eruption from within. Antigone is dangerous, as she carries the threat of death, so granting Antigone a metaphysical home proves too dangerous for nature and culture. As Derrida explains, ‘‘The supplement is dangerous in that it threatens us with death’’: displaced from nature and culture as an impossible presence, it ‘‘marks the dead time within the presence of the living present, within the general form of all presence,’’ since the trace is ‘‘simultaneously traced and erased [trace´e et efface´e], simultaneously living and dead.’’35 Antigone singularly incarnates death within life, enacting this trace as death-in-life or as living death— the death-in-life or living death that Antigone impossibly yet vitally embodies. She animates this living-dead trace through her bonds to the oikos, the home of the family as well as of oikonomia, or economy. Antigone follows this relation of oikos and oikonomia by acting out an economy of philia, though her philia goes beyond kinship by going beyond its organizing prohibition of incest. In this step, her philia and ero¯s cross there where death and life cross: in the tomb (oike¯sis), which ultimately becomes her home (oikos) as she lives in the space of the dead. This crossing of oikos and oike¯sis, of philia and ero¯s, of life and death, marks the site of diffe´rance. More specifically, this crossing takes place in the a of diffe´rance, which remains a strictly graphic difference. As Derrida writes, ‘‘The a of diffe´rance, thus, is not heard; it remains silent, secret, and discreet as a tomb: oike¯sis. And let us thereby mark by anticipation the place, familial residence and tomb of the proper in which is produced, by diffe´rance, the economy of death [ou` se produit en diffe´rance l’e´conomie de la mort].’’36 An economy of death emerges out of the oikonomia of diffe´rance, positioned in the oike¯sis that becomes Antigone’s oikos, the home in which she dwells between life and death. This impossible oikonomia of diffe´rance is an economy of death in which Antigone lives. Like the trace and like Antigone, diffe´rance ‘‘is’’ both living and dead: living in the space of death, dead in the sphere of life. Its oikonomia must therefore be one in which oike¯sis becomes oikos (as it does for Antigone). This impossible crossing of life and death takes place in the a of diffe´rance—the a that remains unspeakable, encrypted— 28

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which marks a tomb, out of which an economy of living death emerges. This tomb designates and becomes Antigone’s home, her oikos-oike¯sis, in which she lives death, indicating that Antigone takes up residence (however impossibly) in diffe´rance. A trace of Antigone remains inscribed in the differential a of diffe´rance, so that the a of diffe´rance traces the a of Antigone. In this way, diffe´rance each time retraces Antigone—though silently, without naming her and disclosing this secret. Such an economy of death and diffe´rance, however, designates an impossible economy or, rather, an economy of the impossible, which for Antigone translates into an economy of love. Antigone loves impossibly and transgressively across the limits of incest and death, bearing as she does an incestuous necrophilia-ero¯s for her dead brother, both of them children of incest. Supplemental Spacing This impossible economy of death and diffe´rance—an oikonomia of the impossible—generates disruption, as Antigone’s oikos-oike¯sis designates a space of otherness. This space is indispensable, Derrida maintains, for ‘‘it is necessary that between the other elements, interval, distance, spacing is produced actively, dynamically [il faut bien qu’entre les ´ele´ments autres se produise, activement, dynamiquement . . . intervalle, distance, espacement].’’37 Antigone, as an ‘‘active trace’’ of diffe´rance dwelling between life and death, embodies this interval and engenders this spacing. This spacing occurs in the dynamic threshold that the incest prohibition names, the passage through which performatively constitutes Le´viStrauss’s ‘‘fundamental step’’ inaugurating nature and culture in the transition from the former to the latter. Through this passage, Derrida writes, ‘‘society, language, history, articulation, in a word supplementarity, are born at the same time as the prohibition of incest. That last is the hinge [la brisure] between nature and culture.’’38 This passage therefore designates space and spacing; in Le´vi-Strauss’s terms, this passage designates the space in which ‘‘the fundamental step’’ from nature to culture occurs as well as the active, transitional process of the stepping itself. The incest prohibition names this space, and its performative instantiation names this spacing. Brisure becomes another name for this prohibition-passage, which adds to this passage’s dynamic insofar as brisure can indicate a crack or a break as well as a hinge or a joint. In this way, brisure describes supplementarity’s double movement of fracturing and linking, for, in Derrida’s words, the supplement ‘‘adds only to replace [ne s’ajoute que pour remplacer]. It Between Nature and Culture

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intervenes or insinuates itself in-the-place-of [a`-la-place-de]’’; it is ‘‘a subaltern instance that takes-(the)-place [tient-lieu]’’ in a space indicated ‘‘by the mark of a void.’’39 This void recalls the unintelligible abyss for nature and culture that incest’s prohibition-passage and Antigone represent. In this void, Antigone as supplement dwells; from this void, this nonplace where the outside is inside, Antigone supplements, intervenes, dynamically disrupts the nature–culture metaphysic and ‘‘the fundamental step’’ from nature to culture. Antigone incites diffe´rance from within: from within the brisure between nature and culture. This between is crucial, granting homeless Antigone (‘‘I have no home among mortals’’) a dwelling neither in nature nor in culture but in between the two—that is, in the same passage where the prohibition of incest resides, the passage through which the step from nature to culture moves. There, between, Antigone supplements the incest taboo, insinuating herself in its place as a cryptic, subaltern, buried-alive embodiment of the taboo’s violation. She thereby forestalls the passage via this brisure from nature to culture, on which symbolic systems (including language and kinship) depend, by spacing and displacing the nature–culture binary from within this between. By positioning herself between nature and culture, she effects a vital deconstruction of their metaphysical and symbolic structures and all that these entail, including what Derrida describes as ‘‘the plenitude of a present and an absolute presence,’’ thanks to her ‘‘dissimulation of the natural, primary, and immediate presence . . . within the logos.’’40 Antigone, as an incestuous brisure, forestalls the dialectical passage from nature to culture by unsettling from within (from between) the nature–culture distinction. She who lives and loves impossibly fatally disrupts the nature–culture oppositional artifice. Her effective toppling of this binary on which Occidental traditions depend offers one explanation for why she is not more natural than cultural: because she renders ‘‘natural’’ and ‘‘cultural’’ untenable descriptors that lack clear referents. In this way, Antigone tries the nature–culture structure and distinction. She puts this binary construction on trial and, thanks to her disruptive trial run of a love for the impossible, destabilizes nature and culture from her encrypted position between the two. In Derrida’s words, her deathly disruption ‘‘would put on trial [serait mettre a` l’e´preuve] the insufficiency of this old couple of concepts that condition in the Occident nearly every metaphysic, every interpretation of the social bond, every political philosophy or every sociology of the being-together: the old couple physis/ nomos, physis/thesis, nature/convention, biological life/right.’’41 Antigone’s trial, taking place via the a of diffe´rance in which she lives, unearths that, Derrida writes, ‘‘the absolute present, Nature, that which 30

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words like ‘real mother’ name, have always already escaped [de´robe´s], have never existed.’’42 Antigone’s sexualized, denaturalizing trial of nature– culture exposes, by way of threatening Kreon with emasculation, that nature–culture, physis/nomos, physis/thesis ‘‘have never existed.’’43 In fabular terms, she exposes not only that the nature–culture emperor has never had any clothes but that this emperor has never existed. Living Tekhne¯ Antigone effects this trial and exposes this consequence thanks to the dangerous, maddening supplement that she embodies. She incarnates the tekhne¯ that the supplement names, which spaces and displaces, which ‘‘marks the dead time within the presence of the living present,’’ which is ‘‘simultaneously traced and erased, simultaneously living and dead.’’ These supplementary effects take place in the between space of a tekhne¯, acting as a prosthesis that manifests in structural and biological terms the deconstructive potential of these effects, since a prosthesis adds ‘‘dead time’’ to the nucleus of living. A prosthesis, another name for a supplement, adds to replace and displace, for prosthesis is, as David Wills notes, ‘‘about nothing if not placement, displacement, replacement, standing, dislodging, substituting, setting, amputating, supplementing.’’44 A prosthesis poses a threat, even a deadly threat (recalling that ‘‘the supplement is dangerous in that it threatens us with death’’), for, as Wills writes, ‘‘what is at stake in prosthesis . . . is the discovery of an artificiality there where the natural founds its priority,’’ with the result that ‘‘prosthetic possibility determines the shape of the human, the artificial determines the form of the natural,’’ occurring ‘‘on the border between the living and the lifeless . . . unveiling the unnatural within the natural’’ and the dead within the living.45 A prosthesis operates as a tekhne¯ of intervention: it performs an intervention within (and between) nature and culture, life and death, as an eventive intervention of the impossible.46 Antigone’s very existence and her love for Polyneikes each intervene in these domains, exceeding and rupturing their limits through acts of entanglement and erasure. Antigone intervenes in the sphere of life, in the corporeal and corporate processes of living, engaging living, according to Derrida, ‘‘in the space and in the time of a technobiological prosthesis’’—a prosthesis that ‘‘is death in life, as condition of life.’’47 Antigone embodies this prosthesis insofar as her living constitutes a prosthesis, a disruptive superaddition, to the possibilities of living: she survives her death in a living beyond life and death as opposed existential states. She outlives life and death. In doing so, she corporeally Between Nature and Culture

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installs death at the heart of life; she ‘‘is’’ (or is) ‘‘death in life, as condition of life,’’ engendering life through her living death. Even as an ‘‘eternal sister’’ nominally foreclosed from motherhood, her impossible survival (survivre) generates the condition of any living through a maternity outside of or beyond motherhood. Hence Antigone gives birth not to a living child but to any possibility of living. Such possibility crosses nature and culture as a technobiological prosthesis that supplements living in multiple registers. Antigone practically incarnates a tekhne¯ of bios, with bios designating a way of living—a culture—entangled with the possibility of natural life, or zo¯¯e.48 Zo¯¯e and bios can no longer stand in opposition thanks to an interruptive tekhne¯ of a technobiological prosthesis, casting this movement of supplementarity in terms of life and death and all that these entail. This movement, via death and sexual difference and in the person of Antigone, effects the correlative displacement of oikos and polis.49 Because, as brisure or as technobiological prosthesis (among other names), Antigone ruptures nature and culture and the distinction opposing the two, she effectively dismantles any construction built on the foundation of a nature–culture binary. This includes kinship, a symbolic structure whose existence depends on the passage, or ‘‘the fundamental step,’’ from nature to culture—a passage that Antigone, as an embodied violation of the incest taboo, fatally impedes. Antigone incarnates a technobiological prosthesis whose supplementarity threatens kinship with death. Butler carries this threat one step further, maintaining that Antigone ‘‘represents, as it were, kinship’s fatal aberration.’’50 Antigone’s impossible and incestuous living death, coupled with her love for the impossible, puts kinship to death. Antigone pronounces kinship’s death sentence or eulogy as she enters her tomb, to which she says, ‘‘Oh grave! Oh marriage chamber! Oh you caverned dwelling-/place, eternal prison where I go to join/my own.’’51 In Antigone’s final speech, particularly in saying ‘‘to join my own,’’ Butler asserts, ‘‘death is figured as a kind of marriage to those in her family who are already dead, affirming the deathlike quality of those loves for which there is no viable and livable place in culture’’ (or, for that matter, in nature).52 Again, death and incest entwine in Antigone and, more specifically, in her ultimately unlivable love for the impossible, whether that impossible be death (or the dead) or incest. But this entwining does not mark the fatal moment for kinship. That moment begins before Antigone’s birth with her parents’ incestuous transgression, thanks to which, in Butler’s words, ‘‘Antigone has already departed from kinship.’’53 She is born on the far side of the symbolic and increases her unintelligibility 32

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through her incestuous love for the dead, pushing the brother–sister relation beyond its breaking point. This fracture in turn ruptures her one chance for a kinship position: as a sister, even an ‘‘eternal sister.’’ Antigone is finally not even an ‘‘eternal sister’’; she is instead a supplementary sister, or the supplement of sisterhood that ensconces diffe´rance within familial relations and thus deals the fatal blow to kinship. With this fatal blow, Antigone carries the relations of kinship and death to their limits. Particularly in a dialectical structure such as Hegel’s, family’s identity comes via death and the dead, which Antigone demonstrates by twice burying her dead brother to uphold her familial duties of philia—though her philia, contaminated by ero¯s, ultimately stands beyond kinship. By loving incestuously with her necro-philic ero¯s for the impossible, Antigone renders kinship untenable. With Antigone’s love for the impossible, whether death or incest or both, (in Derrida’s words) ‘‘thus does the family collapse, cave in, ‘engulf itself,’ ‘gulp itself down.’ The family devours itself [ainsi s’effondre, ‘s’engloutit,’ ‘s’engouffre’ la famille. Elle se de´vore elle-meˆme].’’54 Living Together In and through Antigone—in and through her sexual difference—kinship consumes itself in a bloody scene of self-cannibalization. Blood here recalls the oikos, the feminine domain of blood relations through which bonds of blood outlive bodies in which blood vitally circulates, which allows kinship to survive individual deaths (as instances of bloodshed) through its participation in the oikonomia of the dead. Along these lines, Butler writes, ‘‘the feminine, as it were, becomes this remainder, and ‘blood’ becomes the graphic figure for this echoing trace of kinship.’’55 But kinship does not and cannot survive Antigone, its loving yet ‘‘fatal aberration.’’ Antigone’s love for the impossible, with its relations to death and incest, affects not only kinship but any relational possibility for humanity— any possibility of what Derrida calls ‘‘living together [vivre ensemble].’’56 With this, he names the social sphere and relationality in terms of living rather than in terms of being, thereby highlighting the vital importance of corporeality. (This emphasis on living also emphasizes the importance of Antigone’s role as a technobiological prosthesis, who supplements living.) Moreover, all living takes place within a network of relations, a realization that leads Derrida to avow that ‘‘to live is always ‘to live together’ [vivre, c’est toujours ‘vivre ensemble’],’’ with others (including the dead).57 Between Nature and Culture

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How? By doing the impossible. ‘‘Living together [vivre ensemble]’’ depends on an avowal, but, Derrida insists, ‘‘avowal, if there is such [s’il y en a], must avow the unavowable,’’ so that if avowal stands as ‘‘the condition of ‘living together [vivre ensemble],’ it would command doing the impossible [elle commanderait de faire l’impossible]’’ (which Antigone does exemplarily vis-a`-vis love).58 Doing the impossible becomes necessary for any chance of ‘‘living together [vivre ensemble],’’ which is itself a necessary condition of any living. As Derrida explains, ‘‘ ‘it is necessary to avow, thus to avow the unavowable,’ and this avowal of the unavowable remains perhaps [peut-eˆtre] impossible but of an impossibility that it is also necessary to make manifest—even and precisely if this appears impossible. Otherwise said . . . it is necessary to do the impossible, and the impossible would be perhaps the sole measure of every ‘it is necessary’ [il faut faire l’impossible, et l’impossible serait peut-eˆtre la seule mesure de tout ‘il faut’].’’59 But conditioning the possibility of ‘‘living together [vivre ensemble]’’ on doing the impossible installs a rupture at the heart of any potential community, familial or otherwise. This rupture, which Antigone incarnates and inhabits, stems from the excess inherent in the impossible, which must traverse limits to appear in and as an event. Therefore, Derrida avows, ‘‘ ‘living together [vivre ensemble]’ thus supposes an interruptive excess,’’ and ‘‘this excess in regard to the laws of nature as well as the laws of culture is always an excess in regard to the ensemble’’ and hence to any ‘‘living together [vivre ensemble]’’—which is also to say, to any living, for ‘‘one will think the ‘living together [vivre ensemble],’ and the ‘living [vivre]’ of the ‘living together [vivre ensemble]’ . . . only in moving beyond all that which is founded on this nature/culture opposition. That is to say, beyond everything, nearly everything [au-dela` de tout, a` peu pre`s tout].’’60 In other words, one may think ‘‘living [vivre]’’ and ‘‘living together [vivre ensemble]’’ only in the wake of Antigone: only from where she positions herself between nature and culture, a position from which she spaces and displaces nature and culture as metaphysical oppositions by inserting herself as a technobiological prosthesis that is, for her, inextricably linked to a tekhne¯ of loving. Antigone’s necrophilic and incestuous love of the impossible, which exceeds kinship, nature, culture, and living, mobilizes the spacing that she prosthetically effects in all of these domains, lodging the incest taboo and her violations of it between nature and culture and lodging death and ‘‘dead time’’ at the heart of living and, therefore, of ‘‘living together [vivre ensemble].’’ In so doing, Antigone disrupts what Derrida describes as ‘‘the naturalness of the ensemble’’—of any ensemble, whether nature and culture, life and death, or other groupings (which 34

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need not be pairs but could include any multiplicity).61 Through her excessive, death-driven love of the impossible, Antigone calls into question any possibility of living and of ‘‘living together [vivre ensemble],’’ so that as a prosthesis—a technosociobiological prosthesis—Antigone supplements life and the living with (among other things) a surviving tekhne¯ of questioning that, as such, calls for a response.

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Antigone is a foreigner, even at home. She is from the start, in Jacques Derrida’s words, ‘‘the system’s vomit,’’ finding no place in nature or culture since she occupies the space between them of the incest prohibition, which she transgresses.1 As a woman, she remains a sexual outsider, barred from the exclusively male polis, though she violates this proscription and, as a result, is entombed alive, so that her tomb (oike¯sis) becomes her home (oikos). But her displacement from and foreignness to her oikos are more radical: as a lethal supplement of kinship, one that kinship cannot contain or digest, Antigone is, before her burial, already foreign to her familial oikos despite her devotion to its members, its gods, its duties, its demands. In performing her responsibilities of filial piety, she exceeds the familial domain insofar as, according to Derrida, ‘‘with the brother/sister relation the family is exceeded by itself.’’2 More specifically, the family is exceeded by Antigone and her love of the impossible, manifested in her ero¯s-contaminated philia for her dead brother Polyneikes. In and through her love, kinship consumes itself. This devouring leaves Antigone singularly homeless, as a supplementary foreigner to nature, culture, and kinship.3 For each, she is an aporia, a ‘‘non-way,’’ which indicates, as Derrida says, that ‘‘it’s a blocked way, there is no way’’ and, moreover, that ‘‘you cannot find your way.’’4 As a familial aporia, Antigone exposes a displacing link between family and humanity, which Derrida articulates:

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There is always no purely human family [il n’y a toujours pas de famille purement humaine]. The value of family continues to lift itself [s’enlever] on a horizon or on a theological ground. What was verified in the space of Christian infinitism is confirmed here on a Greek model. The theological ahuman [anhumain] is also indeed on the side of the natural ahuman. The human limit is thus undiscoverable, always disappearing. Inasmuch as it remains still too natural, the family raises again [rele`ve] the divine law. If the Greek model places the divine on the side of the subterranean burial (place), the Judeo-Christian paradigm, celestial and sublime, opposes itself to the Greek model only to the measure that the paradigm effectively produces religion: the rotting of the Christic corpse will have made things drag on [le pourrissement du cadavre christique aura fait traıˆner les choses].5 In this provocative reflection, Derrida entwines Greek and Christian, divine and human, by way of family and thus of crypt (since the family busies itself around death). But he reverses chronology, suggesting that the Greek confirms what the Christian verifies in terms of family’s inherently ahuman element. Thanks to this confirmation, ‘‘the theological ahuman’’ and ‘‘the natural ahuman,’’ the divine and the natural, are (like life and death) on the same side. This side-sharing would position Jesus and Antigone in the oikos-oike¯sis, the subterranean space of living entombment, as ahuman rather than human. This ahumanity points to an embodied familial supplement as an originary corruption of family’s human purity (or pure humanity). Standing on the same side does not entail a collapse of differences. It does, however, frustrate any definitive locating of humanity and its delineation by way of family. Human Being-in-Question Antigone is a foreigner to humanity as well. The ‘‘Greek model’’ that Antigone supplementarily makes way for includes and depends on an account of humanity in which demarcations of nature and culture, inhuman and human, dead and living, remain clear and intact—hence Antigone’s foreignness. This account of humanity, to which Antigone remains impossible, is a humanism: a theory of human independence and self-sufficiency that frees humanity from reliance on divinity and positions it atop a hierarchical ordering of reality. Humanity makes such a domineering self-assertion based on an appeal to some intrinsic ‘‘human nature’’ and

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shared ‘‘human condition’’ that distinguish humanity from divinity (which it no longer needs) and from animality (which it conquers). This self-assertion manifests what Tony Davies calls ‘‘the myth of essential and universal Man: essential, because humanity—human-ness—is the inseparable and central essence, the defining quality, of human beings; universal, because that essential humanity is shared by all human beings, of whatever time or place’’ (though who is included in ‘‘all human beings’’ changes contextually).6 This myth becomes the basis for ‘‘the human,’’ a thematizing description that contains an ineradicable humanism at its core. Tzvetan Todorov elucidates this myth in terms of three characteristics at once anthropological and moral: ‘‘the autonomy of the I, the finality of the you, and the universality of the they.’’7 Rene´ Descartes adds a selfcreative element to humanistic autonomy with his cogito ergo sum—an element that Jean-Paul Sartre recalls in insisting that, though existence precedes essence, ‘‘man is nothing else but what he makes of himself.’’8 Dominique Janicaud modifies this myth with reference to Friedrich ¨ bermensch, whose superhuman call elicits humanity’s selfNietzsche’s U overcoming. The human, according to Janicaud, ‘‘must transfigure his being,’’ for ‘‘man is himself an overcoming’’; man names ‘‘precisely the being who continually exceeds the frontiers of his field of action’’; ‘‘humanity is the unfathomable overcoming of its limits.’’9 Though Janicaud rehearses Martin Heidegger’s critique of Sartre’s humanism and makes room for a potential ‘‘beyond,’’ both of which appear to make his revised myth less self-congratulatorily anthropocentric, he clings to human selfdetermination by maintaining a cautious humanism—as he writes, ‘‘a preventive humanism is essential’’—that forestalls any complete opening to this potential ‘‘beyond,’’ since it protects and keeps sacred a kernel of ‘‘the human’’ from the threat of the inhuman, which Janicaud wields more as a traumatic threat than as a viable or rigorously defined concept.10 Thus Janicaud finally reifies humanism’s enduring necessity. But humanism’s historical roots reach much deeper than the Renaissance and its myth of Man. Though Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer did not coin the word ‘‘humanism [humanismus]’’ until the early nineteenth century, the ideas that this term has come to name were already succinctly articulated in the ancient West. Heidegger contends that ‘‘we encounter the first humanism in Rome: it therefore remains in essence a specifically Roman phenomenon,’’ as ‘‘the age of the Roman Republic’’ is when ‘‘humanitas, explicitly so called, was first considered and striven for.’’11 The first humanism was, however, Greek, not Roman, with humanism receiving its earliest articulations in fifth-century bce Athens. Protagoras is one of its articulators, insofar as Socrates quotes Protagoras’ 38

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saying that ‘‘man is the measure of all things,’’ which boldly puts humanity at center stage.12 So, too, is Sophocles. Antigone’s first choral stasimon is its Ode to Man, a humanistic litany first performed in 442 bce and, therefore, an inaugural text for humanism, coming at humanism’s inaugural Occidental moment. The Ode to Man lauds humanity from its opening lines: ‘‘Awesome wonders are many,/but none of them more awesome/than the human race [polla ta deina kouden an-/thro¯pou deinoteron pelei].’’13 The chorus here praises humanity’s unique and sublime potential for wonder and terror, bound together, which grants humanity existential primacy in the natural order. Humanity harnesses its ability for wonder-terror in, the chorus sings, ‘‘pressing through surging waves that crest about him’’ in the sea and ‘‘turning her [earth] with the offspring of horses,/as the plow runs to and fro from year to year.’’14 Water and land are no match for humanity’s conquistadorial self-imposition—nor are animals, as the chorus makes clear: The tribe of light-headed birds, all kinds of savage beasts, and creatures born in the salty sea, he traps with his intricate coiling nets and leads away—ingenious man! With devices he overpowers the mountain-roaming beast that dwells in the wilderness, he breaks the shaggy-necked horse with a yoke on its neck, and the tireless mountain bull.15 Humanity owes this prowess to its development of tekhne¯, which the chorus describes in terms of ‘‘skillful contrivance/clever beyond hope [sophon ti to me¯chanoen/technas uper elpid].’’16 Tekhne¯ underlies the creation of ‘‘devices’’ that humanity uses to overpower ‘‘beasts,’’ who remain within the sphere of nature and without access to the ‘‘human’’ sphere of culture (though, as the previous chapter recounts, this hierarchical, Hegelian arrangement of spheres does not withstand Antigone’s disruptive potency). Tekhne¯ also serves as the means by which humanity masters divinity, for the Ode to Man ensnares divinity and nature as the chorus sings, ‘‘the highest of gods he wears away,/the tireless immortal Earth [Gaia],/turning her with the offspring of horses,/as the plow runs to and fro from year to year.’’17 Earth (Gaia) here names the planet and the primordial goddess (‘‘the highest of gods’’) in the ancient Greek religious pantheon, whom Surviving, Forever Foreign

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only Chaos precedes. Hesiod describes ‘‘broad-breasted Earth’’ as ‘‘the ever immovable seat of all the immortals who possess snowy Olympus’ peak,’’ so that she engenders all subsequent divinity as well as humanity.18 Through the tekhne¯ of agriculture, having already subjugated horses and bulls with its yoke, humanity overpowers the physical world and the matrix of divinity—materiality and maternity. Such doubly effective agriculture thus becomes the means that enables humanism’s emergence. Sophoclean Sexism Agriculture also exposes humanism’s sexualization insofar as humanity’s conquering of nature and divinity comes via its vanquishing of femininity. By overcoming Earth, humanity overcomes the feminine source and substance of divinity and materiality, so that both effectively fall under the yoke that humanity places on animals. This yoke becomes a metaphoric means of eliding differences and reducing alterity—material, animal, sexual, or divine—to nonhuman, and therefore subhuman, status. Here, nonhuman means nonmale, which the chorus (of men) substantiates in its ode’s apex of praise for ‘‘ingenious man! [periphrade¯s ane¯r],’’ for ‘‘he is Man, and he is cunning [periphrade¯s ane¯r].’’19 (Centuries later, Shakespeare’s Hamlet virtually repeats this pronouncement in extended form as he says, ‘‘What piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god: the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!’’)20 While the ode’s opening lines refer to the sexually nonspecific anthro¯pos, by the ode’s midpoint it lauds the explicitly masculine ane¯r. In this and subsequent lines, ‘‘Man’’ is sexed: ‘‘he has invented ways to take control,’’ ‘‘he has taught himself,’’ ‘‘he has the means to handle every need.’’21 He, in short, is—has made himself— autonomous. Kreon epitomizes this autonomy in his edict forbidding Polyneikes’ burial, which silently substitutes one legal order for another: Kreon’s for Hades’. Kreon justifies this exchange by judging how ridiculous and ‘‘unendurable’’ it would be ‘‘to think/divinities might be concerned about this corpse!’’22 Though Kreon frequently invokes Zeus, suggesting Zeus’ implicit endorsement of his actions, Antigone views his edict as impious since it lacks any explicit divine support. As she says while on trial before Kreon, ‘‘It was not Zeus who made this proclamation;/nor was it Justice [Dike¯] dwelling with the gods below/who set in place such laws as these for humankind.’’23 Rather, Kreon’s law is auto-nomos (self-ruling) and autogenerative from within a strictly human domain. In this way, his law 40

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depends on a quintessentially humanistic self-assertion of autonomous authority that excludes divine considerations and therefore any need (or use) for piety. Such a self-imposition disregards and disposes of divine, immortal laws in favor of human laws that, like humans, are mortal. Antigone finds no authorization for this disposing disregard. Sarcastically retorting to Kreon, she says, ‘‘Nor did I think your proclamation had such strength/that, mortal as you are, you could outrun those laws/ that are the gods’, unwritten and unshakable./Those laws are not for now or yesterday, but live/forever.’’24 Her critical rebuttal unearths the humanism on which depend Kreon’s law and authority as ‘‘invented ways to take control.’’ More specifically, they represent ‘‘invented ways’’ for men ‘‘to take control’’ of women and gods and to place both, with nature and animals, under their dominating yoke of self-fabricated mastery.25 As a woman, Antigone is particularly able to expose humanism’s ingrained masculinity, which the chorus’s slippage from anthro¯pos to ane¯r reveals. Antigone unmasks humanism, already in the fifth century bce, as huMANism. Hence from its inception, as Davies concurringly acknowledges, ‘‘the decisive semantic stress (hu-man-ism) falls on the second syllable; and never more so than when it lays claim to an encompassing universality’’ and thereby fails to acknowledge that ‘‘the ‘man’ of the humanists is an embattled and uncertain construction (a ‘piece of work,’ indeed), his aspirations to the generic inclusiveness of the human foundering on the inescapable limitations of the masculine.’’26 These limitations confound any similarly universalizing movement toward total inclusiveness (including Hegel’s dialectic of Spirit) since such a movement is an essentializing one that collapses and erases differences according to a naturalizing scheme. HuMANism founders when it confronts sexual difference. As ane¯r reveals, huMANism inextricably entwines humanity and sexuality—male sexuality—so that any threat to one also threatens the other. For Kreon, as humanism’s representative, this double threat becomes a triple threat insofar as his power in an all-male polis depends on his masculinity. He therefore views Antigone’s unwavering insolence to accept his edict and thus his authority as a sexualized threat that, as such, jeopardizes his humanity. To him, her refusal to submit constitutes a second offense (twice burying Polyneikes is her first crime) that, he says, ‘‘adds insult to injury,’’ as he casts their conflict in sexual terms: ‘‘It’s clear enough that I’m no man, but she’s the man,/if she can get away with holding power like this.’’27 Not to punish her severely would not only undermine his political power; it would, in one stroke, masculinize her and emasculate him. Though Antigone has no desire to become a man, to abandon her oikos Surviving, Forever Foreign

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for the sake of the polis, Kreon fears an impending emasculation (and implicit feminization) that would oust him from the throne and the polis. This fear intensifies as their dialogue continues, leading to Antigone’s telling announcement that ‘‘my nature joins in philia, not in enmity,’’ to which an enraged Kreon responds in a burst of fury, ‘‘Go to Hades, then, and if you have to love, love someone dead./As long as I live, I will not be ruled by a woman.’’28 Though this condemnation of her might stem from a concern regarding the line of succession to the throne, it seems pointedly personalized, motivated by selfish rather than civic interest. That this sexualized threat is entirely personal—a matter of masculinity (and hence humanity) rather than principle—becomes clear in Kreon’s subsequent discussion with his son, Haimon, who begs his father to free Antigone (his cousin and fiance´e) from her living entombment. After defending his actions in terms of kinship duties, Kreon appeals to male solidarity as he tells Haimon, ‘‘By no means let a woman get the upper hand./Better to fall, if we must do so, to a man;/then nobody could call us conquered by a woman.’’29 In burying Antigone and in keeping her buried, he seeks to bury this possibility of feminizing emasculation that, for him, represents a dehumanizing risk of symbolic castration.30 Antigone, Animal, Monster Instead, Antigone—inevitably—becomes dehumanized. This process begins immediately following the Ode to Man, which offers the operative version of humanity in Sophocles’ tragedy, from which Antigone’s sexuality excludes her. As the guard who brings Antigone to trial before Kreon reports, ‘‘We saw this girl here wailing bitterly aloud,/in the piercing voice of a mother bird who sees her nest/is empty and her bed bereft of baby chicks.’’31 His animalistic metaphor recalls those animals (which explicitly include birds) that humanity is able to dominate and control. Describing Antigone as a bird renders her subhuman, unambiguously excluding her from humanity and making explicit the Ode to Man’s implicit equation of women and animals. Moreover, the guard describes her as ‘‘a mother bird,’’ which feminizes her already animal status in an interesting way: it grants to Antigone as a bird a kinship position that she is humanly denied. Her role as a sister and her name’s etymology preclude any possible human maternity. Antigone can be a mother only subhumanly. The chorus intensifies her subhumanization when, in its first word following the Ode to Man and Antigone’s reappearance on stage, it descriptively addresses her as ‘‘monstrous [teras].’’32 Unlike the guard’s familiar and nonthreatening depiction of Antigone as ‘‘a mother bird,’’ one that 42

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uses kinship terms, the chorus’s reactive ‘‘monstrous’’ indicates horror that eludes specification. As ‘‘monstrous,’’ Antigone represents a radical otherness that remains utterly foreign to the chorus’s humanistic perspective. The chorus reserves such foreignness for Antigone, who stands between nature and culture in an unthinkable space of monstrosity. Monstrosity thus recalls the incest prohibition whose transgression Antigone incarnates and in whose terms humanism defines humanity. Monstrosity also signals, as Richard Kearney points out, ‘‘borderline experiences of uncontainable excess, reminding the ego that it is never wholly sovereign’’ and standing as ‘‘tokens of fracture within the human psyche.’’33 Kearney interprets monstrosity in psychic terms, as welling up from within a divided ego rather than coming from without—as does a stranger, who for Kearney ‘‘frequently operates as a limit-experience for humans trying to identify themselves over and against others.’’34 A monster would operate as a limit-experience for humans trying to identify themselves with respect to an internal otherness, according to which they are (adapting Julia Kristeva’s title) strangers to themselves, especially insofar as, Kearney writes, ‘‘strangers, gods, and monsters represent experiences of extremity which bring us to the edge.’’35 He pointedly distinguishes the kinds of experiences that each of these three manifests. But Antigone blurs these distinctions—or, rather, the male characters in Antigone blur these distinctions vis-a`-vis Antigone as they dehumanize her and render her foreign. For Antigone, monstrosity is one figure among others of her foreignness, thanks to which she stands in no man’s land. To be ‘‘monstrous’’ is, finally, to be inhuman or (to recall Derrida’s term) ahuman. Saying to the chorus on the threshold of her tomb that ‘‘I have no home among mortals,/no home as a corpse among corpses,/with the living or with the dead [brotois/oute nekros nekroisin/metoikos, ou zo¯sin, ou thanousin],’’ Antigone acknowledges her total exclusion from humanity’s domain, from human life and human death.36 She is a foreigner to humanity in life and in death; she is, in her own words, ‘‘metoikos’’: a resident alien, an outsider, a noncitizen, politically and sexually and existentially. Within a humanistic frame, Antigone is totally foreign, without place or identity. This admitted foreignness estranges her even from her beloved Polyneikes and her other deceased family members to whom she repeatedly pledges her allegiance, thereby completing her interdiction from kinship structures and relations. The chorus highlights her aberrant kinship by relating her to her father, Oedipus, when it remarks that ‘‘the child shows clearly her fierce father’s fierceness [de¯loi to genne¯m o¯mon ex o¯mou patros/te¯s paidos].’’37 Along with their ‘‘fierceness,’’ Oedipus and Antigone Surviving, Forever Foreign

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share the transgression of the incest taboo, which renders them unthinkably inhuman. This breach of kinship’s founding prohibition reiterates Antigone’s inhumanity, which Judith Butler expresses by writing that Antigone, who ‘‘upsets the vocabulary of kinship that is a precondition of the human,’’ is consequently ‘‘not of the human but speaks in its language,’’ with ‘‘not of the human’’ also acknowledging her ‘‘fierce’’ Oedipal genealogy.38 (From a different perspective, however, Antigone remains unthinkable except as human, even exemplarily so, insofar as, according to Robert Pogue Harrison, ‘‘humanity is not a species; it is a connection with the humus.’’39 Given her passionate devotion to her filial duties of burial and to the chthonic god Hades as well as her own burial alive, Antigone realizes a seemingly unbreakable connection with the humus, to which images of earth, ground, and dirt that recur throughout Antigone attest. But Antigone resists capture in Harrison’s humanism of humus, which requires a disjunctive choice: ‘‘each of us must choose an allegiance—either to the posthuman, the virtual and the synthetic, or to the earth, the real and the dead in their humic densities.’’40 Antigone chooses both, thereby disrupting the stability of this opposition, one that recalls the nature–culture distinction that Antigone so thoroughly spaces and displaces.) Reviving Humanity Though Antigone might not be ‘‘of the human,’’ foreign to humanity as the Ode to Man articulates it, her inhumanity nevertheless holds powerfully decreative potential for ‘‘the human.’’ Antigone effects the same disruptive displacement of humanism and its account of ‘‘the human’’ that she performs in terms of nature and culture, thanks to her love of the impossible that impels her across definitively ‘‘human’’ boundaries of kinship and death. Her impossible ero¯s bears powerfully rupturing ramifications for humanity—ramifications that recall the ruinous devastation achieved by divine ero¯s (of which the chorus sings).41 Antigone disturbs and dismantles this version of humanity from within and, in this way, reaffirms that inhumanity is never fully separable from humanity, since the former functions as the latter’s supplement—which is to say, among other things, its necessary condition of possibility.42 Therefore, as Butler asserts, ‘‘if kinship is the precondition of the human, then Antigone is the occasion for a new field of the human.’’43 She occasions the ‘‘new field’’ of posthumanity: Antigone is the first posthuman. As such, she puts on trial humanity and performs a trial run 44

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of a posthumanity. She does the latter even as humanism receives its inaugural articulation, so that humanity and posthumanity emerge together, in the same Sophoclean text. Their coupled emergence affirms Michel Foucault’s claim that ‘‘man and the unthought [l’impense´] are, at the archaeological level, contemporaries,’’ since Antigone remains foreign to and unthinkable for or within humanism.44 The concomitance of man and the unthought recalls Antigone’s position as supplement, silently inscribed in the a of diffe´rance, which internally threatens any systematic construction claiming a naturalized, undifferentiated universality. Humanism makes this claim, asserting a universal figure of humanity that, as ane¯r rather than anthro¯pos, is cryptically sexed from the start. But this start, and thus the fabricated (and fabular) ‘‘nature’’ of this humanity, are buried along with Antigone, bolstering humanity’s implied timelessness that lacks beginning or end. On humanism’s account, as Derrida writes, ‘‘everything occurs as if [tout se passe comme si] the sign ‘man’ did not have any origin, any historical, cultural, or linguistic limit. Or even any metaphysical limit.’’45 Everything occurs as if ‘‘man’’ were not a sign that owed its origin and its construction to the supplementary intervention of a tekhne¯ (of the sort that Antigone incarnates). This insistence on an origin and hence on a history and a constructive tekhne¯ precludes any suggestion that humanity has always (already) been posthuman.46 Though Antigone serves as a supplement whose constitutive exclusion makes possible humanism as a systematic metaphysic—for, as Heidegger notes, ‘‘every humanism remains metaphysical’’—that she invaginates, these constructive and deconstructive processes unfold temporally, occurring diachronically rather than synchronically.47 To assert that humanity has always been posthuman repeats a synchronous collapse of a diachronic, human history by not marking an origin, an arkhe¯, as a historical moment. Antigone can serve as a deconstructive catalyst for humanism only once the Ode to Man articulates humanism. The ‘‘post’’ in her posthumanity insistently marks this historicality that, like Antigone, resists effacement or burial. In so doing, this ‘‘post’’ preserves difference. This difference (or diffe´rance) marks the supplementary space of prosthesis. This prosthesis, however, is not an inorganic machine added to an organic body, particularly since Antigone destabilizes such clear demarcations of nature and culture, organic and inorganic. It does not turn Antigone into a cyborg, which Donna Haraway defines as ‘‘a hybrid creature . . . compounded of special kinds of machines and special kinds of organisms appropriate to the late twentieth century’’ (and thus historically located), though Antigone shares with a cyborg fatal subversions of desire, Surviving, Forever Foreign

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nature, and culture from their margins; vulnerabilities that expose ‘‘fragility, mortality, and finitude’’; and embodiments signaling that ‘‘in the ‘Western’ sense, the end of man is at stake.’’48 But a cyborg replaces rather than displaces. Such replacement relies on an immutable essence, without which continuity or identity would be impossible. This immutable essence can easily become disembodied, as (in Katherine Hayles’s words) ‘‘informational pattern’’ is privileged ‘‘over material instantiation, so that embodiment in a biological substrate [i.e., a corporeal body] is seen as an accident of history rather than an inevitability of life,’’ which reduces body to ‘‘the original prosthesis we all learn to manipulate,’’ to extend, or to replace ‘‘with other prostheses.’’49 Such processes depend on a mental essence independent of and separable from its embodiment, which runs counter to Antigone’s insistence on embodiment. (Antigone is, after all, a tragic drama about corpses.) Furthermore, by replacing rather than displacing (as Antigone does), a cyborg installs a new hegemony—a new systematic metaphysic—in place of an old one, perpetuating a modern, Occidental ideal of ongoing progress and its intrinsic, unquestioned value.50 Instead of this progressive dialectic, Antigone remains singular, historically and corporeally located. She remains, moreover, singularly impossible, driven by her ero¯s for the impossible that disrupts borders and destabilizes systems. (Her impossible singularity includes an irreplaceable element in her relation to Polyneikes, for whom no substitute or replacement is conceivable.) From her unique position, Antigone remains singularly impossible for humanism to digest or incorporate, serving instead as its constitutively impossible supplement whose diffe´rance finally sunders it—once the Ode to Man inaugurates it. Hence Antigone’s posthumanity is posthumanist, with ‘‘post’’ denoting her resistance to this humanism and anticipating the deconstructive disruption that this resistance will occasion. Antigone survives the dialectical, homogenizing machine of humanism. Antigone confounds the nature–culture distinction on which humanism depends by being neither natural nor cultural but something other, something abidingly different. This difference includes her sexual difference: as a woman excluded from the solely male polis, in which she nevertheless speaks and acts, while maintaining bonds of piety and responsibility to the oikos and to the dead. It also includes the differences that mark her as animal, monster, and inhuman, by which she dislodges humanity from its position atop an existential hierarchy or at the center of a metaphysic. In revealing inhumanity at the heart of humanity (an impossibility at the heart of possibility), Antigone demonstrates that ‘‘the human’’ is not (at) the center of any 46

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closed, systematic totality of nature–culture. Neither is ‘‘the human’’ (at) the end (whether telos or eskhaton) of a progressive dialectic.51 Rather, Antigone marks the end of humanity as the Ode to Man enumerates it. If this ode inaugurates humanism two millennia before its emergence in Renaissance Europe, then Antigone dislocates by two millennia Foucault’s pronouncement that ‘‘as the archaeology of our thought easily shows, man is an invention of recent date. And one perhaps nearing its end [L’homme est une invention dont l’arche´ologie de notre pense´e montre aise´ment la date re´cente. Et peut-eˆtre la fin prochaine].’’52 Antigone’s living dying embodiment resoundingly performs this last sentence’s assertion: in and through her, humanism encounters its end. This end comes insofar as with Antigone, in Foucault’s words, ‘‘man as such is exposed to the event.’’53 This event is the advent of her posthumanity, her engendering of ‘‘a new field of the human.’’ This event is of her definitive, passionate love for the impossible. For a huMANistic humanity, the impossible effects the feminine, inhuman, living dead monstrosity that Antigone animates. Hence Antigone’s posthumanity, or the posthumanity that Antigone induces, performatively responds to JeanFranc¸ois Lyotard’s two-part query: ‘‘What if human beings, in humanism’s sense, were in the process of, constrained into, becoming inhuman (that’s the first part)? And (the second part) what if what is ‘proper’ to humankind were to be inhabited by the inhuman?’’54 Here, ‘‘the inhuman’’ includes a dislodging of humanism’s anthro¯pocentrism, ane¯rcentrism, and zo¯¯ecentrism (valuing the living over the dead). It also includes abandoning humanism’s dreams of self-foundation and self-realization, of universality, hierarchy, and teleology. Humanism holds tightly to this last dream (which includes a dream of dialectical progress), since it motivates humanism’s belief that, Derrida writes, ‘‘it is the end of finite man. The end of the finitude of man, the unity of the finite and the infinite [c’est la fin de l’homme fini. La fin de la finitude de l’homme, l’unite´ du fini et de l’infini]’’ and of man’s—of man as—telos and eskhaton, which ‘‘indissociably coordinates teleology with an eschatology, a theology, and an ontology,’’ since a discourse on telos ‘‘is also a discourse on eidos, on ousia, and on ale¯theia.’’55 As the self-proclaimed ‘‘end of finite man,’’ humanism imagines that it eludes finitude, according to a dream of uninhibited selfpresence. But Antigone, materializing Lyotard’s suggestive inquiry, short-circuits any potential metaphysical, ontotheological teleology that ends in selfpresence. Antigone’s posthumanity interrupts the immediacy of such selfproximity by embodying what humanism tries to bury and to forget. Her posthumanity refuses such an envelopment—a living entombment— Surviving, Forever Foreign

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instead fissuring humanism through, in Derrida’s words, ‘‘contact with some other code, of a wholly other type. A necessarily unique event, nonreproducible, hence illegible as such, and, when it happens, inaudible in the conch, between earth and sea [entre terre et mer].’’56 This ‘‘necessarily unique event’’ occurs in and as Antigone, who, like any event, remains impossible, for, as Derrida reminds, ‘‘the event is possible only as the coming of the impossible. It arrives as the coming of the impossible,’’ in an ‘‘experience of the ‘perhaps’ [‘peut-eˆtre’].’’57 Living Corpse Antigone manifests the impossible as an embodied event whose arrival fatally disrupts humanism, for in and through her, posthumanity emerges in a finite, feminine, fleshly body. This body, as Antigone announces, has ‘‘no home among mortals,/no home as a corpse among corpses,/with the living or with the dead.’’58 Antigone is at home neither in life nor in death, so that dwelling within the human domain, dead or alive, remains impossible for her. Instead, she impossibly abides across ate¯, living as metoikos in an unlivable space of death. Antigone animates and inhabits death, which she here affirms by identifying herself as a ‘‘corpse’’ while still alive. Her living death is, in this way, an event: of a singular necrovitality, in and through which she lives.59 But she lives, as, in Derrida’s words, ‘‘neither living nor dead, but living and dead.’’60 Antigone lives death and lives after death; she lives on as a corpse, which recalls her relation to the unthought, or the unthinkable, vis-a`-vis ‘‘the human.’’ Antigone serves as humanity’s unconscious—an unconscious that, Derrida suggests, ‘‘has not been destroyed, only ‘wounded,’ injured [‘blesse´,’ le´se´]’’ and that can live on: ‘‘the deceased [le mort] continues to act; the deceased is wounded’’ but returns, in a ‘‘return of the dead’’ through which ‘‘the vengeance of the repressed comes to its prominence in wild nature [la vengeance du re´prime´ prend son relief dans la nature sauvage].’’61 ‘‘Wild nature,’’ a nature that resists humanistic taming, implicitly names Antigone, whom the chorus describes as ‘‘as wild [o¯mos] by birth as her father’’ and to whom Kreon refers as he asks, ‘‘What could be/a wound more serious than this?’’62 For Antigone, who is ‘‘living and dead,’’ death serves as a mortal wound that she survives. Antigone recognizes her impossible living on after death, as ‘‘living and dead,’’ by identifying herself as a corpse (‘‘a corpse among corpses’’) while still alive. She is thus aware of the impossible death-in-life that she corporeally animates, as she admits her placelessness. She admits that she impossibly lives death and lives on in death, dwelling across ate¯ in an 48

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uninhabitable space of mortality. Her living death remains singular, taking place as an event in which the impossible happens and thanks to which, Derrida remarks, ‘‘her very death does not affect her,’’ neither singularly nor sexually, insofar as women are ‘‘always in a situation of survival [survie].’’63 Antigone experiences this survival singularly insofar as she survives, and then lives on in, her death. She exposes living to the space of death, to its own finite mortality through an excess of living: through the supplement or prosthesis and the death drive that it harbors—a death drive that, Derrida writes, ‘‘is silently at work in every community, every auto-co-immunity,’’ keeping it ‘‘alive [en vie], which is to say, open to something other and more than itself: the other, the future, death, freedom, the coming or the love of the other.’’64 This opening to alterity, to what arrives as an excessive event of otherness, constitutes the fatal wound that Antigone survives to inflict on humanism and, by extension, on kinship, nature, and culture. Antigone lives on after her death—or, as Jacques Lacan suggests, between her two deaths—and after her fatal interruption of humanism. She effects this inter-ruption by way of ‘‘inter,’’ a body’s burial in a tomb, which means that she effects interruption from the tomb in which she is interred alive. She lives on as posthumanous, a neologism that interweaves posthumous and posthuman, Antigone’s two modes of living on: she lives on posthumously by surviving her death and living, impossibly, as ‘‘living and dead’’; she lives on posthumanly by surviving humanism, rupturing it to make way for an openness to the impossible. Posthumanous living, which is always living on, thus names an event, an embodied enlivening or inhabiting of the impossible in and through posthumanity.65 Moreover, her posthumanous survival takes place corporeally, in the mortal materiality of flesh. It does not disconnect itself (as would a cyborg posthumanity) from embodied singularity; rather, it emphasizes corporeality’s inescapability, as Antigone’s twin insistences on embodiment and on the dead underscore. Furthermore, Antigone’s embodied, posthumanous living as ‘‘living and dead’’ calls attention to the interstitial rather than oppositional relation of life and death, or living and dying. Her living death, which inextricably crisscrosses life and death in posthumanously living on, performatively insists that life and death, living and dying, are on the same side, since (in Derrida’s words) ‘‘there is no other side than this side, the side of life. . . . Life has no other, it has no other side.’’66 Life and death must therefore both be on the side of life. This positioning does not collapse death and life through an elision of difference but displaces them from a dialectical structure of binary opposition, in which life corresponds Surviving, Forever Foreign

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to the positivity of presence while death corresponds to absence. Antigone renders such a structure unsustainable, enacting a deconstructive spacing of death and life related to the one that she performs on nature and culture. She does so by corporeally inhabiting life and death at once thanks to her impossible, posthumanous survival as ‘‘living and dead.’’ In and through her, living and dying become so entangled that life and the living cannot shield themselves from dying and the dead. This entanglement ensures that living and dying are ‘‘living together [vivre ensemble],’’ on the same side, via what Derrida describes as ‘‘a commitment of life to life and unto death [un engagement de la vie a` la vie a` la mort], whether it will be life or death’’—and ‘‘because it is undecidable, one can decide and settle [trancher] only for life.’’67 Living On Yet this deciding and settling do not deny death. On the contrary, by so thoroughly embroiling living and dying, they affirm finitude, human mortality, as life and death become ‘‘life death,’’ or ‘‘living dying.’’ This imbrication underscores their position on the same side and demonstrates that, according to Derrida, ‘‘there is neither immortality nor eternity in the old senses of these words,’’ for living dying takes place in ‘‘the finite instant,’’ which becomes ‘‘a time of survival that is life itself, life in life.’’68 Antigone exemplifies this ‘‘life death,’’ since she lives death: she dies and lives on, surviving posthumanously. Antigone’s impossible, posthumanous living on takes place as an event of survival, in the sense of sur-vie (over-life)—a sense inscribed in the verb survivre and its etymological kin. Survivre would be to live above or beyond, to live on, with survie meaning ‘‘living on in a life-after-life or a lifeafter-death.’’69 Survie does not, however, refer to an eternal or a ‘‘next’’ life that replaces mortal, human living with an erasure of the latter’s constitutive finitude. Survie is not a matter of a resurrection, a next life, or a triumph of life over death. Survie instead affirms finite, mortal living. It, Derrida writes, ‘‘affirms a sort of triumph of life at the edge of death [au bord de la mort],’’ at the border of the impossible; it avows a ‘‘double excess,’’ an ‘‘excessive double affirmation’’ of living and dying that points to their ‘‘double invagination.’’70 This imbrication attests that survie is not opposed to living. In Derrida’s words, ‘‘living on [survivre] does not oppose itself to living, just as it does not identify itself with living’’; living on, survivre, instead relates to living by way of ‘‘diffe´rance, with an a, between archeology and eschatology,’’ so that survie and survivre name neither living nor dying but living on.71 Survie and survivre partake of what Derrida 50

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identifies as a supplementary play of ‘‘survival and revenance, living on and returning from the dead: living on goes beyond both living and dying, supplementing each with a sudden surge and a certain reprieve . . . death and life [la mort et la vie a` la fois]’’—‘‘a triumph of life and of death [a` la fois triomphe de la vie et de la mort]’’ insofar as ‘‘previously being dead . . . returning to life. She has already survived [surve´cu],’’ positioned ‘‘between life and death in the crypt.’’72 There, entombed alive, Antigone posthumanously survives, impossibly living on in a life death via the excess of an event. This event is a tragic one, evincing the excess elemental to tragedy and, in terms of survival, to mortality. This excess inheres in finitude as the unforeseeable possibility of an event—the unforeseeable possibility of the impossible that might occur. In this way, Antigone’s tragic element stems from her double relation to the impossible: through loving and through living. Just as Antigone is in love with the impossible, bound by her ‘‘nature’’ to a transgressive, passionate ero¯s, so she survives by way of the impossible, in a life death that corporeally animates the vital diffe´rance of a supplement (itself a prosthesis, a tekhne¯, of the impossible)—a supplement that she ‘‘is.’’ Antigone lives on and loves on thanks to the impossible, whose disruptive potential she embodies. This potential arrives as an event that deposes the opposition of life and death that humanism necessarily posits, for Antigone exposes that living and dying, finitude and infinity, are on the same side, not opposed but enmeshed. Such is the effect of survival, as Antigone’s living on takes place through an excess that exposes life as, Derrida remarks, ‘‘in its very finitude, infinite. What has only one side—a single edge without an opposite edge—is in-finite. Finite because it has an edge on one side [borde´ d’un coˆte´], but infinite because it has no opposable edge [sans bord opposable].’’73 Antigone’s posthumanous life death, her living on, her survival, is in this way in-finite, with ‘‘in’’ denoting the eventive possibility of the impossible’s irruption in finitude. Her posthumanous survival is also for life. ‘‘In’’ and ‘‘for’’ mark related intervals, through which an event may pass, as both upset oppositional systems such as humanism’s metaphysic. ‘‘In’’ signals an eventive potential within finitude. ‘‘For’’ opens: it opens living and dying to one another; it opens possibility to the impossible; and it does so in advance and without foreseeable end. ‘‘For’’ names an event that comes before, making this ‘‘for,’’ in Derrida’s words, ‘‘the prolegomenon of everything’’ that ‘‘pronames and prenames everything,’’ so that ‘‘everything happens on the side of ‘for’ [toute se passe du coˆte´ de ‘pour’]’’—including life, insofar as ‘‘ ‘for’ conditions the sense of ‘life.’ ’’74 Therefore, Derrida continues, ‘‘life Surviving, Forever Foreign

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for life (and not being-for-life) is therefore nothing else, no, than a living of death [un vivre la mort], but, but yes, still living death [la vivre encore, la mort], living for oneself and for the other and for life [la vivre pour soi et pour l’autre et pour la vie]. Later we will call this experience, or even experimentation: living for the sake of living, and in order to see [vivre pour vivre, et pour voir]—what it feels like, just to try.’’75 Life for life designates a posthumanous living death, a death that lives on, as a trial, ‘‘just to try.’’ Posthumanous survival thus performs a trial run of an in-finite, posthumanist living death that survives humanism. Posthumanous survival, of the kind that Antigone engenders and embodies, tests a way of living on in which differences disruptively survive the trials of humanism. In and through this trial that Antigone stages, differences live on, for life, without being reduced to oppositional structures or erased in dialectical resolution. Moreover, results of this open-ended, eventive trial remain unforeseeable—hence the need for its performance: ‘‘in order to see [pour voir],’’ to see what happens. This trial is at the heart of experience; this trial, this experimentation, is or makes way for experience and whatever it might bring, including the impossible. Open for life to an unforeseeable, in-finite, posthumanous surviving, this trial becomes a metonym for what Derrida calls ‘‘peut-eˆtre,’’ ‘‘perhaps’’ or ‘‘maybe,’’ which contains in its etymology the eventive possibility of the impossible’s occurrence. Peut-eˆtre names a tekhne¯ of diffe´rance or supplementarity that, like posthumanous Antigone, lives on as an opening to such an impossible possibility. In doing so, peut-eˆtre emphasizes the radical unforeseeability of an event as the unanticipatable arrival of the impossible. Peut-eˆtre underscores that the impossible might or might not take place. It thus, Derrida notes, ‘‘keeps the question alive and perhaps ensures its sur-vival [maintient la question en vie, il en assure, peutˆetre, la sur-vie]’’—and does so via affirmation, owing to a necessary alliance of peut-eˆtre to ‘‘yes,’’ to a ‘‘yes, yes, to whatever (whoever) arrives [oui, oui, a` (ce) qui vient].’’76 This means saying ‘‘yes’’ to Antigone and her posthumanous, embodied survival that calls into question and keeps in question any humanistic form of life. Perhaps above all, Antigone affirms the unforeseeable openendedness of living (on) as potentially eventive, as a potential experience of the impossible. She insists that life death, or living dying, remain a`venir—as does an impossible humanity or posthumanity, which might or might not arrive, that allows for the persistent survival of differences. Such a humanity or posthumanity would be, in Derrida’s words, ‘‘evidently the humanity of man and of woman,’’ ‘‘of the human subject of no matter 52

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what sex,’’ that ‘‘will be a new, ‘spectral’ beyond of the opposition ‘life / death,’ ‘presence / absence.’ And of the opposition ‘private / public,’ ‘state /civil society / family’ ’’; it would be ‘‘the humanity of tomorrow.’’77 Antigone, living on thanks to her posthumanous survival, makes way for an event of such an impossible humanity—or, perhaps, of a humanity of the impossible—that remains a`-venir. She engenders this eventive possibility of the impossible’s realization. As Derrida evocatively writes of Antigone, ‘‘All remains in her. She is to follow, to come after, to be followed, to be continued [tout lui reste. Elle est a` suivre].’’78

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4

Cryptic Crossing

Antigone and Jesus cross in the tomb. They cross corporeally, their bodies encrypted in graves, spaces of death. They cross in their tombs’ thresholds, separating life and death, for whereas Antigone is buried alive, Jesus’ corpse is laid to rest. They cross again in the threshold, as both Antigone and Jesus exceed the metaphor of mortality that the tomb represents, so that the tomb is ultimately unable to contain or reduce either to sheer materiality. Both survive their encryptions—though in different ways. Despite these differences, Simone Weil entwines them in writing ‘‘Cross and Antigone (entombment) [Croix et Antigone (emmurement)].’’1 This simple metonymy juxtaposes Jesus and Antigone via passivity, with both ensnared in immurements that neither desires but to which both concede. The scene of Jesus’ crucifixion and the scene of Antigone’s burial represent immurements that become entombments, encrypting their mortal bodies and, in so doing, highlighting the finitude that they constitutively share as human beings. Antigone and Jesus lie side by side in a metonymy of finitude that, paradoxically, each survives (survivre) but that neither escapes. Weil identifies this metonymy as one of torment (supplice), noting that ‘‘there is in the torment of the cross something analogous to the torment of the entombment inflicted on Antigone.’’2 It is a metonymy of corporal and corporeal suffering, of physical pain and embodied torment, all of which reinforce the fleshly finitude that, in its way, encrypts and entombs Antigone and Jesus.

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This crossing of Antigone and Jesus crosses Greek and Jewish and Christian, woman and man, life and death, humanity and divinity. Western Christian traditions almost invariably organize their Christologies around a doctrine of two natures in one hypostasis, according to which Jesus is fully human and fully divine.3 Along these lines, Leonard Lawlor suggests that ‘‘maybe Christianity concerns nothing but border-crossings,’’ with the crossing of humanity and divinity exemplary among them.4 Jesus embodies this crossing of humanity and divinity—but on Weil’s account, so does Antigone. Weil extends her metonymic immurement of Jesus and Antigone by naming Antigone in a list of images of Christ, a list that includes Prometheus, Proserpine (Persephone), Osiris, Dionysus, Job, and Krishna, all of whom cross between human and divine realms.5 Weil adds to this human–divine junction by entwining Antigone and Osiris, suggesting that ‘‘Osiris has been not only killed but executed [supplicie´]. He has been enclosed in a coffin, where he died slowly, suffocated and terrified. The torment of Antigone is related to this.’’6 Hence Antigone, Osiris, and Jesus all cross in the immurements, entombments, encryptions of their corporeal bodies that fall victim to their mortalities. They cross humanity and divinity in mortality, walled in the encrypted space of a tomb. They cross humanity and divinity in the tragedy of mortality, for their entombments represent culminations of tragedies in each case. Tragedy turns on hamartia, which Aristotle defines as an excess, overflowing containment and resisting resolution. This excess may, according to Aristotle, refer to a character’s traits or actions, which relates hamartia to peripeteia, reversal of fortune, and to katharsis, emotional purgation, with the latter representing for him the telos of tragedy. In this way, hamartia’s excessiveness leads to the ‘‘tragic’’ character of tragedy, resulting in peripeteia for the characters and in katharsis for the audience. Aristotle underscores that katharsis depends on hamartia, intimating that the pity and fear involved in katharsis arise only when a character with whom the audience identifies falls from happiness to misery because of hamartia.7 Tragic Questions For Antigone, this peripeteia reaches its fullest intensity in her final speech, given as she stands on the threshold of the tomb in which she will live. Her speech begins with her apostrophic announcement, ‘‘Oh grave! Oh marriage chamber! Oh you caverned dwelling-/place, eternal prison where

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I go to join/my own,’’ conflating tomb and marriage bed, death and generation, and ends with a series of desperate questions: ‘‘What have I ever done against divine justice?/How can I expect a god to help me in my misery?/To whom should I pray now?’’8 These questions go unanswered and remain perhaps unanswerable, thereby demonstrating tragedy’s inherent lack of resolution. Antigone’s questions, as quintessentially tragic, must be an apostrophe, addressed to no one or to one who is absent and therefore cannot answer. The excess of hamartia forecloses any potential resolution, which here would come in answers to these questions. Tragic excess yields questions without answers, questions that lack a clear addressee. Tragedy may end, but it does not resolve. The tragic element remains. This tragic remainder motivates the peripeteia in Antigone’s relation to the divine vis-a`-vis Hades, with whom she dutifully and resiliently aligns herself throughout Sophocles’ tragic drama. Antigone, a woman who transgresses natural and cultural boundaries and ultimately exceeds even her human limits without respite or reticence, ends her worldly life with irresolute questioning. She feels existentially isolated, utterly alone, deserted by humans and divinities, lacking even the possibility of an addressee, as she asks ironically, ‘‘To whom should I pray now?’’ Jesus asks a very similar question at the apex of his tragic peripeteia resulting from an uncontainable hamartia. Though he (like Antigone) is surrounded by others in his scene of crucifixion, he expresses his forlorn isolation and utter abandonment in this climactic moment, as he cries out from the cross his last intelligible words, ‘‘ ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? [O theos mou o theos mou, eis ti egkatelipes me].’ ’’9 His appeal-lament cites the opening of Psalm 22, thus reciting and reiterating his devoted relation to Hebrew religious tradition, but doing so through irony or inversion, to interrogate rather than to honor God. Moreover, he translates the line from the holy language of Hebrew to the quotidian idiom of Aramaic, enacting in his translation a linguistic crossing of sacred and profane. (This is one of only four instances in his gospel that Mark retains the Aramaic, though in each instance he translates it—again—into his Greek.)10 Jesus’ cry also crosses humanity and divinity in tragedy. For Weil, whose favorite gospel was Mark because of its tragic character, Jesus’ appeal from the cross stands as the tragic cry, expressing interrogatively the excess of anguish and affliction that floods Jesus’ body as his life slowly expires. He experiences hamartia in the amalgam of corporeal and spiritual pain and of total desertion, which impresses his radical peripeteia— 56

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one that concerns humanity and divinity—and expresses it in his cry from the cross. But this suffering does not lead teleologically to relief, resolution, or redemption. Suffering is not simply a step along the way. Jesus’ bio-graphy, like Antigone’s, ends in anguish and unanswered questions addressed to an absent divinity. Weil identifies Jesus’ Passion as Christianity’s culmination: both height and end. The Christian narrative that she tells resists any Hegelian tendency to sublate suffering in the service of dialectical resolution. Such Hegelian readings insist on construing Christianity as a comedy in three acts: Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection. Weil, however, reads Christianity as a tragedy whose climax, the Passion, lacks resolution.11 For her, the life of Jesus and, therefore, the Christian narrative end with an unanswered question: ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ Like Antigone’s, Jesus’ life ends with a question, not an answer. Jesus’ particular question, moreover, intertwines him with Antigone in emphatically passionate, tragic ways. Jacques Lacan insists on this entwining, in which both are positioned on the thresholds of mortality. On the edge of her crypt, Lacan says, Antigone ‘‘has already seemed to have been moved to a kind of ‘Father, why has thou forsaken me?’ ’’ in her own unanswered questions addressed to God: ‘‘How can I expect a god to help me in my misery?/To whom should I pray now?’’12 Jesus’ question, according to Lacan, ‘‘allows the image of Antigone to rise up as an image of passion.’’13 Jesus’ question, as the ultimate question of his Passion, thus brings to the surface and highlights Antigone’s passion, via her love of the impossible. In this way, Antigone’s passionate, excessive ero¯s receives a crystalline representation in Jesus’ tragic, final question—a question that, for both, stands as a question (or perhaps the question) of passion. Mark’s gospel also ends with a question—or, rather, a double question. Just as Jesus’ final words issue a question without response, Mark’s text ends with a question that remains unresolved. After sunrise on the first day of the week, three women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome) go to Jesus’ tomb to anoint his corpse, only to find that the stone enclosing the tomb has been rolled back. In place of Jesus’ body (enacting a displacement of sorts), they see a young man in a white robe. After soothing their alarm, he tells them that Jesus, who was crucified, is not there. Jesus, he tells them—using a verb in the passive voice, which allows or even emphasizes Jesus’ passivity in this event—‘‘has been raised [e¯gerthe¯],’’ after which the women flee the tomb, seized by terror and amazement, and out of fear say nothing to anyone.14 According to historical-critical evidence as well as the most ancient authorities, Mark’s text ends here—in other words, without resolution. What has happened? Cryptic Crossing

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What have the women seen and heard, and what does it mean? These questions go unanswered. As such, they recall Jesus’ unanswered question from the cross: ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ In this query, humanity and divinity crisscross in complex and extraordinary ways that, rather than answering this question, instead multiply its interrogative force. If Jesus is fully human and fully divine, how and why does he address the divine in this way? What are the implications of this address? How and why does Jesus express his sense of being forsaken, abandoned, as he realizes his mortal finitude? Why does his question go unanswered? How does this call without response relate to his imminent death, and how does that death affect his humanity and divinity, these two natures joined in one hypostasis? How do his tragic cry and subsequent death affect and effect his biography and the theological and Christological accounts that emanate from it? In short, how do they affect and effect Christian narratives and traditions? To address these inquiries requires returning to the question that spawns them, to the interrogative matrix that generates them. This return implicitly follows Weil’s insinuation that Antigone’s and Jesus’ questions echo one another, according to a tragic acoustic, for the lives of these two end with exemplary pronunciations of vocare that must, tragically, remain without response and hence without resolution. Their questions also resonate in a theological register, as queries that interrogate the divine. Their questions question God, as they emerge from the lacks of divine presence (and, consequently, the experiences of radical solitude) that Antigone and Jesus face in the final moments of Antigone’s immurement and Jesus’ crucifixion. Antigone’s last question, ‘‘To whom should I pray now?’’ intensifies her sense of solitude insofar as it addresses no one. It thus extends the rhetorical figure of apostrophe: instead of addressing the absence of someone or something, Antigone addresses simply an absence. Her previous question (‘‘How can I expect a god to help me in my misery?’’) is rhetorical, not seeking an answer but expressing her hopelessness that divine intervention might take place on her behalf. It expresses her lack of abiding faith in any god, including Hades, god of the underworld, to whom she remains devoted throughout the play. Feeling abandoned by Hades—a god from whom she no longer expects anything—in her final hour, she addresses the absence of any divine presence as well as the absence of any hope of divine presence. Since her final question goes unanswered, any prayer she might offer would address itself to this same double absence.

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Lacking Names, Naming Lacks Jesus’ tragic cry from the cross offers an exclamation that grammatically mixes interrogative and imperative verbal moods and rhetorically interlaces (as Antigone does) an apostrophe with a question. Though he addresses his apostrophic question to a particular addressee, God, his question echoes Antigone’s final question (‘‘To whom should I pray now?’’) insofar as both scenes of address are marked by lack. Antigone’s question issues as an apostrophe addressed to a lack of an addressee. Jesus’ question addresses itself to a linguistic lack that marks its addressee, for according to Jean-Luc Nancy, the name ‘‘God’’ is ‘‘a strange, semi-proper, semi-common name’’ and so ‘‘designates God by its operation [de´signe Dieu par son ope´ration].’’15 ‘‘God’’ stands as neither a common noun nor a proper name but, Nancy writes, as ‘‘the very name of the impropriety of the name,’’ which means that ‘‘ ‘God’ calls the god there where his name lacks.’’16 From the cross, Jesus calls out to ‘‘God’’ in a doubly performative call: it addresses ‘‘God,’’ this name that stands in as an address for a lack of a name, and, in doing so, it names God by transforming ‘‘God.’’ That is, in calling out ‘‘God’’ addressed to God, Jesus’ call effects a performative result thanks to which ‘‘God’’ becomes the name of God. As Nancy explains, ‘‘ ‘God’ is this common noun/name [nom] (this metaphor, proper-improper by definition) that becomes a proper name only when it is addressed to this singular existing that lacks name.’’17 In this way, Jesus’ tragic cry names God ‘‘God’’ by addressing God as ‘‘God’’; his cry transforms ‘‘God’’ into a half-proper name that names the divine there where a name is lacking. This double performativity takes place when an act of address becomes also an act of naming, of giving the name ‘‘God’’ as a gift to this singular lack of a divine name. Because, as Nancy suggests, ‘‘the divine is a name that lacks,’’ Jesus’ call supplements this lack of a name, this ‘‘name that lacks,’’ with the address-name ‘‘God.’’18 ‘‘God’’ thus becomes a supplement that adds to and stands in for this double lack: the lack of a name and the lack in a name (this name that is a lack, this ‘‘name that lacks’’). ‘‘God’’ names neither an ontotheological plenitude of presence nor a quasi-apophatic move that smuggles metaphysics into theology by harboring a divine superessence.19 ‘‘God’’ instead names a supplement, which Jacques Derrida characterizes as that which ‘‘adds only to replace. It intervenes or insinuates itself in-the-place-of. . . . Supplementary and vicarious, the supplement is an adjunct, a subaltern instance that takes-(the)-place [tientlieu]. As substitute, it does not add simply to the positivity of a presence,

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it does not produce any relief, its place is assigned in the structure by the mark of a void.’’20 ‘‘God’’ supplements the lacks of and in a name (the name of the divine) in a singular call, an event of address; ‘‘God’’ stands in as a metonym of a proper name in this instance and, therefore, as an affirmation of, in Nancy’s words, ‘‘a lack of sacred names,’’ since ‘‘it is the proper name of God that is lacking [en de´faut].’’21 In this way, God can be called but not named (by) ‘‘God.’’ ‘‘God’’ calls singularly, in a scene of address that operates according to gesture rather than signification: ‘‘God’’ enacts a gesture of invitation or appellation, appealing to the divine and its name that lacks. ‘‘God’’ operates as what Nancy calls ‘‘the prayer, the invocation, the supplication, whatever—addressed to the lack of a name. . . . ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’22 Calling a quasi–proper name as a singular address, Jesus’ tragic cry from the cross operates in the registers of prayer, invocation, and supplication, all of which address themselves to this lack of a name, this divine name ‘‘en de´faut.’’ Nancy’s recitation of Jesus’ final appeal reiterates that Jesus addresses himself and his question to the divine, whom he calls not only ‘‘God (theos)’’ but ‘‘my God (theos mou)’’—an invocation that he repeats.23 His address further supplements this supplementary, quasiname ‘‘God’’ by adding to it a possessive adjective. But according to Nancy, this adjective signals that ‘‘there is not any appropriation, any privatization, and even less a subjectivization of God. ‘My God’ says that it is I alone, each time, who can call God or the god. It is the voice of someone, also singular, who can call and name this singular other.’’24 ‘‘My God’’ does not appropriate or subjectivate God; ‘‘my God’’ instead names in a single stroke addresser, addressee, and relation of address. ‘‘My God’’ reinforces the singularity of this address, from a singular addresser to a singular addressee in a singular relation constituted via address. As Nancy writes, ‘‘Each time, this possessive appearance recovers in fact what it would be necessary to call an interpellative: you, here, now, you enter into singular relation with me. . . . ‘My God’ signifies: here, now, I enter into singular relation with the de´faut of a singular name.’’25 Thus ‘‘my God’’ names addresser and addressee, implicating both in the here and now of a singular address—which it also names, with ‘‘my God’’ standing in as the name, the performative appellation, of and through which an addresser enters into an interpellative relation of address with an addressee. That ‘‘my God’’ performs a triple naming of addresser, addressee, and relation of address indicates that it names supplementarily, according to the singularity of this relational event of calling. These supplementary names position themselves next to what Nancy calls ‘‘the de´faut of a singular name,’’ which he suggests applies to all singular or proper names. A 60

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proper name, he asserts, ‘‘does not comport itself as a sign’’ but rather as a gesture, an invitation, an appeal.26 Hence a proper name represents a default in signification—a de´faut rather than a sign—for a gesture remains irresolvably performative, bound to a particular performative scene (designating a here and now) in which it takes place. This is why a proper name appears or operates as a name only when it is called in a singular scene of address. A proper name remains, in this way, singular—not a name but an event of naming. This is especially the case regarding the divine. ‘‘My God’’ reavows Nancy’s suggestion that ‘‘the divine is a name that lacks,’’ that the name of God remains ‘‘en de´faut,’’ and that it is with this ‘‘de´faut of a singular name’’ that the addresser (in this case, Jesus) enters into relation. Moreover, ‘‘my’’ enters into this relation—it names by calling—via an apostrophe, a call that goes without response. Jesus’ ‘‘my God’’ calls God in God’s absence; it calls a supplementary name for the divine in an absence of a name. In calling ‘‘my God’’ in a singular performative context, a particular here and now, Jesus demonstrates the lack in—the lack that is— the name of the divine and, in doing so, demonstrates that he can address this lack or de´faut only by way of an apostrophe—which is to say, a supplement. Furthermore, as an address to an absent addressee, an apostrophe reflexively recognizes the risk implicit in any address, namely, that there can never be any guarantee that an address will reach its addressee and that, if it does reach him or her, he or she will understand it. In this sense, every address is an apostrophe, for once the addresser sends it, he or she can neither control nor know its outcome. As Nancy writes, and as Derrida would affirm, the interpellative appellation ‘‘my God’’ ‘‘does not assure the relation or in any way measure it. But it declares it, and gives to it its chance.’’27 ‘‘My God,’’ this apostrophic supplement addressed to a de´faut constitutive of the name of God, operates as a gesture of prayer that implicitly avows and affirms the de´faut in prayer itself. This de´faut marks a caesura that spaces and displaces, that crosses and ruptures, these nominal operations. It makes way for or gives way to what Nancy, following Emmanuel Levinas, calls ‘‘a`-Dieu.’’ Because a de´faut marks the name of God, to address God, to address ‘‘God,’’ is to call ‘‘a`-Dieu,’’ to call to God. This apostrophic a` of indirection is a supplementary mark that inserts itself in every address, turning every address into an apostrophe: rather than addressing someone or something, an address always addresses itself to someone or something, never knowing if it is received. This a` thus marks the supplement, the apostrophe, the de´faut (at work or at play) that makes address a metonymic economy rather than a homologous correspondence. Cryptic Crossing

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This displacement from homologous correspondence to metonymic economy bears significantly on prayer as a discourse of address. On Nancy’s account, ‘‘to pray is first to name the singular god, my god,’’ of which Jesus’ ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ stands as exemplary.28 Prayer, this naming of God as ‘‘my God,’’ is a mode of theology that is an address, a linguistic performance taking place grammatically in the first and second persons. This distinguishes it from predication, a mode of discourse in the third person. Because this apostrophic a` inhabits every address, it inhabits prayer and its defining ‘‘my God’’ as a displacing mediation. Hence ‘‘my God (mon Dieu)’’ becomes ‘‘to my God (a` mon Dieu),’’ which then becomes ‘‘my to-God (mon a`-Dieu)’’ on account of the de´faut of a singular name, particularly a singular divine name as a name that lacks. This metonymic slide reiterates that prayer effects a relation not with a name (Dieu) but with the de´faut of a name, which ‘‘a`Dieu’’ represents. The prayer of ‘‘my God (mon Dieu),’’ as ‘‘my to-God (mon a`-Dieu),’’ addresses itself (in Nancy’s words) ‘‘to a de´faut of sacred name, a denuded litany.’’29 Divine Distance This ‘‘denuded litany’’ appears most pointedly and most poignantly in the suffering body of Jesus during his crucifixion, especially as he cries out, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ The tragic excess marking this appeal comes (at least in part) in the distance to which it attests. Jesus’ interrogative appeal demonstrates that he experiences distance between himself (as addresser) and ‘‘my God’’ (as addressee) as he faces his embodied mortality. In his final moments of life, he affectively encounters a distance and hence a difference between himself and the God to whom he calls in agony and abandonment. Such abandonment would require a radical distance, one whose traversal remains unforeseeable. This distance evinces that a rupture has taken place—a rupture that, according to Nancy, ‘‘gives up to an ‘a`-Dieu’ [livre a` un ‘a`-Dieu’].’’30 This rupture, insinuated in the a` of ‘‘a`-Dieu,’’ makes way for and gives way to the infinite, as the a` of ‘‘a`-Dieu’’ turns itself or is turned toward infinity. This infinity becomes the in-finite (l’in-fini), the breech of finitude by the infinite, the rupture of transcendence in immanence (perhaps via the space opened by a`), that might bring presence or absence and that might expose an excess or a de´faut. Regardless, the in-finite marks rupture, spacing, displacement—distance. Jesus’ cry of forsakenness and abandonment testifies, then, to the distance that these movements expose. To experience forsakenness and abandonment requires an excessive distance, an impossible and unbridgeable 62

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span, an untraversable and abyssal space. Such a distance significantly bears on relations of humanity and divinity, particularly in the person of Jesus, who is fully human and fully divine according to Christian orthodoxies. Distance and humanity coalesce in love: for Weil, distance is love, so that ‘‘for those who love, separation, however painful, is a good, because it is love.’’31 Moreover, human beings are on her account ‘‘capable of love from all possible distances.’’32 This crossing of love, distance, and humanity reaches its zenith in Jesus’ crucifixion, leading Weil to write, ‘‘the abandonment, at the supreme moment of the crucifixion; what an abyss of love on both sides [quel abıˆme d’amour des deux coˆte´s],’’ for ‘‘the absence of God is the most marvelous testimony of perfect love.’’33 This relation of love and distance informs Weil’s depiction of Jesus’ crucifixion: ‘‘this infinite distance between God and God, supreme tearing [de´chirement], pain that no other can approach, marvel of love, this is the crucifixion.’’34 Here the crucifixion precipitates a double violence: the violent affliction that Jesus suffers corporeally and the violent distancing of God from God. Jesus’ passion and crucifixion thus reveal a displacement within the Christian Trinity, as the Son (as God) stands at an infinite distance from the Father (as God). This distance owes to the tearing of God (as Son) from God (as Father), the separation of God from God in a violent and agonizing act of divine rupture—a process that is not active on the part of Jesus. Jesus’ passivity in this divine sundering frustrates any Christological account of divine keno¯sis, in which Jesus (as God) divests himself of his divinity in a willing and reflexive act of his own agency.35 Via keno¯sis, Jesus tears his divinity from his humanity, sacrificing the former for the sake of the latter, though this sacrifice is temporary, for just as Jesus dispossesses his divinity in the Passion, he repossesses that same divinity in the Resurrection, especially insofar as he raises himself from the tomb. In this kind of kenotic exercise, Jesus temporarily surrenders his divinity so that he can sacrifice his humanity, once and for all, with the death of his mortal body, after which he retrieves his divinity and raises himself and his glorified, spiritual body. Such a kenotic Christology, particularly as it develops in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, implicitly employs a Hegelian logic of teleological and dialectical resolution in which the Passion, the crucifixion and death of Jesus, is sublated in the comic eschatology of the Resurrection. For such a Christology, the crucifixion is only a step along the way, a means to an end—therein lies its value. But the destitution of divine rending does not, like keno¯sis, confine itself to the second person of the Christian Trinity. This tearing of God from God takes place within the Trinity, as the Son is torn from the Cryptic Crossing

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Father—a process that, for Weil, echoes creation insofar as creation takes place only after a divine contraction. Creation proceeds from renunciation, as divine renunciation: in Weil’s words, ‘‘God renounces—in a sense—being everything [eˆtre tout].’’36 Hence creation is passion. Creation and Passion name neither isolable nor (as according to kenotic accounts) dialectical moments in divine existence, since divine acts of creation take place only thanks to a divine decreation that precedes them. God decreates Godself in a self-sacrificial gift of self-renunciation that allows for creation; God makes room for creation in ceasing to be All. Such a decreation, as a passionate precondition of creation, questions and challenges an Anselmian vision of God as superlative and exemplary based on a hierarchical valuation of presence over absence (and, by extension, of creation over decreation).37 Decreation deconstructs this kind of theological image by demonstrating that creation depends on and proceeds from a prior decreation.38 The divine decreative act that tears God (as Son) from God (as Father), taking place within and across the Christian Trinity, effects a double separation of Jesus from God. The decreative laceration that severs Jesus from the divine provides a spiritual analogue to the afflicting wounds that slash and puncture Jesus’ suffering flesh. Jesus’ mortal corporeality itself provides a second separation, for while love can traverse the infinite distance separating God from God, humanity cannot. Jesus’ human embodiment ensures that this infinite distance remains infinite, thereby doubling his abandonment on the cross. Because Jesus senses and bears witness to this distance and abandonment with his tragic cry, exclaimed while he is still alive, the double tearing—of God from God and of divine from human— must take place during Jesus’ lifetime, at some point before Jesus’ death. This means that Jesus survives this decreative rupture in which he is wholly passive. It means that Jesus as a human, and so Jesus’ humanity, survive Jesus’ divinity, with the former outliving the latter. It means that Jesus’ humanity is, in this sense, postdivine. Suffering Affliction Jesus must humanly survive the shearing of his divinity, for the trial of his crucifixion depends on this survival (survie). This trial subjects Jesus, as a fleshly human being, to the extreme suffering that Weil names ‘‘affliction’’ (malheur), which involves what she calls ‘‘an uprooting [de´racinement] of life, a more or less attenuated equivalent of death, rendered irresistibly present’’ physically, psychologically, and socially.39 To reach this extreme, Jesus must suffer affliction without consolation, for only 64

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then can there be no possibility of relief from this deracinating suffering. Only then can affliction remain ‘‘irresistibly present,’’ with no hope of reprieve, for any such hope, any potential consolation, would reduce affliction to a means toward an end. Affliction would become teleological, something to be endured temporarily so as to receive or achieve some objective. Even the possibility of consolation turns affliction into an economy, since consolation offers an afflicted human subject a glimpse of a potential future, thereby rendering the future no longer unforeseeable. But the future must remain unforeseeable for Jesus to suffer extreme affliction as, according to Weil, ‘‘the great enigma of human life’’ insofar as ‘‘affliction compels one to recognize as real what one does not believe possible.’’40 Affliction realizes the impossible. Affliction thus constitutes a trial, as it carries an afflicted subject beyond what he or she believes possible and makes the impossible happen—and happen corporeally, psychologically, and socially. One impossibility that affliction might realize is affliction’s own continuation without end, in an interminable night with no possibility of light, no hope of reprieve. Immersed in this total darkness, Weil writes, ‘‘affliction renders God absent . . . more absent than a dead person [un mort], more absent than light in a completely dark prison.’’41 These images of darkness and prison recall John of the Cross’s ‘‘dark night,’’ in which the soul experiences what he describes as ‘‘true mortification’’ and dies ‘‘to all these things and to itself.’’42 John repeatedly mentions the drying and purging of human senses, which are engulfed in ‘‘not only night and darkness . . . but also affliction and torment’’ as the afflicted human subject ‘‘suffers the void.’’43 For John, however, this process of purgative contemplation serves as preparation for infused contemplation, in which the soul experiences a mystical darkness beyond light that enables the soul to participate in the divine. Purgation is only a means to this infused end, a temporary state, making the dark night only a darkness before the light, rather than a darkness wholly lacking light. To constitute the trial of affliction without consolation in Weil’s radical sense, this darkness must lack light as well as any hope of light. An afflicted subject must believe and act as if light is no longer a possibility, as if the complete darkness of affliction remains the only foreseeable possibility. This darkness corresponds, in a theological register, to a total lack of divine presence and the sustained lack of any future presence. In Weil’s words, unconsoled affliction means that ‘‘the absence of God becomes definitive,’’ as if God’s absence were that impossibility that becomes real, which would transform this subject’s faith into belief ‘‘in a God who resembles the true one, except that he does not exist.’’44 For an afflicted Cryptic Crossing

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subject (in this case, Jesus), the infinite distance between divinity and humanity renders God absent to the point of nonexistence. Unconsoled affliction leads this subject to regard God’s absence as the only imaginable reality. Only such an affliction lacking consolation could motivate Jesus’ cry of anguish, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ Only a postdivine, human, and therefore finite Jesus could make this call, since only such a Jesus could experience the total darkness of extreme affliction that lacks any possibility, any hope, of light or of end. Only for such a Jesus could the previously unimaginable abandonment by God, especially during the pinnacle of his suffering, become real enough that his cry could be apostrophic, addressed to an absence—and addressed to a ‘‘my God.’’ If Jesus retains a trace of divinity in his crucifixion, this trace makes his tragic cry not tragic but depraved, as a staged scene that is thoroughly fictitious—and performed for whose benefit? If Jesus experiences this abandonment by God as anything but permanent and total, then ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ is nothing more than an abhorrent, perverse spectacle.45 That Jesus experiences real and total abandonment on the cross illustrates the weakness that the crucifixion exemplifies. ‘‘In this abandonment,’’ according to John Caputo, ‘‘lies the weak force of God,’’ which is ‘‘embodied in the broken body on the cross.’’46 Caputo identifies a paradoxical power of powerlessness, expressed in Jesus’ tragic cry, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ That this power lies, paradoxically, in powerlessness means that, as Caputo writes, ‘‘Jesus was being crucified, not holding back; he was nailed there and being executed very much against his will’’ and with no knowledge of or thought that ‘‘he was redeeming the world with his blood,’’ for the crucifixion ‘‘is not an economy, and God is not in attendance at this scene as an accountant of divine debts.’’47 This power of powerlessness extends to God, who, according to Caputo, remains unable—powerless—to intervene in a definitive manner. Neither God nor Jesus exercises a quasi-kenotic, willful self-restraint of power, for both lack power in this scene. This double lack makes Jesus’ affliction not simply unconsoled but unconsolable on the part of God, which intensifies the pinnacle of powerlessness that is the cross. This scenario of affliction without consolation that leads to anguishing forsakenness and solitude poses an insuperable problem for an account of divine keno¯sis. The reflexive agency that Jesus’ self-kenotic emptying would require precludes the total darkness in which God’s presence becomes no longer imaginable—a darkness so total that infinite darkness becomes the only foreseeable reality. This darkness even forecloses the 66

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possibility of sacrifice, since sacrifice remains economic, operating as an exchange. For Jesus to know that his death is a sacrifice that will advance the divine forgiveness of human sins would ensnare his death in a sacrificial economy that operates teleologically. Teleology stands as the problem that no account of keno¯sis can avoid, and teleology would cancel the complete abandonment to which Jesus testifies as he addresses his final question—a question that goes without answer—to a void. Waiting Attentively for a Future to Come Teleology threatens to turn any such experience, whether of Jesus’ experience on the cross or a mystic’s experience in an absolutely ‘‘dark night,’’ into an economy: an exchange of this for that, quid pro quo. But both of these experiences are of affliction without consolation, which countermands any teleological assurance with a state of radical unknowing. Neither Jesus nor a mystic can know what will happen; neither can know whether this affliction will end, whether there will be light at the end of this dark night. Affliction prohibits their imagining any future that differs from their current states. They may hope for night’s end, but this must appear to them as impossible. A mystic such as John of the Cross in the midst of a mystical itinerary cannot know whether his itinerary will end in the desired goal of transcendent ecstasy, for knowing the end would reduce his mystical itinerary to a transaction. A mystical itinerary must remain a risk, whose outcome is inscrutable until it takes place. The same risk holds for Jesus’ experience on the cross. If Jesus knew that his suffering were a part of a sacrificial economy, if he knew that God’s abandonment of him were only seeming and temporary, if he knew that he would rise from the grave on the third day, he would not embody powerlessness, frailty, finitude, or the unforeseeability of the future that characterizes them. His ‘‘tragic’’ cry would be staged, with the knowledge that supreme consolation lay just around the corner and that he would without difficulty cross the infinite distance separating God from God in reclaiming his temporarily relinquished divinity. His crucifixion would entail no risk, no real darkness, no uncertainty or unknowing, and hence no unconsoled affliction, and his unanswered question (‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’) would go unanswered because it had already been answered. In other words, it was never a question at all. For Jesus’ question from the cross to be a real question requires that Jesus be unknowing about his future. It requires that his sense of divine abandonment be genuine and total and that his powerlessness therefore be real. It requires that Jesus crucified be postdivine, since only a Jesus Cryptic Crossing

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who is no longer divine, no longer God, could perceive as real the painfully infinite abyss between himself and God—a space marked by the a` inscribed between ‘‘my (mon)’’ and ‘‘God (Dieu)’’ that turns Jesus’ cry of ‘‘mon Dieu’’ into ‘‘mon a`-Dieu.’’ Only then can Jesus’ crucifixion entail risk and the unknowing it demands. Only then can his crucifixion entail an experience of a darkness without light, a darkness in which light remains unforeseeable except as an impossible hope. Only then can futurity remain, like Jesus’ tragic cry, an open, unanswered question. Only then can futurity entail a waiting for what remains to be seen, what remains to come. Jesus, like any human being, must wait, which fortifies Nancy’s insistence that ‘‘a waiting [attente] on the subject of the divine is inscribed at the heart of our experience . . . a waiting for the divine strangeness that would be a strange strangeness [une ´etrangete´ ´etrang`ere].’’48 Weil echoes Nancy’s avowal in an experience she calls attention, located in the utter darkness of spiritual night. Attention amounts to a hope that the unforeseeable, the unimaginable, the impossible, will happen: the darkness will end to reveal an illuminated brilliance of an ecstatic encounter with the divine. Thus attention, this hopeful waiting inscribed at the heart of human experience (particularly religious experience), takes place under the sign of ‘‘a`-Dieu,’’ which recognizes the uncrossable distance separating humanity and divinity. Attention performs this ‘‘mon a`Dieu’’ that opens prayer, for, according to Weil, ‘‘attention, at its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer,’’ with ‘‘prayer being only attention in its pure form.’’49 Jesus exemplifies this kind of prayerful attention when, postdivine and painfully human (perhaps ‘‘human, all too human,’’ to borrow a phrase from Friedrich Nietzsche), he exclaims his apostrophic question addressed to ‘‘mon a`-Dieu’’ and then waits, in his final moments of life, for an answer that never comes. Such an answer never comes and never can come. It remains always to come (a`-venir)—and only as impossible. The excess of hamartia that refuses tragedy any resolution—any response to an unanswered call— ensures that a response to Jesus’ unanswered question will remain to come (a`-venir), for hamartia bears a kinship with the impossible. Human finitude delimits the spheres of possibility and impossibility, with the former establishing the bounds that define human experience. That human experience and existence are finite allows that something can be unforeseeable, unimaginable, impossible, and such unforeseeability, unimaginability, impossibility allows for a darkness devoid of light—a darkness in which light remains unimaginable. If or when light appears in such darkness, it appears impossibly and despite its impossibility. It appears miraculously, as the impossible becoming possible. 68

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Derrida calls this an event, for, as he writes, ‘‘an event implies surprise, exposure, the unanticipatable’’ and can take place only ‘‘there where one does not wait, where one can no longer wait, where the coming of that which arrives interrupts the waiting.’’50 An event arrives, unforeseeably and beyond any possible anticipation, and its arrival ruptures the prayerful waiting of attention. An event comes out of nowhere and takes place in the space of an instant, as an experience of the impossible. As Derrida remarks, ‘‘My relationship to the event is such that in the experience I have of the event, the fact that it will have been impossible in its structure continues to haunt the possibility. It remains impossible; it may have taken place, but it remains impossible [Cela reste impossible, cela a peutˆetre eu lieu, mais cela reste impossible].’’51 Hence an event, if it impossibly happens, remains wholly singular and exceptional, exceeding any calculation. This impossibility, according to Caputo, is the ‘‘very idea’’ of the a`venir, namely, that ‘‘it will never come. . . . The very idea of the to-come is the idea of what does not come,’’ as ‘‘what we do not and cannot see coming.’’52 An event remains impossible, taking place only as an impossible possibility that in-finitely ruptures the bounds of mortal human finitude. Nevertheless, Nancy’s and Weil’s calls to wait attentively for such an impossible a`-venir become intensified and more insistent. This kind of attentive waiting describes the posture of ‘‘a`-Dieu’’ and its implicit a`venir. On the cross, in agonizing affliction lacking consolation, Jesus wholeheartedly implores, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ and then waits attentively for an answer—an answer that will not come—for as long as possible, for as long as he lives, until with his last breath he utters a loud (nonlinguistic) cry and is consumed by death.53 His attentive waiting can be prayerful, in and as a mode of prayer verbalized by his apostrophic address to the divine, only if he cannot know or foresee an answer or even the possibility of an answer to his question. This responsive possibility must remain a`-venir, and Jesus must attentively and hopefully await its impossible arrival in a tortured, lacerated, exposed body nailed to a cross. In this lies the real test, the real trial, of Christianity as chance and risk in the face of the impossible, which remains unknowable and unforeseeably a`-venir. This trial extends beyond even the messianic, for the messianic relies on a promise instead of merely a hope.54 Hence the messianic retains a trace, if only infinitesimal, of a horizon of expectation and, therefore, of a teleological orientation. But the impossible that, like the response to Jesus’ desperate question, remains always a`-venir lacks any horizon of expectation or even possibility. The impossible remains absent Cryptic Crossing

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from any imaginable future. Moreover, in the messianic’s horizon of expectation lies the possibility of salvation, which means that as long as the messianic remains, salvation is imaginable, whereas for a finite, afflicted Jesus on the cross, salvation is unimaginable. His inquiring plea offers no hint of an imaginable salvation; it asks not for salvation but for an explanation regarding Jesus’ abandonment by the divine. The tragically excessive affliction without consolation that a postdivine Jesus suffers in his crucifixion refuses even the impossible possibility of salvation that the messianic fosters. This refusal undergirds Jesus’ cry, exclaimed in the double anguish of affliction and abandonment, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’—on which Weil comments, ‘‘There is the true proof that Christianity is something divine.’’55 Among its resonances, this statement signals not (or certainly not simply) an exaltation of suffering but an interchange of humanity and divinity, entwining them in complex and unsettling ways. If Christianity’s supremely divine moment comes via Jesus’ tragic cry from the cross in a scene of divine abandonment, then its most divine moment is its most human moment. The height of Christianity’s divinity arises in a postdivine Jesus’ total affliction, abandonment, and death. Christianity’s divinity, then, owes to its humanity, so that divinity depends on humanity—or, phrased otherwise, both depend on finitude, limitation, mortality. (So, too, does the impossible, for only if possibility is bounded and thereby limited can the impossible have a chance of becoming possible through an unforeseeable and in-finite intrusion.) The trial of Christianity, the trial that Christianity stages and performs, comes in its risking the divine on the human, so that in humanity lies the chance and risk of Christianity.

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5

Touching Transcendence, in the Flesh

Human being is bodily. Human beings live in bodies as the inescapable vessels of their mortalities. Humanity entails corporeality, and to depend on humanity, as does Jesus’ divinity, means depending on human embodiment and its constitutive mortality. Corporeality and mortality are inextricable for humanity, since human bodies are finite. Mortality is the reality of corporeality, just as corporeality is reality for embodied human beings. Human existence, therefore, is a corporeal matter, taking place in flesh and in time, so that this existence hangs on life—which is also to say, on death. Life and death come together in a process that Robert Pogue Harrison terms self-mortalization, which means ‘‘to learn how to live as a dying creature, or better, to learn how to make of one’s mortality the foundation of one’s relations to those who live on, no less than to those who have passed away.’’1 Harrison extends the Socratic axiom that learning how to live is learning how to die by materializing it, emphasizing the finitude of flesh in which human living takes place. Jean-Luc Nancy carries this interweaving one step further, thoroughly enmeshing living and dying and making of these processes a single experience. This experience, moreover, remains inescapably corporeal. As Nancy writes, ‘‘The body gives place [donne lieu] to existence,’’ but it can do so only finitely, for ‘‘all its life, the body is also a dead body, the body of a dead person, of this dead that I am living [toute sa vie, le corps est aussi un corps mort, le corps d’un mort, de ce mort que je suis vivant].’’2 71

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Corporeal Ex-istence ‘‘This dead that I am living’’ emphasizes the inextricability of living and dying in and as human corporeal experience. Such inextricability keeps living and dying open, so that human finitude cannot represent a closed totality with secure designations of inside and outside. Rather, human finitude discloses living and dying as processes constantly exposed to each other, which means that human living, especially as bodily, remains constantly exposed to its finitude. Human living is fragile, contingent, indeterminate, unforeseeable in its course and duration, and taking place through unremitting exposure to death. Death radically singularizes a human life, with each life encountering its death alone, inescapably, irreplaceably. Death is never experienced as an impersonal abstraction but always singularly, as a death, which is always this death. Consequently, Nancy writes, ‘‘there is no ‘the death,’ as an essence to which we would be dedicated: there is the body, the mortal spacing of the body, which inscribes that existence does not have essence (not even ‘death’), but only ex-ists [il n’y a pas ‘la mort,’ comme une essence a` laquelle nous serions voue´s: il y a le corps, l’espacement mortel du corps, qui inscrit que l’existence n’a pas d’essence (pas meˆme ‘la mort’), mais ex-iste seulement].’’3 Neither death nor existence—nor body, I would add—can take a definite article, which would indicate thematization and universalization (as does capitalization in English, such as when being becomes Being). In other words, death can never be or become Death, as an abstract conceptualization untied from a singular, human, bodily life. Likewise, body can never be or become Body or even the body, since body refers always to a body, a singular body, this body, this body here and now (which explains why body appears without a definite article throughout this text). Nancy underscores this point by avowing that ‘‘body gives place to existence’’ and adding that ‘‘there is no existence without place, without there, without a ‘here,’ ‘here is,’ for the this [il n’y a pas d’existence sans lieu, sans la`, sans un ‘ici,’ ‘voici,’ pour le ceci].’’4 Thanks to the singularity that this implies, particularly in terms of human living and dying—or, emphasizing their enmeshment, human living dying—a mortally spaced body does not exist but only ex-ists. Nancy imports ‘‘ex-istence’’ from Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic vocabulary (and from Martin Heidegger’s ‘‘ek-sistence’’), in which this term describes an ecstatic, ex-centric, displaced mode of being that stands outside of (or beyond) ontological existence and the symbolic order. Ex-istence instead takes place in the real, that psychoanalytic register that resists representation, rendering ex-istence unspeakable, unknowable, unassimilable, ineffable, and symbolically impossible.5 The real includes body in its 72

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materiality, so that corporeality always retains a trace of the real and, in this way, becomes corporeality. Corporeality, like the real, can erupt into and disrupt reality at any moment as an event, which means that the real’s potential, destabilizing irruption keeps reality open and exposed. In this way, ex-istence recalls posthumanousness (of the sort that Antigone engenders and embodies), since both name experiential modes that take place outside of traditional ontological bounds. Stricto sensu, ex-istence and posthumanousness ‘‘are’’ not but remain out of place, displaced, dislocated from static domains: ex-istence from being and posthumanousness from life and death. As Antigone and Jesus demonstrate, posthumanousness’s destabilizing crossing of living and dying illustrates that living and dying are not static domains but an ongoing, interactive process that unfolds unforeseeably—and bodily. Posthumanous ex-istence takes place corporeally, in a body that, as Erin Manning describes, ‘‘is always what it has not yet become.’’6 Being ‘‘not yet’’ gives this body an eventive quality, insofar as it remains never present, never closed, but always unpredictably a`-venir. To remain a`-venir is one meaning or definition of finitude. To be finite is to be a`-venir: limited by the future’s unforeseeability, by the bounds of knowledge, by the borders of body and experience. (For Jesus, this a`-venir means being postdivine.) Posthumanousness is a`-venir since its ongoing, processual, corporeal experience of living and dying, of living dying, of ‘‘this dead that I am living,’’ proceeds into an unknowable future and remains exposed to the ever present possibility of death. Posthumanous ex-istence breaches and crosses any stable, identifiable borders of life and death. It thus affirms Jacques Derrida’s suggestion that life and death—living and dying—are not opposites separated by a demarcating line or chasm. Instead, living and dying are ongoing, dynamic, imbricated techniques of corporeality that, in Derrida’s idiom, lie on ‘‘the same side [coˆte´]’’: the side of life. Life and death must be on the same side, according to Derrida, since ‘‘there is no other side than this side, the side of life. . . . Life has no other, it has no other side,’’ which means that ‘‘there is no side for death [il n’y a pas de coˆte´ pour la mort].’’7 Death is a nonside. It, like life, stands on the side of life for life, with for here maintaining the open-ended quality that keeps life a`-venir and prevents its stasis or closure. This openness it owes to life’s finitude, which here becomes in-finite: infinite in its very finitude as well as impossible in its very possibility, immortal in its very mortality. ‘‘Life for life (and not being-for-life),’’ Derrida writes, ‘‘is nothing else, no, than a living of death, but, but yes, still living death, living . . . for life [un vivre la mort, mais, mais si, la vivre encore, la mort, la vivre Touching Transcendence, in the Flesh

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. . . pour la vie].’’8 With this, he offers his version of Nancy’s ‘‘this dead that I am living.’’ Both of these phrases exemplarily describe posthumanous living, which is precisely ‘‘a living of death [un vivre la mort],’’ of ‘‘this dead that I am living.’’ Antigone embodies this ‘‘living of death’’ by unnaturally embodying death-in-life: by surviving (survivre) her death, by crossing and dwelling across the limit of ate¯, by living on after being buried alive. She does so, moreover, because of her love for the impossible, her kinship with death and the dead, and her definitive sexual difference. But Antigone is not alone. ‘‘This dead that I am living’’ describes the posthumanous texture of embodied human living; it describes embodied human living as posthumanous. Human corporeality takes place posthumanously, as survival, as a ‘‘living of death’’ for life, on the side of life. Jesus, as postdivine, also corporeally enacts ‘‘this dead that I am living,’’ though his posthumanous living adds an additional element. The death that Jesus lives humanly—or posthumanously—lives on after the death of his divinity. In other words, Jesus’ humanity survives his divinity even as it lives its death until his mortality expires on the cross. These and other instances of corporeal, posthumanous ex-istence illustrate that this ex-istence takes place outside of an ontological domain. Posthumanous ex-istence involves an exscription from being by way of body. This assertion recalls Nancy’s insistence that ‘‘body gives place to existence’’ and that ‘‘there is no existence without place.’’ If existence requires place, and if body gives that place, then body must precede existence, which can happen only if body ex-ists. This ex-isting body thus comes before being, as a body-place that allows existence to take place. In so doing, bodily ex-istence displaces existence and, with it, ontology. Thanks to this displacement, Nancy notes, ‘‘ontology of the body is ontology itself,’’ and ‘‘ontology of the body ⳱ of the place of existence or of local existence.’’9 Ontology thus becomes bodily: a matter of fleshly finitude located in a singular body as the living dying site that engenders existence. Ontology becomes an ontology of living (and hence of living dying) rather than of being. Consequently, living precedes and exceeds being, remaining a`-venir, which Nancy summarizes in the equation ‘‘ ‘ontology of the body’ ⳱ exscription of being.’’10 This equation amounts to an exscription and ex-crypt-ion of being by living—by posthumanous living dying that, like Antigone, survives encryption, in a singular body. It also amounts to a corporealization of ontology as a bodily matter whose living remains exposed to its mortal finitude and to its unforeseeable future, in which bodily events can arrive unexpectedly. 74

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Skin Events Posthumanous, corporeal ex-istence reveals itself in the singularity of a finite, fleshly embodiment of living dying that unfolds instant by instant. Such an ex-istence realizes Nancy’s bodily ontology of living as ‘‘local existence,’’ by which he means not a terrestrial territory but ‘‘the singular intensity—itself changing, mobile, multiple—of an event of skin, or of a skin as place of event [d’un ´eve´nement de peau, ou d’une peau comme lieu d’e´ve´vement].’’11 With this, he lodges ex-istence in the fleshly materiality of skin, the locality of living that literally embodies human finitude, for skin realizes body’s limit. Embodied in skin, this mortal mantle of flesh, body has sensible limits that reinforce its limited nature: the limited nature of human living dying. Skin also manifestly evinces that body, finitude, and living dying remain open, exposed, and vulnerable to the eventive unforeseeability that remains a`-venir, as ‘‘an event of skin.’’ In this way, skin highlights its inherently eventive quality as ‘‘place of event’’ where finite, corporeal, human living dying takes place. Skin is ‘‘an event of skin,’’ namely, an organic process of living dying that its materiality performs continuously. Hence skin, as living dying, never ‘‘is’’ in any stable way. Because skin constantly changes, it remains fleetingly temporary; with every moment of its living dying, skin grows and dies. The dead skin moves outward, so that the outermost layer of a body’s epidermis (the stratum corneum) consists of dead skin, which means that there where a body comes into corporeal contact with the world, it is already dead.12 There where a body touches, it touches via and through an already dead layer of skin, so that every touch touches death, touches dying, touches fleshly finitude—and touches through death, dying, finitude. Thus skin corporeally performs diffe´rance, weaving together difference and deferral, which become tangible in this touching through death, dying, finitude. Skin and, therefore, dying form an imperceptible, epidermal layer that mediates touch and, in this way, unveils skin as the site of an event of mediation. Touch can never be immediate or unmediated thanks to skin, for, as corporeal diffe´rance, skin enacts what Derrida names a ‘‘spacing’’ that marks ‘‘an interval, a distance’’ and therefore ‘‘a detour, a delay, a relay, a reserve’’ in which ‘‘the becoming-space of time and the becoming-time of space’’ take place inextricably.13 (Manning extends Derrida’s insight to remark that ‘‘spacing is the body.’’14) ‘‘Interval,’’ ‘‘detour,’’ ‘‘delay,’’ and ‘‘relay’’ already point to this irreducible, temporal element in spacing—a temporal element that spacing shares with living dying, as both remain a`-venir in their unfoldings. In this sense, the imperceptible, epidermal layer that spaces and mediates contact is (or ‘‘is’’) living dying. Moreover, this layer or trace that spaces and temporizes bodily Touching Transcendence, in the Flesh

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contact ensures that touch itself is spaced and temporized by diffe´rance. Hence touch designates not continuousness but metonymy and displacement. Metonymy and displacement extend to skin as the materiality of touch: touch nevertheless takes place via skin. Skin serves as an eventive space— displaced rather than emplaced, dynamic rather than static (thereby maintaining its temporal character)—marked by weakness rather than strength, vulnerability rather than impenetrability, surprise rather than stability. Space as spacing captures the ever exfoliating dynamism of skin in its ongoing living dying. In short, skin is an event. So is touch. As Manning avers, touch not only ‘‘produces an event’’; ‘‘touch is an event.’’15 It is ‘‘an event of skin’’ that, as an event, happens, as a spacing and a temporizing whose arrival exposes skin’s fragile vulnerability, since touch always contains the potential of wounding, as a violent, dermal disruption. This exposure, like touch itself, is an opening: touch spaces and exposes skin. In Manning’s words, ‘‘it opens toward an opening, an interval, an incorporeal surface’’—the untouchable—that ‘‘is a gestural, linguistic, sensing skin that protects us while opening us toward and rendering us vulnerable to an other.’’16 Her description emphasizes skin’s bodily finitude, with its mortal living dying that, being a`-venir, remains incomplete, unfinished, unclosable, as what Nancy calls ‘‘a presence that comes’’—in other words, a presence that is not present.17 Finitude’s corporeal opening exposes body, and skin most directly, to risk, which is always double, carrying chance and threat. Body, skin, and touch must take this risk. Bound together corporeally, they cannot but expose themselves to the risky and indiscernible chancethreat of every event, since they are themselves eventive and, therefore, open (which includes open toward an unforeseeable event that remains a`venir). They ex-ist as open, as opening. Their fleshly ex-istences extend solicitation and offer response to alterity and its riskiness. As events of skin, touch and body entail, in Manning’s words, ‘‘acknowledging the risks associated with the unknown toward whom I reach when I touch.’’18 Body and touch must acknowledge the riskiness of openness and exposure, if only because they ex-ist as open and exposed. As Nancy affirms, body ‘‘is exposing/exposed [exposant/expose´]’’; body ‘‘is the opening [l’ouvert]’’; body is ‘‘the place that opens, that deviates, that spaces [le lieu qui ouvre, qui ´ecarte, qui espace],’’ thereby ‘‘giving place to making happen or ‘eventing’ [donnant lieu de faire ´eve´nement]’’ and exposing corporeality as ‘‘a rupture that is the body itself.’’19 Such a rupture reveals a thoroughly spaced corporeality, fracturing any dream of wholeness or closure. Lacking any contained stability, body as 76

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rupture incarnates (modifying Nancy’s phrase) local ex-istence. Body, like touch, can be only ever, in Nancy’s words, ‘‘local, modal, fractal.’’20 Open and exposed, fragile and vulnerable, body and its fleshly mantle of skin grant space to what remains a`-venir. Doing so requires a radical opening, for, as Nancy attests, ‘‘with the body, we are speaking of that which is open and infinite, of that which is the opening of closure itself, the infinite of the finite itself,’’ which he also describes as ‘‘the infinity proper to finitude’’ and as ‘‘infinite finitude.’’21 Finitude, like the corporeality that materializes it, must resist any totalizing closure that would enable containment. Such a totalizing move of enclosure would be one of selfenclosure, requiring a mastery that is impossible since bodily living dying remains and must remain open, exposed, fragile, vulnerable, incomplete, unfinished, a`-venir. Moreover, this kind of enclosure would happen only thanks to an absolute limit that encompasses every possibility within its bounds—an absolute limit with no outside. But an absolute limit with no outside is no longer a limit and, therefore, no longer homologous with finitude.22 Accordingly, ‘‘the infinity proper to finitude’’ or ‘‘infinite finitude’’ cannot have this absolute sense. Instead, ‘‘infinite finitude’’ refers to a finitude not shielded from the disruptive potential of infinity, a finitude whose borders infinity can fracture at any instant. This fracturing possibility opens closure itself, so that finite, fleshly living cannot finally secure itself from death—just the opposite, since finite flesh touches death in its own flesh, its own dead skin, with every touch. This is why to touch is always to touch death and to touch through death. Body’s materiality evinces that its fleshly, living dying limits change constantly as it experiences ‘‘this dead that I am living.’’ As the corporealization of this living dying, body ex-ists as rupture, as spacing, as diffe´rance: mediated, open, exposed. In this sense, body embodies ‘‘the infinity proper to finitude,’’ the ‘‘infinite finitude,’’ that keeps finite corporeality fissured, remaining a`-venir in its incarnation as ‘‘an event of skin.’’ Furthermore, the interconnection of infinity and finitude in ‘‘the infinity proper to finitude’’ relates to the association of transcendence and immanence. Nancy offers ‘‘the immanence of transcendence’’ as a kind of quasi-translation for ‘‘the infinity proper to finitude.’’23 Though this translation might appear inverted, it expresses the same disruptive potential, the same dynamic inseparability, the same failure of any absolute limit to separate the two. In addition, ‘‘the immanence of transcendence’’ manifests materiality and experience in a unique and finite ‘‘here’’ and ‘‘now,’’ which accords with finitude’s living dying embodiment in flesh. Finitude, Touching Transcendence, in the Flesh

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particularly ‘‘infinite finitude,’’ engenders ‘‘the immanence of transcendence,’’ which Nancy identifies with ‘‘finitude as what defies and deconstructs the metaphysical pairing [le couple me´taphysique] of immanence and transcendence’’ as distinct, opposing binaries.24 Like finitude and infinity, like living and dying, immanence and transcendence stand on the same side. Touching Jesus Jesus exemplarily embodies this contention. As human and divine, two natures that touch uniquely in Jesus, he corporeally performs ‘‘the immanence of transcendence’’; he materially realizes ‘‘the infinity proper to finitude’’; and he demonstrates in the flesh that, like living and dying, immanence and transcendence dwell on the same side. During his public ministry, Jesus repeatedly manifests Nancy’s suggestion that ‘‘transcendental experience is here,’’ available as potential human experience illustrating ‘‘the ‘transcendental’ of the here-now [l’ici-maintenant] of existence.’’25 Jesus demonstrates on many occasions ‘‘the immanence of transcendence’’ that takes place in a living dying human body. He does so by touch. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus touches often—very often. Of the four canonical gospels, Mark’s is the shortest and the earliest, composed around 68–70 ce, and it serves as a source for the later synoptic gospels, Matthew and Luke.26 As its opening line declares, Mark identifies Jesus as ‘‘the Son of God,’’ disclosing this text’s ‘‘low’’ Christology that emphasizes Jesus’ humanity and, with it, the inevitability of suffering.27 (Of four key Christological markers in the New Testament—Son of God, Son of Man, Lord, and Messiah—only the first does not automatically affirm Jesus’ divinity, though it does suggest a unique relation of Jesus to God.) Mark depicts a thoroughly embodied Jesus, the most corporeal among the canonical gospels, who is neither omnipotent nor without weakness, a Jesus who corporeally suffers and dies. Mark’s Jesus is a touching Jesus, a Jesus who touches.28 Mark’s Jesus is a Jesus who touches in the flesh and, in doing so, touches death. In every instance of bodily touch, Jesus touches his humanity and (therefore) mortality in his living dying skin. Jesus appears thoroughly immanent, thoroughly grounded in a corporeal body with limitations, so that any transcendence that appears must do so via immanence. Mark’s Jesus thus uniquely manifests ‘‘the immanence of transcendence.’’ Because Nancy uses this phrase to signal the deconstruction of immanence and transcendence as a metaphysical binary, Jesus becomes the corporealization of this deconstruction. In and through Jesus, immanence and transcendence 78

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commingle to the point of inseparability, enacting a fleshly deconstruction of a metaphysics based on their opposition. Jesus materially substantiates that immanence and transcendence are, like living and dying as well as finitude and infinity, on the same side—which turns out to be the only side and, thus, the side on which Jesus stands, in the flesh. This flesh of Jesus’ body also subjects Jesus, as embodied, to a radical opening, for body is opening: the opening of closure, the infinite of finitude. As embodied, Jesus touches his mortality in touching ‘‘the infinity proper to finitude,’’ both of which space and displace his ex-istence. Jesus touches his living dying as well as his corporeal ‘‘infinite finitude’’ every time he touches an other, which is frequently in Mark. Mark recounts twenty-two significant touches in which Jesus materially engages an other, which makes touch Jesus’ predominant and paramount sensory experience in this text (particularly since eating and drinking engage touch as well as taste). No other canonical gospel grants this primacy to touch, reinforcing that Mark uniquely fashions a thoroughly and inescapably corporeal Jesus. The most significant motivation for these touches is healing. Jesus has a healing touch, a touch that cures, which becomes evident in Mark’s opening chapter, when Jesus encounters a leper who, kneeling, says to Jesus, ‘‘ ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.’’29 Jesus’ first curative touch heals a leper—and not only heals him but makes him clean, which recalls the religious importance of purity in Jesus’ Jewish context. This importance stems from Leviticus 11–15, which details religious rules regarding purity and impurity, clean and unclean, in a variety of contexts. (These rules relate to those concerning sexual prohibitions in Leviticus 18.) These laws reveal that cleanliness is a bodily matter, related explicitly in Leviticus to diet, childbirth, surface afflictions, and sexual discharges. Cleanliness is one ritual domain where sacred law meets corporeal body, interlacing religion and medicine. The importance of these laws helps to elucidate the theme of and desire for cleanliness running through Mark and exemplified in this leper’s request (‘‘you can make me clean’’), Jesus’ response (‘‘Be made clean!’’), and Mark’s report (‘‘he was made clean’’). Jesus’ touch here performs a double function: of healing and cleansing, medical and religious. Moreover, the latter never appears without the former in Mark, for every time Jesus’ touch effects a religious outcome in this text, it also effects a medical one. This coupling further emphasizes the vital necessity of touch in Mark’s narrative—one in which religious Touching Transcendence, in the Flesh

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touches are also always medical. Concerning Jesus’ touch, cleansing never takes place without healing. Jesus amplifies the corporeal dimension of his healing touch in subsequent encounters with a deaf man (with a speech impediment) and with a blind man. Begged (as Mark narrates) ‘‘to lay his hand on him,’’ Jesus takes the deaf man aside ‘‘and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue’’; Jesus then says, ‘‘be opened,’’ and the man’s ‘‘ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.’’30 Likewise, in Bethsaida people beg Jesus to touch a blind man. Jesus takes the man’s hand and leads him out of the village, and after, Mark writes, Jesus ‘‘had put saliva on his [the man’s] eyes and laid his hands on him,’’ the man is able to see—though not well, until ‘‘Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again,’’ after which the man ‘‘saw everything clearly.’’31 In both of these episodes, Jesus heals human bodies with touch and saliva, a combination of bodily contact and bodily fluid, so that Jesus touches these men doubly: with hands and saliva. These contacts are thoroughly bodily, as Jesus’ doubled corporeal touch restores these men’s bodily senses by healing their physical organs. Both are bodily healings by bodily means, of touch and spit. Jesus’ touch effects even more radical bodily restorations in the cases of two children. First, Jairus, a synagogue leader, asks that Jesus lay his hands on Jairus’ daughter, for, as Jairus pleads, she ‘‘is at the point of death.’’32 When they reach Jairus’ house, people tell them that the girl is dead, though when Jesus sees the girl, he announces that ‘‘this child is not dead but sleeping,’’ and, taking her hand, he says, ‘‘ ‘Talitha cum,’ which means, ‘Little girl, get up!’ And immediately the girl got up and began to walk.’’33 Later, a man asks for Jesus’ help with his convulsing son, whom Jesus sees falling on the ground, rolling about, and foaming at the mouth—actions that had previously caused the boy bodily harm. Jesus commands an unclean spirit to leave the boy’s body, causing the boy to cry out, convulse, and appear corpse-like. Though onlookers remark that the boy is dead, Mark narrates, ‘‘Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand.’’34 For both children, Jesus’ touch restores their fleshly lives, retrieving them from death and revitalizing their bodies. He rehabilitates not simply bodily organs but bodies in these cases, the second of which again pairs healing and cleansing (though this time Jesus’ speech effects cleansing while his touch brings about healing). In these cases, corporeal contact engenders corporeal restoration. This contact need not be active on Jesus’ part. On his way to Jairus’ daughter, he heals not by touching but by being touched when a woman suffering from hemorrhages touches his cloak from behind, saying, ‘‘If I 80

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but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’’35 The woman is correct, as her hemorrhaging immediately stops, and she feels her body healed from disease. On being touched, Jesus turns and asks, ‘‘Who touched my clothes?’’ prompting the woman to confess and Jesus to respond kindly, ‘‘Go in peace, and be healed of your disease.’’36 This episode explains why Mark records earlier that ‘‘all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him,’’ for touching Jesus can have the same curative result as being touched by Jesus, which Mark confirms: wherever Jesus goes, the sick come to marketplaces and beg ‘‘that they might touch even the fringe of his cloak; and all who touched it were healed.’’37 As Manning notes, ‘‘Jesus is touched and his touch heals,’’ which suggests that if ‘‘incarnation is the body-flesh becoming touchable/untouchable at the nexus between the infinite and the eternal,’’ then incarnation actuates ‘‘the touchability of the eternal’’: ‘‘Jesus incarnate appears to exclaim that there is no mediation necessary between the transcendent and the immanent. Transcendence and immanence are complementary, they exist in the experience of the body of Jesus, in its immanent un/touchability.’’38 Here, ‘‘the touchability of the eternal’’ reformulates Nancy’s ‘‘immanence of transcendence’’ as what enables transcendental experience to take place in the flesh. This experience rests on ‘‘touchability’’ rather than touch, which intimates a functionally effective equivalence of touching and being touched. What counts is ‘‘the experience of the body of Jesus,’’ whether Jesus touches or is touched—whether Jesus is active or passive. What counts is fleshly contact, an embodied ‘‘experience of the body of Jesus’’ as the corporealization of ‘‘the immanence of transcendence.’’ But is being touched touching? How far does this functionally effective equivalence go? As far as possible. To touch is to be touched in a bodily experience at once active and passive: an experience in which a human body simultaneously feels that which it touches and feels itself touched by that which it touches—that which touches it. As Jean-Louis Chre´tien succinctly articulates, ‘‘to touch is immediately to be touched by what I touch, to make the trial [faire l’e´preuve], before all reflexivity [re´flexion], of its proper tangibility.’’39 Touch’s inseparability of activity and passivity, of invitation (or call) and response, means that to be touched by Jesus is also to touch Jesus, since either recounts a bodily experience of Jesus’ body, a fleshly and tactile tangency through the mediating layers of dead skin. Dead skin and thus mediation remain part of every bodily touch, every tactile experience, though the layers of dead skin constantly change in an epidermis’s ongoing living dying. This deathly mediation reavows that corporeal touch (which is always touching and being touched at once) Touching Transcendence, in the Flesh

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touches death and touches through death, materialized in corporeality as skin. Chre´tien reminds that ‘‘there is always . . . an intervening body [il y a toujours . . . un corps interpose´]’’ in an experience of touch—namely, body itself—that ‘‘escapes us [se de´robe a` nous] and, while being that across [a` travers] which touching exercises itself [le toucher s’exerce], it remains insensible and unapparent, concealed to touch even as touch takes place through it. It forms an untouchable in touch itself.’’40 This untouchability within touch, this touch of death that is part of every touch, nonetheless engenders human living. Human living is touching insofar as living and touching are inseparable. Living human bodies cannot not touch. Just as to touch is to be touched, so to live is to touch—which means that to live is also to touch death (and the untouchable) and to touch through death. Touching—which is to say, touching death—becomes the condition for corporeal living. Aristotle holds that touch remains a precondition for any animal to live: ‘‘without touch,’’ he writes, ‘‘it is impossible for an animal to be,’’ which makes touch ‘‘the essential mark of life.’’41 Chre´tien follows Aristotle in maintaining that ‘‘touch constitutes animal life,’’ so that ‘‘without touch [le toucher], animal life is able neither to be nor to persevere in being.’’42 Touch, then, is always a matter of life and death. Proximity and Distance Touch is also always a matter of proximity. With the exception of taste (which is also a matter of touch), touch is the corporeal sense that most depends on proximity.43 Touch involves contact, which requires proximity, and with proximity comes intimacy, for a human body can touch or be touched only by what stands within a ‘‘touchable’’ distance (at arm’s length, for example). It occasions an intimacy that closeness engenders—a closeness that makes possible a face-to-face encounter as well as a multisensory experience, since bodies close enough to touch can also see, hear, and smell one another. To stand in such proximity thus involves a bodily encounter, even if no corporeal contact takes place. Thanks to this kind of proximity, Mark’s Jesus engages in corporeal acts of healing without physical touch. For instance, to bring a paralyzed man to Jesus, residents of Capernaum remove a building’s roof and lower the man to where Jesus is. Though Jesus does not touch this man’s body, their bodies are within very close proximity of one another, thanks to extraordinary efforts of others who see this proximity as crucial. In such proximity, Jesus tells the man, ‘‘I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home,’’ which the man does.44 Healing takes place thanks to 82

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this man’s bodily proximity to Jesus’ body—a proximity that enables the man to have an ‘‘experience of the body of Jesus.’’ In a similar episode, Jesus heals a man’s withered hand without touching it, though they stand in close physical proximity to one another.45 These healings via proximity emphasize that, no matter how minimal, a trace of distance pervades even touch. In Chre´tien’s words, ‘‘to show that touch involves a sense of proximity is to show in it a sense of distance.’’46 Corporeally, this distance materializes in the layer of dead skin through which every touch passes, through which body touches and is touched. But this epidermal spacing, this metonymy of skin, designates the distance that mediates touch and, in so doing, renders touch as proximity. That is, ‘‘an untouchable in touch itself ’’ maintains this trace of distance and displacement that prevents touch from automatically involving a violent appropriation. The spacing that this untouchable element effects recalls the transcendental dimension of ‘‘the immanence of transcendence’’ and confirms that this transcendence resists appropriation or colonization. Though immanent, this transcendence remains transcendent. In this way, every touch engages ‘‘the immanence of transcendence’’; every touch involves and maintains a transcendental trace that thwarts appropriation. For Nancy, touching or being touched ‘‘without anything being appropriated [sans rien qui s’approprie]’’ is an act of love.47 Jesus’ healing and cleansing touch exemplifies a touch without appropriation, making his touches and their dynamic, even miraculous, effects acts of love. These touches and their performative effects take place through tactile contact, through bodily experiences of touching and being touched, reiterating the necessity of corporeality to enable and enact these effects. In other words, Mark’s Jesus does not heal and cleanse from afar; he heals and cleanses up close, in touchable proximity if not by touch; he heals and cleanses via contact, body to body, flesh to flesh, in events of skin. In a touching event, Jesus opens and exposes his body to an other, demonstrably reiterating that his corporeal, fleshly, mortal, human body is, like an other’s, ‘‘open and infinite . . . the opening of closure itself, the infinite of the finite itself.’’48 At the same time, he performatively insists that this risky opening maintains the discretion of two bodies, both of them touching and being touched, by maintaining an untouchability in every proximity and every touch. This untouchable trace secures this discretion and the respect without violence that it accords in refusing to appropriate or ravage an other’s body. This trace ensures that skin, there where bodies touch, serves as what Nancy describes as ‘‘limit—external edge, fracture and intersection of the stranger [l’e´tranger]. . . . Opening, discretion.’’49 For touch, opening Touching Transcendence, in the Flesh

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is discretion, which includes respect for alterity, for ‘‘the infinity proper to finitude.’’ Discretion recognizes that, in Luce Irigaray’s words, ‘‘between us there is always transcendence [la transcendance subsiste toujours entre nous],’’ thanks precisely to this between.50 This between, that untouchable element in every touch, ensures that body remains a limit, a site of discretion, even as opening to an other. Body names this living dying limit—eventive, finite yet a`-venir—traced by its corporeal contours of skin. Skin serves as that material limit that touch always touches; skin reaffirms with every touch that to touch is always to touch a limit. As Derrida recognizes, ‘‘one never touches anything except a limit [on ne touche jamais qu’une limite],’’ which means that ‘‘one never touches except by touching a limit at the limit [on ne touche jamais qu’en touchant une limite a` la limite].’’51 To touch is to touch the limit of skin, which materializes the limits of mortality. Touching always touches finitude in the fleshly limits of human living dying. In this way, to touch is to practice finitude. To touch is to practice discretion, respecting an other’s alterity by respecting ‘‘infinite finitude’’ in the between through which touching and being touched take place. But this between remains itself untouchable. This discretionary between, always ensuring that touching touches limits (in skin, finitude, mortality), marks a syncope that spaces, temporizes, and displaces any experience of touch as well as any synchronic, conceptually unified sense of touch. Hence, as Manning resonantly asserts, ‘‘to touch is a prosthetic gesture,’’ which makes touch ‘‘a prosthesis through which our bodies make contact,’’ in and through which ‘‘touch embodies difference.’’52 This syncope, the untouchable element in every touch, is, Derrida writes, ‘‘the originary intrusion, the ageless intrusion of technics, which is to say, of the graft or of the prosthesis . . . the caesuraed history [l’histoire ce´sure´e] of events, of irruptions . . . of the incommensurable singularities of which we speak’’ and ‘‘of spacing as what gives rise to [donne lieu a`] tekhne¯.’’53 Just as, Nancy maintains, ‘‘there is no ‘the death’ [il n’y a pas ‘la mort’],’’ so ‘‘there is no ‘the’ body, there is no ‘the’ touching [il n’y a pas ‘le’ corps, il n’y a pas ‘le’ toucher].’’54 Instead of ‘‘the’’ body, there is ‘‘tekhne¯ of bodies,’’ and rather than ‘‘the’’ touch, touch remains ‘‘local, modal, fractal.’’55 Touching stages a prosthetic event that takes place as a skin-event. Touching becomes an eventive tekhne¯ of skin, a bodily tekhne¯ that spaces, supplements, and exscribes corporeality. In this way, Nancy’s avowals that ‘‘there is no ‘the’ body’’ and ‘‘there is no ‘the’ touching’’ repeat one another, for body and touch effect one another. Body cannot live without touching and being touched, and touching cannot happen except as embodied. The prosthetic disruption of one disrupts the other. Therefore, 84

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body, touch, and what Derrida calls ‘‘technical supplementarity’’ exhibit their indissociability in the interrelated ex-positions that the last always already performs on the first two.56 Their indissociability comes via death. Their relation materializes in ‘‘this dead that I am living,’’ embodied in flesh that is always already dead there where touch takes place. If touch names a tekhne¯ of skin, it is one of dead skin, of the corporeal mortality whose layers form a human body’s outermost limit. By way of death, then, technics intrude on living, transforming it (always already) into ‘‘this dead that I am living.’’ This tekhne¯ of dead skin is also a tekhne¯ of discretion, since dead skin forms the exterior limit of finite corporeality. Hence bodily living dying remains shrouded in dead skin as the tangible trace of death—the death that a living dying human body continually survives and lives through in what thus becomes a posthumanous ex-istence. In addition, this spacing and supplementary tekhne¯ of living dying is a tekhne¯ of call and response. As touch, it is a double tekhne¯, inviting and responding in the double, tactile experience of touching and being touched. Jesus is called and calls through touch, often responding to a call by touching and, in touching, calling the one whom he touches and who touches him to health, to cleanliness, to friendship, to faith. His apostles repeat Jesus’ touching call-response as they anoint the sick with oil and, in doing so, cure them of diseases and restore their bodies to health.57 Jesus also responds tactilely to the corporeal calls of children and their parents, saying, ‘‘Let the little children come to me,’’ taking them in his arms, laying his hands on them, and offering them blessing.58 In these episodes, call and response pass in the untouchable between, the distance in proximity, via the corporeal contact of skins that open and expose themselves to one another. This mutual opening and exposure signal that, in Chre´tien’s words, ‘‘touch [le toucher] is the perpetual place of this exchange through which the nonidentical is identified [ou` s’identifie le nonidentique]’’ transitively.59 Touch engenders a tactile transit of love through an embodied recognition and respect of discretion and difference—of ‘‘infinite finitude,’’ of ‘‘the immanence of transcendence.’’ Divine Address As call and response, this transit also engenders the possibility of address and, with it, of ‘‘I’’ and ‘‘you.’’ This engendering allows for Jesus’ address to God in his final words from the cross, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’60 With these words, Jesus calls to God; Jesus apostrophically addresses these words to God, with to designating the untouchable, between space of transit. Address involves a call and a turn (a Touching Transcendence, in the Flesh

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turn toward an addressee) that open and expose the caller, Chre´tien writes, ‘‘in every sense of the word expose and with nothing held back [sans retenue],’’ including body, for this call ‘‘concerns our body. . . . Even he who turns toward the incorporeal does so corporeally, with all of his body.’’61 A call and turn to God perform embodied acts of prayer, which Chre´tien designates ‘‘the religious phenomenon par excellence,’’ and as a prayer, this call also responds (‘‘the response is in the call and reverberates in it’’) and constitutes ‘‘the event of an encounter [l’e´ve´nement d’une rencontre].’’62 This encounter in address-as-prayer, given its perforce corporeal dimension, becomes an event of touch in which the ‘‘you’’ of address represents the untouchable element of transcendence, which foregrounds finitude. Corporeal finitude, then, is what allows for address. Address (and hence prayer), like touch, is a tekhne¯ of limitation, of touching a limit and respecting the difference that this limit maintains. (This means that prayer, too, is a bodily tekhne¯ of limitation.) As opening and exposure, address, like touch, exposes weakness, fragility, vulnerability, at the limit. Such total exposure ‘‘in every sense of the word . . . and with nothing held back’’ is what Nancy terms ‘‘expeausition’’: an unsettling, decentering, exposition of living dying ex-istence in ‘‘an event of skin.’’63 Jesus experiences—suffers—such an expeausition in his crucifixion that most piercingly expresses itself in his final address-prayer to God, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ This passionate question constitutes a prayer in address, as Chre´tien recognizes: ‘‘a cry that would incriminate God [s’en prendraient a` Dieu] . . . can be a way of praying.’’64 Jesus’ prayer addressed to God, to ‘‘my God,’’ performs embodied tekhnai of turning and calling to the incorporeal that resound in the untouchable between separating incorporeal God from corporeal Jesus. It speaks in what Chre´tien describes as wounded words, ‘‘wounded [blesse´e] by the radical alterity of him to whom it speaks’’ in a scene of address.65 Moreover, Chre´tien continues, ‘‘not even for a single moment is the word separate from the trial [l’e´preuve],’’ which in Jesus’ case is his ordeal of crucifixion—an embodied ordeal of corporeal suffering.66 Wounded word and wounded body thus remain inseparable in this ordeal of painful prayer-address from the cross, supplementing the opening and exposure of prayer’s corporeal turning and calling. The prayerful, questioning words that Jesus exclaims from the cross, the words that are his last, effect with their exhalation total exposure, unveiling what Nancy describes as ‘‘most properly its proper body: Ecce homo.’’67 ‘‘Ecce homo’’ are, like ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ wounded and wounding words. They are words that expose 86

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themselves as corporeal in exposing body not only as wounded but as wound. As Nancy writes, ‘‘The whole body is only a wound [tout le corps n’est qu’une plaie].’’68 Body ex-ists as a fragile, fleshly, finite, living dying wound. This wound is a definitively human one that takes place in an expeausition (as a skin-event) corporeally realized in ‘‘ecce homo’’ and ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ For Jesus, the death that he lives (‘‘this dead that I am living’’) is a human one that survives the death of his divinity. On the cross, from which he issues his agonizing prayer-address to ‘‘my God,’’ Jesus lives and dies in his postdivine humanity and in his mortal and mortally wounded body. Only a postdivine Jesus could offer this prayer-address, which requires an untouchable distance between addresser and addressee. Having suffered and survived the wounding of his postdivine humanity, Jesus does not corporeally survive the mortal wounding that this embodied humanity suffers on the cross, where he dies. In a body that is a wound, which calls to God but receives no response, Jesus exposes his mortality as it touches its limit corporeally. Jesus on the cross materially illustrates that body, in its outer membrane of dead skin, finally opens itself as an exposition of mortality, in the flesh. Body exposes itself as it reaches its finite limits of living, when death arrives (always unexpectedly) as an event—‘‘an event of skin,’’ for death is a bodily event. Death must be a bodily event if body serves as its mortal exposition. Death brings about an ex-position, an expeausition, of living. Ultimately, this expeausition ex-poses the divine. According to Nancy, ‘‘bodies are the exposition of God,’’ but in the postdivine body of Jesus, this becomes the expeausition and death of God, especially if ‘‘ ‘God is dead’ means: God no longer has a body [Dieu n’a plus de corps].’’69 God’s bodily expeausition happens before Jesus’ crucifixion, at that moment when Jesus’ humanity outlives his divinity and he becomes postdivine. God no longer has a body as soon as God’s displacing expeausition from Jesus’ body takes place in an eventive spacing of humanity and divinity. This means that the death of Jesus’ divinity also marks the death of God—which is, as Derrida reminds, Christianity par excellence: ‘‘the death of God is a Christian theme. Nothing is more Christian than that.’’70 It also means that Jesus’ corporeal humanity outlives God. In his mortal, fleshly body, Jesus survives the death of God. (This survival would offer one potential explanation for why Jesus’ address-prayer from the cross goes unanswered.) Jesus lives on, surviving the death of the divine, the death of his divinity that takes place in him, as a postdivine survivor—at least for a little while. Touching Transcendence, in the Flesh

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Bodies expose. Bodies are, exposed. They exist as open and exposed to limits and limitations: of corporeality, of mortality, of experience. Experience is itself an experience of limits, a limit experience, that takes place at limits. As Jacques Derrida writes, ‘‘an experience is a crossing [une traverse´e] . . . it passes across [passe au travers] and voyages toward a destination,’’ and that destination is an edge, a limit.1 An experience is of an edge, at an edge, which means, Jean-Luc Nancy adds, that ‘‘experience is crossed [traverse´e], transports from edge to edge, transports incessantly from one edge to the other.’’2 This transport takes place via a dislocating movement of ex—an ex-position to an edge, where experience begins, with a touch. Touching a limit would inaugurate experience. In Derrida’s words, ‘‘experience in general would start there: it would begin by feeling itself touching a limit, feeling itself touched by a limit, and its own limit [sa propre limite].’’3 Touching (and being touched) would open experience at a limit, beginning with ‘‘its own limit,’’ namely, skin, body’s corporeal limit. Skin marks the edge of bodily finitude—and doubly so, as body’s physical limit and as already dead at that limit. Every touch, and therefore every experience, touches and is touched by mortal finitude in and through skin. In this way, skin materially reiterates Nancy’s avowal that ‘‘body itself is experience.’’4 Experience becomes a bodily experience; it becomes an experience of touch, of limit—which is also to say, of skin, since skin marks the mortal, material limit that body always touches and touches through. But 88

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skin is a living dying limit that constantly changes (via exfoliation), thereby stressing that this bodily edge of experience is not closed but open. Body remains open, exposed. Body, Nancy writes, ‘‘is the opening [l’ouvert]’’: ‘‘the opening of closure,’’ thanks to which body remains ex-posed.5 The ex that traverses experience maintains this opening, as Nancy suggests with the equation ‘‘auto ⳱ ex ⳱ body.’’6 Equating ex and body ensures that body remains open, for ex marks a sign of ex-position that engenders mediation, transitivity, passage, substitution (in other words, tekhne¯) in events of ex-pulsion, ex-pression, ex-tension, ex-cretion, ex-scription, and ex-istence. Because this ex-position occurs bodily, taken place via skin (peau), Nancy calls it an ‘‘expeausition.’’ This expeausition spaces and displaces body, which is exposed at the limit of experience: exposed to whatever might happen, to whoever might arrive—including God. Bodies expose God. ‘‘Bodies,’’ Nancy writes, ‘‘are the exposition of God’’: God’s exposure is bodily, taking place in human bodies, since ‘‘the body of God was the body of the human itself; the flesh of the human was the body that God has been given. . . . God has been made body, he has been extended and molded ex limon terrae.’’7 God’s bodily exposition takes place exemplarily in the body of Jesus, which (subject to a dislocating ex) becomes an open space of postdivine ex-position. Jesus’ body becomes the dislocating expeausition of God. This divine expeausition takes place as a bodily experience, so that this expeausition of God is, in Erin Manning’s words, ‘‘an experience of the body of Jesus’’—an experience in which transcendence and immanence cross in incarnation.8 Incarnation names a corporeal experience of mediation, transitivity, passage, and substitution at the nexus of immanence and transcendence, of humanity and divinity, in finitude. As corporeal experience, incarnation takes place, and must take place, within finitude, for finitude and infinity, like life and death, stand on the same side. In this way, finitude ruptures the metaphysical chasm separating immanence and transcendence, replacing it with a metonymic spacing. Incarnation is that spacing, for incarnation is ex-position corporealized. Fleshly incarnation allows ex-position to become expeausition. Incarnation thus marks a finite space of exscription, syncope, tekhne¯, which become bodily by passing into skin. Moreover, as Derrida remarks, ‘‘Incarnation, Logos, Transubstantiation, Passion are substitutions.’’9 These substitutions, all specific to Jesus in a Christian context, ex-pose the mediation of divinity via humanity in Jesus’ body, for each substitution names ‘‘an experience of the body of Jesus.’’ Ex reaffirms that incarnation is mediation, since, in and through Jesus’ body, ex would ex-pose and ex-scribe Jesus’ divinity in a bodily experience, a corporeal expeausition, of abandonment and dispersion. If ‘‘bodies The Tragedy of Christianity

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are the exposition of God,’’ Jesus’ body uniquely exposes God through the abandonment and dispersion that take place in Jesus’ postdivine, mortal death on the cross as the culmination of his Passion. His crucified body exposes the cross as a site through which corporeal human beings, Nancy writes, ‘‘are there ourselves opened, separated from ourselves, from all our places and from all our gods [de tous nos lieux et de tous nos dieux]. We are in this place, denuded.’’10 Jesus experiences this separation or dispersion (e´cart) as a spacing (e´cartement) and as a tearing (e´carte`lement): of his divinity from his humanity, of God from himself, and then of life from his body. Jesus’ crucified body becomes an exemplary expeausition of divine abandonment and dispersion, culminating in Jesus’ piercing, final cry, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’11 These words attest to an abandoned, exposed, postdivine Jesus who survives (survivre) the death and dispersion of his divinity in an experience of radical exposure in which (in Nancy’s words) God ‘‘flies into pieces [vole en ´eclats].’’12 In this way, ‘‘bodies are the exposition of God’’ resounds in Jesus’ passionate ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ With this questioning exclamation, Jesus articulates the expeausition that is an exposition of the divine, which takes place in Jesus’ dying flesh and receives articulation in Jesus’ dying cry. This divine expeausition realizes a spacing and a displacing of divinity from humanity in a corporeal experience of mediation, transitivity, passage, substitution. But this expeausition, as exposition, substitutes for an earlier corporeal spacing and displacing of Jesus’ body. Insofar as Incarnation, Transubstantiation, and Passion are substitutions—all of which depend on and take place via human corporeality—they form a metonymic chain of replacements and displacements. (That Incarnation names a bodily experience of mediation, transitivity, passage, and substitution, particularly vis-a`-vis ‘‘the immanence of transcendence,’’ underscores this point.) Consequently, the verbal profession of one expeausition recalls potential substitutes from other expeausitions. In other words, the verbal profession of Jesus’ Passion recalls the verbal profession of Jesus’ Transubstantiation, so that ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ relates metonymically to ‘‘this is my body [touto estin to so¯ma mou].’’13 Both of these professions, moreover, realize in corporeal terms that ‘‘bodies are the exposition of God.’’ Hoc Est Corpus Meum ‘‘This is my body’’ stages a different, prior expeausition that takes place during Jesus’ Last Supper. According to Mark’s account, ‘‘While they were eating, he [Jesus] took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke 90

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it, gave it to them, and said, ‘Take; this is my body [Sumite; hoc est corpus meum].’ ’’14 The bread that Jesus touches and distributes in this scene becomes, with his performative utterance, a substitute for Jesus’ living, human, fleshly body. This substitution forms the basis for Christian ritual celebrations of the Eucharist, which reenact this scene and reperform this substitution of bread for flesh. The Eucharist is an event of bodily substitution, of mediation and passage in the transitivity of touch and language. It is thus an ex-posing expeausition that displaces or disperses—or displaces and disperses—Jesus’ body into bread, which becomes bread-flesh. The event of Transubstantiation, sacramentally restaged in the Eucharistic ritual, enacts this expeausition in material, tangible terms, as bread becomes flesh—as bread becomes Jesus’ body. The ‘‘trans’’ of Transubstantiation indicates a crossing, a transit, that gives way to transitivity as an experience of touching: the Eucharist’s celebrant and participants touch Jesus’ body, which the bread becomes (‘‘this is my body’’). Hence the Eucharist allows them a tactile ‘‘experience of the body of Jesus,’’ which they touch, taste, ingest, and incorporate. These acts emphasize the proximity (and hence the finitude) of Jesus’ body to the body of one who receives the Eucharistic bread-flesh. They emphasize that the Eucharist is (doubly) a bodily event and experience that, as embodied, takes place in a unique, spatiotemporal ‘‘here’’ and ‘‘now.’’ Though the liturgical repetition of ‘‘this is my body’’ re-presents the Last Supper’s Transubstantiation, crossing space and time in a ritualized dislocation of divine expeausition, each repetition occurs singularly. Thus every ‘‘this is my body’’—or, in the Latin formulation that Nancy prefers, ‘‘hoc est enim corpus meum’’—is a unique act of divine exposition. ‘‘This is my body’’ follows an implicit, unrepeatable ‘‘here’’ and ‘‘now’’ that differentially dislocates and relocates this ritual repetition. Consequently, every hoc est enim corpus meum is, Nancy writes, ‘‘here and now [hic et nunc], hoc est enim. . . . Here, now, that is to say, according to this space, this beating, this breaking open of the substance that is the existing body, the absolutely corporeal existence,’’ which insists that hoc est corpus meum is each time ‘‘local, spaced, horizontal diction . . . in this case.’’15 That an implicit ‘‘here and now’’ precedes every ‘‘this is my body’’ allows for the corporeal, tactile ‘‘experience of the body of Jesus,’’ here and now, in the flesh. As an experience of Jesus’ body, which touches and is touched in the Eucharist, this proximate touching (as well as tasting and ingesting) is doubly corporeal: body touching body, flesh touching flesh—limit touching limit. This experience of touching is a tactile expeausition of God via body, via bread-flesh, via mediation and metonymy and transitivity. It is The Tragedy of Christianity

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an experience of bodies (in Nancy’s words) ‘‘exposed, body to body, edges to edges, touched and spaced.’’16 It is a bodily experience of opening and exposure, of a corporeal ex and its bodily movements of ex-position and expeausition, of ‘‘ex ⳱ body,’’ of body as divine exposition, of touching a limit at a limit, of touching as spacing thanks to the untouchable. Such an experience reaffirms Nancy’s statement that ‘‘a body is the otherproper edge [l’autre-propre bord]: a body . . . is thus also the traced, the tracing, and the trace [le trace´, le tracement et la trace] (here, see, read, take, hoc est enim corpus meum . . . ).’’17 With this, Nancy points to the untouchable element at the heart of every touch: the trace of distance in proximity (even absolute proximity), felt in the tracing of corporeal edges by the touch of skin. This triple trace makes explicit what Nancy implies by conjoining ‘‘touched and spaced’’: thanks to the untouchable, touching is always spacing. Nancy’s statement also recalls the Last Supper, in which (according to Mark’s account) Jesus precedes ‘‘this is my body’’ with an invitation: ‘‘take.’’ Jesus requests that his disciples take, by touching, the bread that he has blessed and broken and that becomes the bread-flesh body of Jesus, which Jesus’ human body has touched. In taking the bread, they follow Jesus’ appeal to accept his body as an offering. The ex-posing expeausition that Jesus performs by uttering ‘‘this is my body’’ is already exposed as a gift meant for distribution (the bread having been already broken). Hence the ‘‘take’’ that precedes and makes way for ‘‘this is my body’’ locates this Transubstantiation in a scene of donation and, therefore, dispersion, which Nancy describes as a ‘‘sending and divergence [envoi et ´ecart].’’18 ‘‘Take’’ opens a way for such ‘‘sending and divergence,’’ such donation and dispersion, through an address. Jesus addresses his disciples, those seated at table with him, with his inviting ‘‘take,’’ as a ‘‘local, spaced, horizontal diction’’ that contains the implicit ‘‘here and now’’ preceding ‘‘this is my body.’’ As an address, ‘‘take’’ sends and disperses itself to its addressees, who receive this address as they receive the distributed bread-flesh that Jesus offers (the bread-flesh that is the material referent of his ‘‘take’’). ‘‘Take’’ thus inaugurates a donating dispersion via address and touch, which intertwine here, for touching and taking the bread-flesh that Jesus gives involve, Nancy writes, ‘‘a touching, a touch that is like an address . . . it touches on the mode of being addressed [s’adresser], of being sent to [s’envoyer a`] the touch of an outside, of a hiding, of an opening, of a spacing [d’un dehors, d’un de´robe´, d’un ´ecarte´, d’un espace´].’’19 Both address and touch entail spacing and sending, distancing and disseminating—as does Jesus’ ‘‘take,’’ which refers to broken bread distributed among and ingested by his disciples. His ‘‘take’’ is therefore aneconomic, engendering 92

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a one-way relation of donation without return: Jesus says ‘‘take,’’ and he offers the gift of bread-flesh announced in ‘‘this is my body.’’ But ‘‘this is my body’’ contains an aporetic tension. ‘‘This’’ refers not to Jesus’ human, corporeal flesh but to the bread-cum-flesh that his skin touches as he holds it in his hands. If Jesus’ utterance effects a Transubstantiation in which (in a transitive act of spacing and displacing) this bread becomes Jesus’ material body, it is already no longer a whole body, since Jesus has already broken the bread. He immediately distributes the bread-body to his disciples, giving it away without the possibility of return, so that his dispersed body is no longer a body and no longer his body. This dispersal confirms a ‘‘sending and divergence’’ that happens as soon as Jesus says ‘‘my body,’’ addressed to the disciples and to the bread. As an apostrophic address, ‘‘my body [so¯ma mou]’’ presages Jesus’ cry from his cross addressed to ‘‘my God [theos mou],’’ reinforcing the relation of ‘‘this is my body’’ and ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’20 This relation finds additional reinforcement in the aporia of appropriation signaled by ‘‘my [mou]’’ and shared by both utterances. ‘‘My’’ functions grammatically as a possessive pronoun that, as such, designates ownership, custody, property. But neither ‘‘my body’’ nor ‘‘my God’’ successfully appropriates that which it addresses—quite the opposite, for Jesus’ ‘‘my body’’ and ‘‘my God’’ indicate abandonment rather than retention, forsakenness rather than security. These two cases thus echo Nancy’s declaration that ‘‘hoc est enim corpus meum: it is an impossible appropriation, it is the very impossibility of appropriation in general.’’21 The double expeausition of the divine, in bread and skin, renders its appropriation impossible. Abandon As a dispersion that precludes appropriation, Jesus’ ‘‘this is my body,’’ like his ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ addresses and touches an untouchable space. Nancy designates this space as ‘‘pas de dieu,’’ which can mean ‘‘step of God’’ or ‘‘no(t) of God,’’ though in either case ‘‘pas de dieu’’ involves a displacing movement that dislocates divinity.22 Nancy confirms this ex-posing shift, writing that ‘‘pas de dieu: that would mean the place of God really and largely open, vacant, abandoned, the divine infinitely undone [de´fait] and dispersed.’’23 ‘‘Pas de dieu’’ might also, however, designate absolute proximity—which amounts to the same thing, for in either case ‘‘pas de dieu’’ makes way for ‘‘sending and divergence,’’ since, according to Nancy, ‘‘pas de dieu might, however, carry the The Tragedy of Christianity

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invitation, the call, the Wink [sign] of a to-god [un a`-dieu]: going to god, or goodbye to all the gods [aller a` dieu, ou bien adieu a` tous les dieux].’’24 The ex-posing pas de dieu at play in Jesus’ ‘‘my body’’ and ‘‘my God’’ reveals that both of these impossible appropriations open onto divine abandonment: abandonment of God, abandonment to God, abandonment by God. Each of these possibilities involves a displacing step, in which divinity is ‘‘infinitely undone and dispersed.’’ ‘‘This is my body’’ performs this undoing and dispersing in offering and disseminating bread-flesh without return. The bread-body that Jesus designates as ‘‘my body’’ is torn and given, shattering any possibility of bodily wholeness. By breaking and distributing the bread he names ‘‘my body,’’ Jesus abandons unity and abandons himself to undoing. In this way, ‘‘this is my body’’ might mark Jesus’ divestment of divinity as he becomes postdivine. The metonymic ex-position of God in bodies of bread and flesh might occur the moment in which Jesus’ divinity is ‘‘infinitely undone and dispersed,’’ leaving a human Jesus open, exposed, abandoned—in short, pas de dieu. But this dispossession and divestment of divinity cannot take place reflexively. Jesus cannot divest himself of his divinity in an active, conscious, knowing way. Doing so would render this divestment an act of keno¯sis, or self-keno¯sis, in which Jesus temporarily gives up his divinity, knowing that it will return following his crucifixion and before his resurrection. Such a kenotic act would not subject Jesus’ humanity to its constitutive unknowability regarding what might or might not take place, what might or might not arrive as an unforeseeable event. It would foreclose his cry from the cross (‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’) since it would foreclose his being abandoned, vulnerable and unknowing. Hence ‘‘this is my body’’ must signal Jesus’ being divested, passively, of his divinity without his knowledge or consent. In this way, his postdivinity must arrive as an event: unforeseeably, without invitation or notice. Jesus must become postdivine thanks to an event that befalls him, an event that renders him postdivine through a process in which his divinity is ‘‘infinitely undone and dispersed’’—dispersed, like the bread-body that Jesus gives, without possibility of restitution or return. Phrased differently, Jesus must be abandoned by his divinity, so that his postdivine humanity that survives this abandonment abides in a pas de dieu, in which the place of God has become—and remains—‘‘open, vacant, abandoned.’’ Moreover, this pas de dieu opens as Jesus utters, ‘‘this is my body.’’ This opening of a pas de dieu in Jesus recalls Nancy’s understanding of (in his words) ‘‘the essence of Christianity as opening [ouverture] . . . the opening as distension, as rupture [e´cart],’’ as spacing.25 In other 94

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words, Christianity is opening, in this rupturing way that spaces and displaces, resulting in this pas de dieu and the abandonment that it entails. Christianity contains at its heart its own deconstruction (or autodeconstruction)—as it should and as it must if, according to Nancy, ‘‘deconstruction, which is possible only by means of this distension, is itself Christian. It is Christian because Christianity is, originally, deconstructive, since it relates from the start to its own origin as to a play, to an interval, a break, an opening in the origin.’’26 Christianity’s originarily deconstructive character exposes an interval, a break, an opening in the pas de dieu of Jesus, which depicts Jesus’ divine abandonment. This divine rupture and withdrawal from Jesus’ humanity confirm that Jesus is, Nancy writes, ‘‘himself abandoned by God.’’27 Jesus’ body becomes the site of this divine ex-position, this deconstruction of divinity, as Jesus is divinely abandoned and rendered postdivine, to which Jesus testifies as he queries from the cross, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ Passion This cry comes at the height of Jesus’ Passion, as his last linguistic act, for after this in Mark’s gospel, Jesus no longer speaks intelligibly. Jesus becomes incapable of speech, exclaiming only what Mark describes as ‘‘a loud cry,’’ after which Jesus ‘‘breathed his last.’’28 This apostrophic call to ‘‘my God’’ stands as Jesus’ final words before his bodily death, emphasizing that his cry is corporeal and mortal and finite. The limits of his skin mark his bodily finitude; the limits of his knowledge mark his human finitude, which forecloses any foreseeability of what remains a`-venir; the increasingly palpable limits of his life mark his mortal finitude. These limits, all of which implicitly mark the limits of his power, reiterate his fragility and vulnerability as he waits, completely exposed on the cross, for the event of his death to arrive as an expeausition, an event of skin. Like Incarnation and Transubstantiation, Passion is for Jesus a bodily experience. Passion stands in this metonymic chain of substitutes, each of which names an experience of ‘‘the immanence of transcendence,’’ of ‘‘the infinity proper to finitude,’’ that takes place in the flesh and thus recalls that, as Nancy observes, ‘‘transcendental experience is here.’’29 Furthermore, as an experience, passion is an experience of limits, of touching edges, which makes it a practical performance of finitude (particularly since passion requires finitude). As an experience—a bodily experience of corporeality—passion is an experience of spacing, of ex-position, which is why Nancy insists that ‘‘it is necessary to speak and think of experience as The Tragedy of Christianity

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‘wandering,’ ‘adventure,’ and ‘dance’ . . . in the end [pour finir], as passion itself.’’30 This dynamic, dislocating, unforeseeable (hence the ‘‘adventure’’) experience of passion is an eventive, fleshly ‘‘experience of the body of Jesus.’’ It is an expeausition that reiterates the deconstructive ‘‘opening in the origin’’ of Christianity, which Jesus experiences in his divine abandonment. This originary opening exposes, as Nancy explains, that ‘‘the origin is a passion.’’31 Like Incarnation and Transubstantiation, the Passion of Jesus designates a passion: an experience of ex, of disruption, of diffe´rance, spacing, and ex-position, all of which take place bodily. As an experience, passion must take place bodily insofar as ‘‘body itself is experience.’’ Jesus’ Passion embodies and exposes this movement of ex in the corporeal event of his crucifixion. Jesus’ crucifixion performs his ‘‘this is my body’’ as an eventive experience of flesh, not as a transitive substitution of bread and flesh but as an open ex-position of bodily passion. On the cross, Jesus exhibits the fleshy finitude constituting body and passion as experiences of spacing that take place as a touching of a limit. This limit is the impossible, which means that experience, as passion, touches the impossible. Passion, as experience, always touches on the impossible as the limit of finitude. Passion is, then, a limit-experience—which is to say, an experience, an experience (in Nancy’s words) ‘‘like any experience worthy of the name [comme toute expe´rience qui me´rite son nom],’’ for, as Derrida observes, ‘‘experience is touch, but there where it touches its limits [l’expe´rience est le toucher, mais la` ou` elle touche a` ses limites],’’ and ‘‘touch is finitude, period [le toucher, c’est la finitude, point].’’32 So, too, is passion. The passion of Jesus’ living dying body on the cross exposes finitude as it touches its mortal limits (at and as the impossible) as well as the untouchable element in every touch. Jesus’ crucified body exposes its finitude in exposing its skin to the impossibility of its mortality made tangible. It exposes what Derrida terms ‘‘an experience [pre´sentement] of death, and therefore of the living body,’’ an ‘‘experience of the body of Jesus’’ also opened by Transubstantiation of bread-made-flesh.33 In this way, ‘‘this is my body’’ attests to the elemental finitude of body, of living dying, of touch, of passion, of experience. ‘‘This is my body’’ attests to the inextricable relations of these expeausitions of finitude that touch in touching the limit of the impossible. Passion touches on the limit of the impossible as experience, which is always an experience of touching and, therefore, an experience of finitude. Passion always touches the impossible as limit, for, as Nancy asserts, ‘‘passion is always destined to [voue´e a`] the impossible. It does not transform it in/into the possible [en possible], it does not master it; it is dedicated 96

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[elle s’y voue], it is exposed, passive at the limit where the impossible comes, that is to say, where everything comes . . . and where the impossible lets/abandons/entrusts itself to be reached, as the limit [ou` l’impossible se laisse atteindre, comme la limite].’’34 Passion involves a dynamic ex-position thanks to which it advances to (a`) the impossible. To evinces a movement of sending and dispersing whose end remains unforeseeably a`-venir. Hence to bears a kinship with the untouchable, an interval of spacing that to signifies linguistically. To marks the interval in which an opening and exposing of finitude take place, and this opening and exposing make possible a movement of sending and dispersing in which passion can realize its destination (or dedication) to the impossible. To thus denotes the dynamism of ex-position that engenders these movements through which passion touches its finitude in touching the impossible as limit. These movements of to vis-a`-vis touch parallel those of address, in which an addresser addresses himself or herself to an addressee, sending an address to an other. Jesus’ linked addresses of ‘‘this is my body’’ and ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ participate in movements of to as that untouchable space that preserves distance and difference and, in so doing, preserves the possibility of experiencing ‘‘the immanence of transcendence.’’ In this way, a` as to or toward recalls the a of diffe´rance. In Nancy’s words, ‘‘the ‘a’ of diffe´rance reinscribes itself accentuated in ‘a`’ ’’ as ‘‘distance, direction, intention, attribution, ´elan, passage, gift, transport, trance, and touch,’’ gestures through which ‘‘finitude affirms itself.’’35 This doubled a/a` metonymically names the interval or syncope of the untouchable, which Derrida describes as ‘‘interruption, interposition, detour of the between [l’entre] in the middle of contact.’’36 The ex-posing that takes place via a` opens itself to prosthetics—such as touch and call, each a tekhne¯ of finitude. Jesus’ two addresses affirm his finitude, which he exposes in performing these addresses. His opening and exposure are what allow him to send and disperse his call or his body and what let him touch an impossible limit. Jesus touches this impossible limit most palpably in his expeausition on the cross, an experience of passion in which his living, dying, fleshly humanity is ex-posed as thoroughly and singularly finite. Jesus’ corporeal crucifixion reiterates Nancy’s identification of opening as ‘‘the essence of Christianity,’’ which makes the cross the site of this opening and expeausition. Moreover, in the event of Jesus’ crucifixion, Nancy suggests, ‘‘ ‘the cross of Christianity’ . . . is simultaneously constituted and undone [se constitue et simultane´ment se de´fait].’’37 As the space of Jesus’ crucifixion, the apex of his bodily passion, the cross opens a space in which a deconstruction of Christianity becomes possible. The cross is where a deconstruction of Christianity would take place since a deconstruction of The Tragedy of Christianity

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Christianity would involve, as Derrida writes, a deconstruction ‘‘of the Christian body, a deconstruction of Christian ‘flesh,’ ’’ which would open a space for ‘‘an other experience of the body: an other body and an other corpus [une autre expe´rience du corps: un autre corps et un autre corpus].’’38 A deconstruction of Christianity would therefore be a bodily event. More specifically, a deconstruction of Christianity would be an eventive ‘‘experience of the body of Jesus’’ and, consequently, an exposition of God. Jesus’ postdivine, living dying, human body, which experiences the passion of crucifixion as a corporeal event of mortality, singularly embodies a divine expeausition in an open, exposed, finite body that survives the death of divinity. Jesus’ flesh ex-poses the divine, becoming on the cross the bodily space in and through which a deconstruction of Christianity takes place. Via the metonymic, eventively corporeal chain of Incarnation, Transubstantiation, and Passion, Jesus experiences opening, exposing, sending, interrupting, and diverging, in the flesh. Jesus suffers these passions bound to the impossible as limit experiences, as experiences that touch the limit of the impossible ‘‘where everything comes.’’ These passionate touches find articulations in Jesus’ corporeal addresses, ‘‘this is my body’’ and ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ These addresses announce deconstructive expeausitions of Christianity that disseminate body and divinity, thereby deconstructing Christianity by way of Christian flesh in an ex-posing opening at the heart of Christianity itself—a deconstructive opening that, Nancy points out, ‘‘is precisely possible only from within Christianity [a` l’inte´rieur du christianisme]’’ and, more specifically, from within finite, Christian flesh.39 Touching Tragedy At the heart of Christianity, in the flesh, stands tragedy. In Nancy’s words, ‘‘even in the very heart of Christianity, beginning with Christ’s cry of abandonment, one can still find the trace—never quite effaced—of this pain [de cette peine, on trouverait la trace jamais tout a` fait efface´e jusqu’en plein coeur du christianisme, de`s le cri d’abandon du Christ],’’ a pain and suffering that ‘‘begin with existence and end with it, and this end gives pain and suffering to those who survive.’’40 Here, ‘‘those who survive’’ seems to refer to those who mourn the death of an other: those who survive the death of a loved one, for example, experience the pain and suffering of living on without that loved one. But in a posthumanous context, ‘‘those who survive’’ can refer to living as itself living on. In addition, ‘‘those who survive’’ can have a singular sense for Jesus as posthumanous and postdivine. In his mortal passion and death, Jesus experiences pain 98

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and suffering that begin and end with existence, suggesting that they are coextensive with living and thus with corporeality. This claim resonates with Nancy’s assertion that ‘‘the whole body is only a wound [tout le corps n’est qu’une plaie].’’41 Body becomes an expeausition of a wound that, Jean-Louis Chre´tien insists, remains inseparable from a trial. For Jesus, this trial is his passion that culminates in his crucifixion. On the cross, Jesus’ body exposes itself as wound—fragile, weak, vulnerable, finite—which Jesus conveys in crying out, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ This address itself wounds Jesus: according to Chre´tien, Jesus is ‘‘wounded by the radical alterity of him to whom it speaks.’’42 Jesus’ final, wounding words articulate a question that goes unanswered, which exposes the withdrawal of God and the postdivinity of Jesus on the cross. Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe identifies God’s withdrawal as ‘‘the ‘occidental’ experience, tragic still [l’expe´rience ‘occidentale,’ tragique encore]’’—a tragic experience that Jesus experiences as a flesh wound, as flesh-wound, and as pas de dieu.43 Divinity’s withdrawal is a tragic experience singularly and especially for Jesus, for whom this withdrawal (itself a performative movement of a`Dieu, with a` signaling sending and dispersion) becomes the death of divinity that he experiences—and that he survives. This withdrawal inflicts a wound on Jesus’ humanity (which is to say, his corporeality), so that divine exodus further ex-poses Jesus’ flesh as wound(ed). This fleshwound stands as the material, ineffaceable, dermal trace of pain and suffering, which reaches its agonizing apogee on the cross. Jesus’ cry to a withdrawn or dead God (‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’) testifies not only to God’s withdrawal or to Jesus’ postdivine survival but also to the ineffaceability of the pain that Jesus suffers. This cry also testifies to Occidental tragedy’s arrival (in Nancy’s words) ‘‘at its extremity,’’ which Jesus experiences as ‘‘the (exstatic?) ex-position to the abyss.’’44 What Nancy here names ‘‘abyss’’ is another name for the impossible limit on which experience (particularly Jesus’ crucifixion experience) touches. Postdivine, Jesus experiences the divine (including his own divinity) as, in Nancy’s words, ‘‘bursting [e´clatement], dispersion, suspension’’; postdivine, Jesus ‘‘touches on the extremity, on the limit, on the truth, on the trial [touche a` l’extre´mite´, a` la limite, a` la ve´rite´, a` l’e´preuve]’’ of experience, especially in suffering and dying on the cross (having survived the death of his divinity), an experience that ‘‘leaves open impossible experience [laisse ouverte l’expe´rience impossible].’’45 Jesus’ passionate experience reavows that ‘‘passion is always destined to [voue´e a`] the impossible,’’ open and exposed and ‘‘passive at the limit The Tragedy of Christianity

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where the impossible comes, that is to say, where everything comes.’’ Passion, the impossible, and tragedy entwine, in Jesus’ experiences of divine expeausition and in a deconstruction of Christianity. This entwining exposes a double deconstruction of tragedy and Christianity at and as the heart of Occidental experience. Nancy acknowledges this in writing that ‘‘the deconstruction of tragedy and of Christianity—of their combination [assemblage]’’ exposes ex-istence at the limit, facing the potential of ‘‘eclipse, syncope, or collapse [effondrement]’’—in other words, mortal finitude, in the flesh.46 Jesus faces and experiences this double deconstruction in his double passions—double trials—of death: of his divinity and then of his humanity. Impossible Opening This double deconstruction of tragedy and Christianity intertwines so that tragedy and Christianity touch as names for limit-experiences of passion, finitude, and mortality experienced as corporeal matters. Jesus’ passionate cry from the cross, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ (which touches on and recalls ‘‘this is my body’’) embodies this consummate expeausition of Christianity as tragedy, there in its most tragic scene and at its most tragic moment. In this apostrophic address to a withdrawn God, Jesus performatively substantiates this divine withdrawal and abandonment that leaves him pas de dieu as he confronts the impossibility of his death. His death realizes the undoing and dispersing of his living dying humanity in a dissemination that parallels the undoing and dispersing of the divine: in a move of extreme rupture that takes place at the limit of the impossible. Moreover, Jesus’ address remains interrogatory, lingering as an unanswered question lacking response or resolution. In this way, Jesus’ final question-call performs tragedy’s quintessential unresolvability that leaves it open-ended. Tragedy, like Jesus’ human life in Mark’s gospel, ends without conclusion. Such a conclusion remains a`-venir—and unforeseeably so. As Terry Eagleton observes, ‘‘Jesus’ death is genuinely tragic . . . because his death seemed to him a cul-de-sac, as his despairing scriptural quotation on the cross would suggest.’’47 As postdivine, Jesus cannot see what remains a`venir, which ensures that he cannot see beyond the limits of his mortal finitude. Hence ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ exclaims a genuinely passionate suffering, which Jesus experiences in the destitution of divinity. The passion that his finitude engenders and that motivates his tragic cry forecloses any possibility of reflexive, kenotic activity on the part of Jesus. Eagleton recognizes this impossibility, writing 100

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that ‘‘if his [Jesus’] death was a mere device for rising again in glory, a kind of reculer pour mieux sauter, then it was no more than a cheap conjuring trick.’’48 Instead, ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ announces Jesus’ sincere weakness and vulnerability. His tragic cry exposes his dereliction and destitution, thereby exposing that Jesus survives as postdivine to live (in Eagleton’s words) ‘‘the destitute condition of humanity . . . all the way through, pressed to the extreme limit.’’49 As human, as destitute, Jesus touches the limit of the impossible in an embodied experience of the passion of finitude. That passion, the impossible, and tragedy touch at this open, exposed limit of Christianity also affirms the extreme, ex-posing character of passion as an experience of and at the limit—an experience that touches the impossible. Jesus’ extraordinary, corporeal suffering demonstrates one such experiential expeausition that ex-poses divinity and humanity by way of skin. Tragic Christianity follows Jesus’ example by taking to heart the experience of extreme bodily suffering, so that tragic Christianity is corporeal Christianity, a Christianity whose finite, fleshly corporeality is insistent and undeniable. Tragic Christianity is also impossible Christianity, or a Christianity that touches and embraces the aporias that the passion of the impossible exposes. This Christianity at the limits recognizes, as Nancy does, that ‘‘it is the impossible that takes place.’’50 The impossible is what takes place; the impossible is what happens—and happens as the impossible, as and at the limit that experience touches. This experience of touching is ineluctably corporeal, so that (in Nancy’s words) ‘‘body is the experience of touching indefinitely on the untouchable.’’51 Body touches the untouchable in a limit-experience of the impossible. In this touch, body exposes itself as the space where passion, the impossible, and tragedy touch. Body locates the nexus of a Christianity that is passionate and tragic—and passionate and tragic because it is bodily. A passionate, tragic Christianity is, then, a corporeal Christianity of ex-position and spacing that touches the untouchable limit of the impossible. Such a Christianity acknowledges that the impossible, to which passion remains dedicated, delineates the limit ‘‘where everything comes,’’ making it the limit that opens experience and, with it, ‘‘the immanence of transcendence.’’ Acknowledging this implicitly acknowledges that, in Nancy’s words, ‘‘the whole of experience is there, in nuce, in the experience of the body—in the experience that the body is,’’ in its ‘‘infinite finitude.’’52 The infinite dimension ensures that body remains open and exposed to whatever might happen, but the finite dimension assures that whatever might happen remains unforeseeably a`-venir, arriving as an experiential event The Tragedy of Christianity

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that takes place corporeally. Nancy describes this as ‘‘the in-finite [l’infini] of the corpus,’’ that dislocating expeausition thanks to which ‘‘a body spaces itself [s’espace]. . . . It exscribes itself [s’excrit] as body: spaced, it is a dead body’’ in ‘‘the space of an opening [ouverture].’’53 This in-finite spacing, as an opening, becomes a dynamic space of a deconstruction of Christianity, particularly since the heart of Christianity is opening and rupture.54 That this deconstructive spacing takes place by way of body reiterates that passion, the impossible, and tragedy touch in body, in an irreducibly corporeal Christianity as a limit-experience, in the flesh. Jesus’ passionate exposure of his flesh-wound on the cross embodies the tragic limit that this corporeal Christianity touches. His crucified body performs the expeausition articulated in ‘‘this is my body,’’ to whose vulnerable limits ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ testifies. Jesus’ postdivine body ex-poses itself in its living dying flesh that, as such, becomes the exposition of God before dying on the cross. In the words of Alphonso Lingis, ‘‘it is to that extremity of exposure that one must go if one is to find within oneself the splintering of the forms and surfaces’’ that realize themselves in Jesus’ body, which, as ‘‘a body crucified . . . by the Word of which it was wholly the enfleshment, is an icon of the fatality of ideas and their fatal effect on the body.’’55 Jesus’ crucified body goes to this tragic ‘‘extremity of exposure’’ in which it experiences the fragile passivity of posthumanous, postdivine living dying at its mortal limits. In doing so, it exposes tragic Christianity as an affirmation. A tragic Christianity that touches the limit of the impossible affirms the finitude that this limit delineates—the finitude that opens the possibility of experience, of dying and thus of living. Jesus’ ex-posed, material body that lives and dies on the cross performatively avows that Christianity, as a matter of experience, is a matter of body—which means a matter of living and dying. That Jesus dies a mortal death in a postdivine, corporeal body entails a recognition and acceptance of finitude, of limits and limitations, of the contingency of living dying and its unknowable future (l’avenir) that remains a`-venir. Such recognition and acceptance happen from or on the side of life, which is why tragedy in this sense might be better named the tragic sense of life, for tragedy names a vital affirmation that says yes to human living dying and the passions that this involves. The only Christianity that can touch the limits of the impossible and can so radically affirm living is a tragic, embodied, passionate, ex-posed Christianity.

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Tragedy, Christianity, and the impossible cross in Jesus’ mortal body and, more specifically, in this body’s expeausition. Jesus attests to this extreme exposure, with its implicit vulnerability, by attesting to his finitude in his interwoven articulations of ‘‘this is my body’’ and ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ Their entwining becomes manifest in and through Jesus’ postdivinity: his postdivine survival of the death of his divinity and the palpable realization of his human limits and limitations, to which these two statements testify. Jesus lives on as postdivine and posthumanous; he, like Antigone, lives on between two deaths in a corporeal, living dying survival that exemplarily performs an expeausition and ex-position of God and, with God, of humanity and divinity. Hence Jesus, like Antigone, puts humanity (and humanism) on trial, but he does so in a different way, or in a different register: vis-a`-vis divinity. He, like Antigone, test-drives a mode of survival—in his case, a trial run of postdivinity. Jesus is postdivine as Antigone is posthumanous, both of which open possibilities for new experiences and relations of humanity and divinity. But Jesus’ postdivinity receives its crucial expression in his ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ a cry motivated by the intense, excruciating trial (ordeal) that Jesus suffers in inseparable experiences of destitution and crucifixion. Their inseparability underscores that this trial remains one of extreme, corporeal affliction. This trial is inescapably and ineradicably bodily.

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Furthermore, the inextricability of postdivinity’s trial run from the trying ordeal of Jesus’ mortal body stresses the necessarily tragic dimensions of Jesus’ trials—in all three registers: examination, test, and ordeal. Thus in tragedy, Jesus and Antigone come together again, and together they aver, with Jacques Lacan, that ‘‘tragedy is at the root [a` la racine] of our experience.’’1 They aver Lacan’s statement, affirming in the process tragedy’s ineluctability from human experience—which is to say, from embodied, mortal experience. They aver that tragedy is a way of living: that tragedy names a vital affirmation of living as living dying or as living on (survivre). Antigone and Jesus embody and perform their tragic affirmations by living on, posthumanously and postdivinely. Jesus’ postdivine survival, the survival of his humanity after the death of his divinity, survives the death of divinity—the death of God—in Occidental monotheism(s). His survival, which reaches its tragic apex in the destitute affliction of his crucifixion, pointedly evinces Jean-Luc Nancy’s remark that ‘‘our experience of the divine is the experience of its desertion,’’ particularly insofar as ‘‘God died in the West [Dieu est mort dans l’Occident].’’2 Jesus’ postdivine survival of this Occidental, divine death opens or uncovers questions about the survival of Christianity—questions that become more exigent given Nancy’s axiom that ‘‘Christianity is inseparable from the West,’’ to the point that Christianity ‘‘is coextensive with the West.’’3 Can Christianity survive, live on, only by way of or by grace of a deconstruction? Might Christianity survive only through a deconstruction that the postdivine body of Jesus tragically unfurls? What implications would a deconstruction of Christianity engender for the West, especially if, as Nancy proffers, ‘‘to deconstruct Christianity is to accompany the West to this limit [jusqu’a` cette limite]’’—if, that is, to deconstruct Christianity is to try the West (in a triple sense)?4 Jesus’ experience of living on as postdivine opens the impossible possibility of (an experience of ) a deconstruction of Christianity, as Jesus’ postdivine body, which confirms tragedy’s vital affirmation, embodies and performs a deconstruction of Christianity. More specifically, Jesus’ postdivine body embodies and performs a deconstruction of a Christianity, rather than the deconstruction of (the) Christianity, especially insofar as Nancy identifies ‘‘the essence of Christianity as opening [ouverture]: opening of self and self as opening’’ on ‘‘a ground without ground [un fond sans fond] of indefinite opening’’ and exposition.5 As opening and exposition, no Christianity can ever finally stand as the Christianity, with all of the universalizing, normalizing, disaffirming erasures that ‘‘the’’ silently executes. (For the same reasons, no deconstruction can every finally stand as the deconstruction.) Remaining opening to and embracing differences 104

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within Christianity come with recognizing and affirming a tragic vein that flows through Christianity—a vein that a deconstruction lays bare, one that keeps Christianity, or Christianities, open and exposed to alterities from within and without. Through his extreme exposure and exposition, Jesus opens Christianity in this deconstructive way, with his experience of postdivine survival an experience of a deconstruction of a Christianity: one engendered and galvanized by Jesus’ ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ (together with ‘‘this is my body’’) and thus one interwoven in the braid of embodiment, mortality, divinity, and tragedy. His passionate experience is of the impossible (particularly in view of Jacques Derrida’s suggestion that ‘‘deconstruction would perhaps be ‘the experience of the impossible’ ’’)6 that remains au-dela` and a`-venir until it arrives (if it arrives) unforeseeably, and as a trial. Jesus’ tragic, embodied, affirming, postdivine deconstruction of a Christianity, which resonates with Antigone’s tragic, embodied, affirming, posthumanous deconstruction of humanity, tellingly finds expression in a question, especially one that—like tragedy, like Christianity, like mortality—resists resolution and remains without answer. These questions (Antigone’s and Jesus’ as well as those of tragedy, Christianity, and mortality), as eventive openings to the impossible, recall this text’s invocation: ‘‘I am on trial.’’ But they crack open, ex-pose, and thereby modify this triple announcement, so that it undoes itself by questioning itself, or by containing a question at the heart of its assertion. As Derrida writes, they substitute ‘‘for the closed and unique ‘I’ the openness of a ‘Who?’ ’’ as a persistent query to which any response can only ever be a trial, in a triple sense.7 This ‘‘Who?’’ reveals that the trial continues to unfold, as examination, test, and ordeal, each of which presses on toward the limits where possibility and impossibility touch and where events—trials—take place. I am on trial. Yes, but who?

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Invocation 1. Jean-Luc Nancy, introduction to Who Comes After the Subject? ed. Eduardo Cadava, Peter Connor, and Jean-Luc Nancy (New York: Routledge, 1991), 5. 2. Putting ‘‘the subject’’ on trial includes interrogating both words in this formulation, since here (as elsewhere) ‘‘the’’ at once normalizes, nominalizes, and hypostasizes an adjective and expunges potential differences under the sign of a universalizing singular. 3. Avital Ronell, The Test Drive (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2005), 5. 4. This quotation comes from an interview that appears in Lire Le´vinas, by Salomon Malka (Paris: E´ditions du Cerf, 1984), 108, and is cited in translation by Ronell in The Test Drive, 63. Levinas’s suggestive preference evokes the hermeneutic potential of ´epreuve, which Le Petit Robert defines as ‘‘1. souffrance, malheur, danger qui ´eprouve le courage, la re´sistance V affliction, malheur, peine, souffrance; 2. ce qui permet de juger la valeur d’une ide´e, d’une qualite´ intellectuelle ou morale, d’une oeuvre, d’une personne, etc.; 3. ope´ration par laquelle on juge les qualite´s, la valeur d’une chose V essai, expe´rience, expe´rimentation, test.’’ Sharing Levinas’s preference, particularly in this context, I translate ´epreuve as ‘‘trial’’ throughout this text. 5. Ronell, The Test Drive, 19, 10, 9. With respect to ‘‘the experienceability and constitution of reality in general,’’ Ronell’s observation that ‘‘the elliptical circuit . . . between testing and the real often works to cancel [or at least confuse] the difference between them’’ alludes to the practice of ‘‘reality testing’’ (to say 107

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nothing of the reality principle) so important in psychoanalytic discourses. Sigmund Freud’s most thorough description of this practice comes in his 1917 essay ‘‘A Metapsychological Supplement to the Theory of Dreams,’’ and this practice takes on an added dimension in view of Jacques Lacan’s articulation of the real as one of three psychoanalytic orders. 6. For one such attempt with respect to Antigone, see George Steiner, Antigones (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996). 7. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Comme si c’e´tait possible, ‘within such limits’ . . . ,’’ 303, in Papier Machine (Paris: Galile´e, 2001), 283–319; translated by Benjamin Ellwood with Elizabeth Rottenberg as ‘‘As If It Were Possible, ‘Within Such Limits’ . . . ,’’ 357, in Negotiations: Interventions and Interviews, 1971–2001, ed. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), 343–70. Here and throughout, I cite existing English translations (to which I am indebted) of Derrida’s and Nancy’s texts, though I frequently modify these translations based on the French texts. For ease of reference, after an initial citation of a text available in translation, subsequent references give first English and then original language paginations. 8. Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus (Paris: E´ditions Me´tailie´, 2000), 89, 16; reprinted with a translation by Richard A. Rand in Corpus (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), 100, 14. References to Corpus are to the French and give paginations from the Fordham and then the Me´tailie´ editions. Translations of Corpus are my own. In a text dedicated to Nancy’s oeuvre, Derrida offers a complementary remark, noting that ‘‘spacing [espacement]’’ is ‘‘what gives place [donne lieu] to tekhne¯.’’ See Jacques Derrida, Le toucher, Jean-Luc Nancy (Paris: Galile´e, 2000), 137; translated by Christine Irizarry as On Touching—Jean-Luc Nancy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), 119. I consider these quotations and their relations in greater detail (with respect to Derrida) in chapter 2 and (with respect to Nancy) in chapters 4 and 5. 9. Ronell, The Test Drive, 18. 1. Impossible Love 1. Jacques Derrida, Apories: Mourir—s’attendre aux ‘‘limites de la ve´rite´’’ (Paris: Galile´e, 1996), 25; translated by Thomas Dutoit as Aporias: Dying— Awaiting (One Another at) the ‘‘Limits of Truth’’ (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993), 8. 2. George Steiner, Antigones (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 1. Steiner goes on to illustrate Antigone’s—and tragedy’s—abiding influence in Occidental thought by suggesting that ‘‘to philosophize after Rousseau and Kant, to find a normative conceptual phrasing for the psychic, social, and historical condition of man, is to think ‘tragically.’ ’’ See Steiner, Antigones, 2. 3. G. W. F. Hegel, Aesthetics, trans. T. M. Knox (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1975), 464. 4. Jacques Lacan, Le se´minaire, livre VII: L’e´thique de la psychanalyse, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller (Paris: E´ditions du Seuil, 1986), 285, 290; translated by 108

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Dennis Porter as The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1959–1960) (New York: Norton, 1997), 243, 247. The center of this seminar is Lacan’s analysis of Antigone. 5. Sophocles, Antigone, trans. Ruby Blondell (Newburyport, Mass.: Focus Classical Library, 1998), 28–30. References to Antigone give line numbers that correspond in Greek and English. Greek citations and references are from Sophocles, Antigone, ed. Mark Griffith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). 6. Simone Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes, ed. Andre´ A. Devaux and Florence de Lussy (Paris: Gallimard, 1988–), 2.2.333. References to Weil’s Oeuvres comple`tes give first (when applicable) cahier and manuscript numbers from Weil’s original journals and then tome, volume, and page numbers in the Oeuvres comple`tes. Translations of Weil’s texts are my own. 7. Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes, 2.2.334. 8. Luce Irigaray, Le Temps de la diffe´rence: Pour une re´volution pacifique (Paris: Librarie Ge´ne´rale Franc¸aise/Livre de Poche, 1989), 84, 81; translated by Karin Montin as Thinking the Difference: For a Peaceful Revolution (New York: Routledge, 1994), 70, 67. It is worth noting that in 1974 Irigaray proposed to organize her teaching around Antigone and that in 2006–7 she presented on multiple occasions a public lecture entitled ‘‘Between Myth and History: The Tragedy of Antigone,’’ which testifies to the enduring influence of Antigone on Irigaray’s work. 9. Sophocles, Antigone 523 (Blondell); Sophocles, Antigone, trans. Paul Woodruff (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2001), 523. I draw on Blondell’s and Woodruff ’s translations throughout. Both Blondell and Woodruff note that Antigone here uses new words to express her experience of love. I follow their lead in suggesting that Antigone’s is an inaugural use of philia. 10. Sophocles, Antigone, 905–12 (Blondell). Woodruff ’s translation of lines 911–12 (‘‘But my mother and my father lie in the land of death,/And there is no ground to grow a brother for me now [ouk est adelphos ostis an blastoi pote]’’) emphasizes Antigone’s connection with the earth and offers, quite unusually, an agricultural metaphor to describe human reproduction. This metaphor’s mention of ‘‘land’’ and ‘‘ground’’ recalls the domineering relation that humanity bears to earth in the chorus’s Ode to Man (332–75), its hymn to humanism. See Sophocles, Antigone, 338–41. 11. Jacques Derrida, Glas (Paris: Galile´e, 1974), 169; translated by John P. Leavey Jr. and Richard Rand as Glas (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), 150. 12. Derrida, Aporias, 61/112. 13. Sophocles, Antigone, 48 (Blondell). 14. Sophocles, Antigone, 791 (Woodruff ), 798 (Woodruff ), 790 (Blondell). The choral ode to ero¯s comes in the third stasimon (781–800). Like love, madness is a recurring theme in Antigone (see, among others, 4, 98, 332–33, 424–28, 584–625, 765, and 960), and it would be illuminating to trace its appearances Notes

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and ascriptions throughout the play, paying particular attention to its sexualizations. 15. Sophocles, Antigone, 781 (Blondell), 800 (Blondell). 16. Given that Antigone sides with the chthonic god Hades, who belongs to an older order of gods, while Kreon aligns himself with the heavenly god Zeus, king of the newer, Olympian gods, Antigone becomes a dramatic clash of divine orders. It thus recalls Aeschylus’ Oresteia, a tragic trilogy that stages a theological replacement of old gods (in this case, the Furies) with new gods (in this case, represented by Apollo). See Aeschylus, Oresteia, trans. Peter Meineck (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1998), esp. 115–60. Unlike the Oresteia, however, Antigone does not discernibly resolve this clash of divinities. 17. Sophocles, Antigone, 90 (Blondell), my emphasis. Ismene adds a foreshadowing warning two lines later when she says that ‘‘one should not hunt for the impossible at all.’’ The chorus builds on this warning by mentioning an ‘‘impossible sickness’’ in its Ode to Man. See Sophocles, Antigone, 92 and 363, as well as Blondell’s footnote on ame¯chanos. 18. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Comme si c’e´tait possible, ‘within such limits’ . . . ,’’ 308, in Papier Machine (Paris: Galile´e, 2001), 283–319; translated by Benjamin Ellwood with Elizabeth Rottenberg as ‘‘As If It Were Possible, ‘Within Such Limits’ . . . ,’’ 361–62, in Negotiations: Interventions and Interviews, 1971–2001, ed. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), 343–70. Derrida continues: ‘‘from the very heart of the im-possible, one would thus hear [entendrait ainsi] the pulsion or the pulse of a ‘deconstruction.’ ’’ 19. Slavoj Zˇizˇek, On Belief (New York: Routledge, 2001), 84; John D. Caputo, On Religion (New York: Routledge, 2001), 10. Elsewhere, Caputo describes the impossible as ‘‘the incoming of the tout autre, the excess or breach that exceeds and shocks,’’ that makes room for ‘‘the dream of the impossible, the dream of the emergence of something different, something that disturbs the sleep of the rule of the same, something shocking, provocative, evocative, tout autre. For the trace makes the other possible and impossible, allowing a shock to the system of the same that forces the same (possible) open and opens it to a difference it did not expect or see coming (the impossible).’’ See John D. Caputo, The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion Without Religion (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), 22–23. 20. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Une certaine possibilite´ impossible de dire l’e´ve´nement,’’ 84, in Dire l’e´ve´nement, est-ce possible? (Montre´al: L’Harmattan, 2001), 79–112; translated by Gila Walker as ‘‘A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event,’’ 443, Critical Inquiry 33 (Winter 2007): 441–61. Derrida, ‘‘As If It Were Possible, ‘Within Such Limits’ . . . ,’’ 344/285, 360/307. 21. Derrida, ‘‘A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event,’’ 443/84. In this way, Derrida maintains, ‘‘yes’’ says ‘‘yes to who or what arrives [oui, a` l’arrivant], before any determination, before any anticipation, before any identification,’’ regardless, whether who or what arrives is ‘‘a foreigner, an immigrant, an invited guest or an unexpected visitor . . . the citizen of another country, a 110

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human, animal, or divine being, living or dead, male or female.’’ See Jacques Derrida, De l’hospitalite´ (Paris: Calmann-Le´vy, 1997), 73; translated by Rachel Bowlby as Of Hospitality: Anne Dufourmantelle Invites Jacques Derrida to Respond (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), 77; see also 85–87, where Derrida mentions Antigone. 22. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Nombre de oui,’’ 647–48, 648, in Psyche´: Inventions de l’autre (Paris: Galile´e, 1987), 639–50; translated by Brian Holmes as ‘‘A Number of Yes,’’ 238, 239, in Psyche: Inventions of the Other, vol. 2, ed. Peggy Kamuf and Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), 231–40. 23. Derrida, ‘‘As If It Were Possible, ‘Within Such Limits’ . . . ,’’ 357/303. Derrida here echoes his proposal that ‘‘there is perhaps nomination, language, thought, desire, or intention only there where there is this movement still for thinking [la` ou` il y a ce mouvement pour penser encore], desiring, naming that which gives itself neither to knowing, nor to experimenting, nor to living. . . . In this sense one can think, desire, and say only the impossible, according to the measure without measure of the impossible,’’ which prompts him to suggest, ‘‘let us begin by the impossible [commenc¸ons par l’impossible].’’ See Jacques Derrida, Donner le temps: 1. La fausse monnaie (Paris: Galile´e, 1991), 45, 17; translated by Peggy Kamuf as Given Time: 1. Counterfeit Money (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), 29, 6. Along related lines, Richard Kearney writes that ‘‘deconstruction is the desire for the impossible as impossible.’’ See Richard Kearney, The God Who May Be: A Hermeneutics of Religion (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001), 73. 24. Derrida, ‘‘A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event,’’ 449/94. 25. Derrida, ‘‘As If It Were Possible, ‘Within Such Limits’ . . . ,’’ 401n/299n; see also 359/306, where Derrida discusses ‘‘the possible-impossible.’’ 26. Caputo, On Religion, 19. For important discussions of ‘‘yes’’ within the frame of religion, see Caputo, On Religion, 16 and 24, and John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006), 75. 27. Caputo, On Religion, 4, 5. 28. Caputo, On Religion, 14; Caputo, The Weakness of God, 11; see also 115, where Caputo writes, ‘‘I love the possibility of the impossible, which is what I mean by God.’’ Caputo builds on Derrida’s conception of an event, highlighting its experiential dimension, in writing that ‘‘events happen to us; they overtake us and outstrip the reach of the subject or the ego. Although we are called upon to respond to events, an event is not our doing but is done to us (even as it might well be our undoing). The event arises independently of me and comes over me, so that an event is also an advent,’’ to which Caputo responds by calling for a ‘‘hyper-realism of the event.’’ See Caputo, The Weakness of God, 4, 11; see also 88 and 175 for links between event and gift. 29. Caputo, The Weakness of God, 89. 30. Caputo, On Religion, 11, 109 (see also Caputo, The Weakness of God, 109 and 118); Derrida, ‘‘As If It Were Possible, ‘Within Such Limits’ . . . ,’’ 359/306. Notes

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31. Caputo, On Religion, 124, 120, 124. That Caputo writes ‘‘sense’’ in the singular emphasizes this point. 32. Miguel de Unamuno, The Tragic Sense of Life in Men and Nations, ed. Anthony Kerrigan and Martin Nozick, trans. Anthony Kerrigan (Princeton: Bollingen/Princeton University Press, 1977), 239, 118; see also 39 and 101 for Unamuno’s definitions of tragedy. 33. Caputo, The Weakness of God, 87. 34. Jacques Derrida, Points de suspension, ed. Elisabeth Weber (Paris: Galile´e, 1992), 115 and 168; translated by Peggy Kamuf et al. as Points . . . : Interviews, 1974–1994, ed. Elisabeth Weber (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), 108 and 157. This passage first appears in ‘‘Choreographies,’’ an interview with Christine MacDonald, and is then cited (by Verena Andermatt Conley) in ‘‘Voice II.’’ Weil carries this assertion one step further, maintaining that ‘‘it is necessary to touch impossibility to come out of the dream [il faut toucher l’impossibilite´ pour sortir du reˆve].’’ See Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes, 8.68/6.3.96. 35. Derrida, Points . . . , 164/175. 36. I note here the near-homophony of l’amour, love, and la mort, death. That Antigone might be in love with death seems to underscore Derrida’s statement that ‘‘there is no other issue but death.’’ See Derrida, Glas, 176/198. 37. Derrida, Glas, 142/161, 143/162; see also 144/163, where Derrida writes that ‘‘the erection of the burial place would be feminine work [l’oeuvre fe´minine],’’ my emphasis. (Derrida later writes that ‘‘every crime is a sexual and family operation,’’ which reinforces Antigone’s sexualized, sisterly position. See Derrida, Glas, 173/195.) Mourning plays a key role in Antigone and in considerations of it since the dramatic action begins with and stems from Kreon’s prohibition of mourning for Polyneikes. This prohibition of mourning positions Antigone somewhere between mourning and melancholia, in terms of this distinction that Freud makes in his 1917 essay ‘‘Mourning and Melancholia.’’ Antigone seems to find herself between the two, owing in no small part to her love for Polyneikes. In this way, she relates to considerations of mourning and melancholia in recent feminist thought and, more specifically, in many psychoanalytically informed feminist considerations of Antigone, such as those by Joan Copjec, Tina Chanter, and especially Judith Butler. See Joan Copjec, Imagine There’s No Woman: Ethics and Sublimation (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002), esp. 12–47; Tina Chanter, Ethics of Eros: Irigaray’s Rewriting of the Philosophers (New York: Routledge, 1995), esp. 80–126, and ‘‘In Defiance of Mourning: Antigone’s Abjection’’ (delivered at Trinity College, Dublin, in October 2006 at a conference entitled Interrogating Antigone); and Judith Butler, Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000). For important texts on this complex of issues, see Sigmund Freud, ‘‘Mourning and Melancholia,’’ in On Murder, Mourning, and Melancholia, trans. Shaun Whiteside (New York: Penguin, 2005), 201–18; Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok, The Wolf Man’s Magic Word: A Cryptonymy, trans. Nicholas Rand (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2005), including the forward by Derrida; Jacques 112

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Derrida, Memoires for Paul de Man, rev. ed., trans. Cecile Lindsay, Jonathan Culler, Eduardo Cadava, and Peggy Kamuf (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989); Judith Butler, The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997); and Amy Hollywood, ‘‘Acute Melancholia,’’ Harvard Theological Review 99.4 (2006): 381–406. 38. Derrida, Glas, 166/187, 162/183. 39. Ibid., 162/183. 40. Sophocles, Antigone, 583 (Blondell), 585–86 (Blondell), 613–14 (Woodruff ). All of these lines seem particularly apropos to describe Oedipus’ surviving children who, Antigone self-consciously admits, ‘‘are left alive to pay/The final penalty to Zeus for Oedipus.’’ See Sophocles, Antigone, 2–3 (Woodruff ). 41. Lacan, Seminar VII, 262–63/305, where Lacan points to the chorus’s ‘‘ektos atas’’ in support of his claim; see also 270/315. 42. Ibid., 263/305, 263/306, 268/311. Lacan later explains that ‘‘something beyond the limits of ate¯ has become Antigone’s good, namely, a good that is different from everyone else’s.’’ See Lacan, Seminar VII, 270/315. 43. Jacques Lacan, E´crits (Paris: E´ditions du Seuil, 1966), 848; translated by Bruce Fink with Heloı¨se Fink and Russell Grigg as E´crits (New York: Norton, 2006), 719; Lacan, Seminar VII, 303/351; Derrida, Aporias, 8/25 (cited above). Lacan amplifies his remark on the death drive, saying that ‘‘it is because the movement of desire is in the process of crossing the line of a kind of unveiling that the advent [l’ave`nement] of the Freudian notion of the death drive [la pulsion de mort] is meaningful to us.’’ See Seminar VII, 236/277. 44. Lacan, Seminar VII, 281/327. 45. Sophocles, Antigone, 559–60 (Blondell). 46. Derrida, Aporias, 42/79–80, 72/127, 78–79/137. 47. Butler, Antigone’s Claim, 67. 48. Lacan, Seminar VII, 280/326, 268/311, 248/291; see also 272/317, where he writes ‘‘between-life-and-death [l’entre-la-vie-et-la-mort]’’ as a single word. 49. Sophocles, Antigone, 891–93 (Blondell). Woodruff ’s translation of these lines, ‘‘My tomb, my marriage, my hollow, scraped in dirt,/I’m coming home forever, to be held in/With my own people,’’ reiterates Antigone’s connection to and the key roles played by earth, dirt, ground, and home throughout Sophocles’ tragic drama. (See also Sophocles, Antigone, 1206 [Woodruff], where a messenger refers to Antigone’s ‘‘deadly marriage bed.’’) Here, ‘‘my own’’ resonates with Antigone’s earlier insistence that Kreon ‘‘has no right to keep me from my own,’’ which, I suggest, functions as a prohibition of her love. 50. Antigone is responding to Kreon’s preceding statement, in which he orders that ‘‘when she’s locked up,/In the embrace of her covered tomb. . . ./ Leave her alone, deserted. Let her die if she wants,/Or else live there in her grave, if she feels at home there.’’ See Sophocles, Antigone, 885–88 (Woodruff ). Derrida signals this link of oikos and oike¯sis via an oblique reference to Antigone in terms of diffe´rance. I consider this link and its implications in chapter 2. 51. Sophocles, Antigone, 89 (Woodruff ), 1240 (Blondell), 1241 (Woodruff ); see also 750. I explore this latter possibility in chapter 2. Notes

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52. Derrida, Glas, 166/187; Derrida, Aporias, 27/57. 53. See Lacan, Seminar VII, 272/317; see also 278/324, where Lacan notes that ‘‘the limit in question is one on which she establishes herself [sur laquelle elle se campe].’’ 54. Antigone uniquely inhabits and exemplarily demonstrates this juxtaposition of burial and survival, vitally embodying Martin Ha¨gglund’s observation that ‘‘the figure of burying the dead is thus a figure of mortal survival’’—and, more generally, that ‘‘every moment of life is a matter of survival’’ and that ‘‘living is always a matter of living on, of surviving.’’ See Martin Ha¨gglund, Radical Atheism: Derrida and the Time of Life (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), 139, 1, 33; see more generally 107–63. I find compelling and agree with his phenomenological reading of Derrida’s corpus in terms of surviving (survivre), life death, spacing (espacement), and the finitude traced in and by all three. But I disagree with his insistence on treating Derrida as a thinker of what he calls ‘‘radical atheism’’ since, as subsequent chapters evince, I accept neither a total rupture and discernability of theism and atheism nor a protection of the divine from exposure to finitude, mortality, and therefore survival. 55. Jacques Derrida, H.C. pour la vie, c’est-a`-dire . . . (Paris: Galile´e, 2000), 39, 98; translated by Laurent Milesi and Stefan Herbrechter as H.C. for Life, That Is to Say . . . (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006), 39, 113. 56. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Avouer—L’impossible: ‘Retours,’ Repentir et Re´conciliation,’’ 184, in Comment vivre ensemble? (Paris: Albin Michel, 2001), 181–216. 2. Between Nature and Culture 1. Sophocles, Antigone, trans. Ruby Blondell (Newburyport, Mass.: Focus Classical Library, 1998), 90, my emphasis. References to Antigone give line numbers that correspond in Greek and English. Greek citations and references are from Sophocles, Antigone, ed. Mark Griffith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). 2. These actions occur, respectively, in Oedipus Tyrannus and Oedipus at Colonus, the narratively prior plays in Sophocles’ Theban cycle. See Sophocles, Theban Plays, trans. Ruby Blondell (Newburyport, Mass.: Focus Classical Library, 2004). 3. Sophocles, Antigone, trans. Paul Woodruff (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2001), 2–3, 864–66, my emphasis (to highlight Antigone’s remarking that she and her father share a mother). The chorus confirms Antigone’s statement when it addresses Antigone, saying, ‘‘You miserable child of misery, / Daughter of Oedipus’’ and later adding, ‘‘You’re paying for some ordeal of your father’s.’’ See Sophocles, Antigone, 379–80 (Woodruff ), 856 (Blondell). 4. Sophocles, Antigone, 903–4 (Blondell), 900 (Woodruff ), 915 (Woodruff ). 5. Sophocles, Antigone, 71–73 (Blondell), 73 (Woodruff ). In a footnote, Blondell remarks that ‘‘the passage also has an incestuous coloring that hints at the perverted relationships in this particular family and at Antigone’s later preference for her brother over a husband.’’ 114

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6. Luce Irigaray, Speculum: De l’autre femme (Paris: E´ditions de Minuit, 1974), 432; translated by Gillian C. Gill as Speculum of the Other Woman (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), 345. 7. Jacques Derrida, Glas (Paris: Galile´e, 1974), 165; translated by John P. Leavey Jr. and Richard Rand as Glas (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), 145. Conduire can also mean ‘‘to drive,’’ which underscores the psychoanalytic dimension of desire to which Derrida here alludes. 8. Jacques Lacan, Le se´minaire, livre VII: L’e´thique de la psychanalyse, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller (Paris: E´ditions du Seuil, 1986), 364; translated by Dennis Porter as The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1959–1960) (New York: Norton, 1997), 315, 316. I consider ate¯ and Lacan’s discussion of it in chapter 1. 9. Lacan, Seminar VII, 282/329, 303/351; see also 277/322, where Lacan says that ‘‘she’s the one who violates the limits of ate¯ through her desire.’’ 10. Judith Butler, Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 52, 40. 11. Derrida, Glas, 150/169. 12. Sophocles, Antigone, 48 (Blondell). This suggestion reiterates that philia might well be described as kinship-love. 13. Stathis Gourgouris, Does Literature Think? Literature as Theory for an Antimythical Era (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 133. Gourgouris notes that transgression is also inscribed in Antigone’s name, which exposes ‘‘an otherness at the core.’’ 14. Claude Le´vi-Strauss, Les structures ´ele´mentaires de la parente´ (Paris: Mouton, 1967), 29; translated by James Harle Bell and John Richard von Sturmer as The Elementary Structures of Kinship, rev. ed., ed. Rodney Needham (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969), 25. 15. See Sophocles, Antigone, 781–800, for the chorus’s ode to ero¯s, which I consider in chapter 1. This subjection would also bind Antigone to divinity via ero¯s. For a different interpretation of Antigone’s ero¯s in relation to her philia, see George Steiner, Antigones, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 17. 16. Sophocles, Antigone, 523 (Blondell), 798 (Woodruff ). 17. Butler, Antigone’s Claim, 23. This claim builds on Butler’s contention that ‘‘what she [Antigone] draws into crisis is the representative function itself.’’ See Butler, Antigone’s Claim, 22. 18. G. W. F. Hegel, Pha¨nomenologie des Geistes, ed. Wolfgang Bonsiepen and Reinhard Heede, in Gesammelte Werke, vol. 9 (Hamburg: Felix Meiner Verlag, 1980), 239; translated by A. V. Miller as Phenomenology of Spirit (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), §440. Subsequent citations give English section numbers followed by German page numbers. 19. Ibid., §472/256; see also §465/251. 20. Ibid., §465/252; see also §463/250–51 and §468/253–54. 21. Ibid., §457/247. Here Hegel reiterates Antigone’s exclusive role as sister by maintaining that ‘‘the loss of the brother is therefore irreparable to the sister Notes

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and duty towards him is the highest.’’ This assertion adds a universalizing element to Antigone’s final speech (891–928). 22. Ibid., §475/258. 23. Luce Irigaray, Sexes et Parente´s (Paris: E´ditions de Minuit, 1987), 122; translated by Gillian C. Gill as Sexes and Genealogies (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 108. Irigaray also insists that ‘‘the law has a sex, justice has a sex [le droit est sexue´, la justice est sexue´e]’’—claims that bear on Antigone. See Irigaray, Sexes and Genealogies, 193/207. 24. Le´vi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, 3/3, 8/10. For a discussion of nature vis-a`-vis humanity, see Kate Soper, What Is Nature? Culture, Politics, and the Non-Human (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1995), esp. 15–70. 25. Le´vi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, 4/4, 8–9/10, my emphasis; see also 10/12: ‘‘the prohibition of incest has the universality of bent and instinct and the coercive character of law and institution.’’ 26. Lucien Le´vy-Bruhl, Le Surnaturel et la nature dans la mentalite´ primitive (Paris: Alcan, 1931), 247 (quoted in The Elementary Structures of Kinship, by Le´vi-Strauss, 10–11/12–13). I explore Antigone’s monstrosity in chapter 3. 27. Le´vi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, 24/28–29. 28. Derrida, Glas, 162/183; Jacques Derrida, L’e´criture et la diffe´rence (Paris: E´ditions du Seuil, 1967), 416; translated by Alan Bass as Writing and Difference (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 283–84. 29. She remains unthinkable, for example, to Hegel’s system, in which the brother–sister relation exemplifies the purest form of familial bonds of blood. Because brother and sister share the same blood, Hegel writes, ‘‘they do not desire one another’’ but enjoy ‘‘a relation devoid of desire,’’ one that is ‘‘pure and unmixed with any natural desire.’’ See Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, §457/247. Hegel’s system can neither think nor tolerate any impure, ‘‘unnatural’’ desire, such as incestuous desire. 30. Butler, Antigone’s Claim, 47, 23, 22; see also 6. 31. Ibid., 15, 39, 48. Butler’s suggestions here recall that, as many commentators on Antigone have insisted, the laws to which Antigone remains faithful are divine, unwritten laws. 32. Jacques Derrida, De la grammatologie (Paris: E´ditions de Minuit, 1967), 52, 65; translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak as Of Grammatology, corrected ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 34, 44. 33. Sophocles, Antigone, 850 (Blondell). 34. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 47–48/69–70. 35. Ibid., 155/223, 68/99. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Diffe´rance,’’ 25, in Marges: De la philosophie (Paris: E´ditions de Minuit, 1972), 1–29; translated by Alan Bass as ‘‘Diffe´rance,’’ 24, in Margins of Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 1–27. 36. Derrida, ‘‘Diffe´rance,’’ 4/4; see also Derrida, Of Grammatology, 69/100. Derrida makes explicit the link of the family to the ‘‘economy of death’’ by contending that the family’s ‘‘destination is the cult of the dead; the family must 116

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consecrate itself to the organization of the burial (place) [la se´pulture]’’ as a figure of ‘‘the economy of the dead,’’ which is finally an incalculable, impossible economy. See Derrida, Glas, 142–43/161–62. 37. Derrida, ‘‘Diffe´rance,’’ 8/8. ‘‘Spacing’’ includes a temporizing in what Derrida here describes as ‘‘the becoming-time of space and the becoming-space of time’’ that interweaves the two in this interval. Moreover, Derrida affirms, ‘‘deconstruction takes place [a lieu] in the interval. . . . It is possible as an experience of the impossible.’’ See Jacques Derrida, Force de loi (Paris: Galile´e, 1994), 35; translated by Mary Quaintance as ‘‘Force of Law: The ‘Mystical Foundation of Authority,’ ’’ 16, in Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice, ed. Drucilla Cornell, Michel Rosenfeld, and David Gray Carlson (New York: Routledge, 1992), 3–67. As John Caputo has pointed out, this text marks Derrida’s inaugural use of ‘‘undeconstructability,’’ of which Antigone is an embodiment. 38. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 265/375. Elsewhere, Derrida offers the related thought that ‘‘if the tympanum is a limit, perhaps the issue would be less to displace a given determined limit than to work toward the concept of limit and the limit of the concept. To unhinge it on several tries.’’ See Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Tympan,’’ ix, in Marges: De la philosophie, i–xxv; translated by Alan Bass as ‘‘Tympan,’’ xvii, in Margins of Philosophy, ix–xxix. 39. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 145/208. 40. Ibid., 69/102, 37/55; see also 65/95. 41. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Avouer—L’impossible: ‘Retours,’ Repentir et Re´conciliation,’’ 194, in Comment Vivre Ensemble? (Paris: Albin Michel, 2001), 181–216. Along these lines (with particular attention to nature and culture), Derrida writes, ‘‘one could reconsider all the pairs of opposites on which philosophy is constructed and on which our discourse lives, not in order to see opposition erase itself but to see what indicates that each of the terms must appear as the diffe´rance of the other, as the other different and deferred in the economy of the same . . . culture as nature different and deferred, differing-deferring; all of the others of physis—tekhne¯, nomos, thesis, society, freedom, history, mind, etc.—as physis different and deferred, or as physis differing and deferring. Physis in diffe´rance.’’ See Derrida, ‘‘Diffe´rance,’’ 17/18. 42. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 159/228. 43. Just as Antigone supplementarily threatens kinship with death, so she threatens power with (at least symbolic) castration. 44. David Wills, Prosthesis (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), 9. 45. Ibid., 16, 29, 247, my emphasis; see also 20, 44, 71, 90, 125, 131–75, 190, 196, 294, and 311. Along related lines, Bernard Stiegler writes that ‘‘there is nothing but prostheses.’’ He also notes, amid his exploration of technicity and mortality (as well as tragedy), that ‘‘death is life when life is also nonlife, is no longer simply life. . . . The question is that of access, of prostheticity.’’ See Bernard Stiegler, Technics and Time, 1: The Fault of Epimetheus, trans. Richard Beardsworth and George Collins (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), 199, Notes

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242; see, more generally, 87–101, 122–54, and 183–219 for his compelling analyses of humanity and technology that emerge from his engagements with the writings of Martin Heidegger and Derrida. 46. Derrida describes this movement as an ‘‘unleashed, surging wave [de´ferlement de´chaıˆne´]’’ that ‘‘ebbs and flows . . . swells, sweeps along, and enriches itself with everything, carries away, brings back, deports and becomes swollen again with what it has dragged away [elle roule, elle se de´roule . . . elle s’enroule, elle emporte et s’enrichit de tout, elle remporte, rapporte, de´porte et se gonfle encore de ce qu’elle arrache].’’ See Jacques Derrida, Le monolinguisme de l’autre ou la prosthe`se d’origine (Paris: Galile´e, 1996), 57–58; translated by Patrick Mensah as Monolingualism of the Other; or, The Prosthesis of Origin (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), 31. This description of the impossible might also serve as a description of a miracle, as one name for the impossible that occurs. Along these lines, Hent de Vries creatively uses the miracle to insist on the inextricability of technicity and religion, writing that ‘‘there are not only empirical, historical, and technological but also systematic reasons to doubt that magic and the miraculous could ever be (or have ever been) taken out of religion, just as there are reasons to suspect that religion was never fully taken out of reason, secularization, mechanization, technization, mediatization, virtualization, and so on,’’ particularly insofar as ‘‘mediatization and the technology it entails form the condition of possibility for all revelation—for its revealability, so to speak. An element of technicity belongs to the realm of the ‘transcendental,’ and vice versa.’’ See Hent de Vries, ‘‘In Media Res: Global Religion, Public Spheres, and the Task of Contemporary Comparative Religious Studies,’’ 28, in Religion and Media, ed. Hent de Vries and Samuel Weber (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001), 3–42. See also Hent de Vries, ‘‘Of Miracles and Special Effects,’’ International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 50, nos. 1–3 (December 2001): 41–56. 47. Derrida, ‘‘Avouer—L’impossible,’’ 213. 48. Hence bios is itself a tekhne¯ that undoes the zo¯¯e–bios binarism by disrupting the nature–culture system (insofar as zo¯¯e and bios can map onto nature and culture). For an extended analysis constructed on this zo¯¯e–bios distinction, see Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998). For one compelling response, see Jean-Luc Nancy, The Creation of the World or Globalization, trans. Franc¸ois Raffoul and David Pettigrew (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007), esp. 93–95. I offer a response in ‘‘Human, Life, and Other Sacred Stuff,’’ Journal of Cultural and Religious Theory 10.1 (Winter 2009): 64–80. 49. For insightful, resonate reflections on death and sexual difference, particularly in embodied terms, see Anne Dufourmantelle, Blind Date: Sex and Philosophy, trans. Catherine Porter (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007), 61–85. 50. Butler, Antigone’s Claim, 15. 51. Sophocles, Antigone, 891–93 (Blondell). 52. Butler, Antigone’s Claim, 24. 53. Ibid., 6. 118

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54. Derrida, Glas, 188/211; see also 165/186, where Derrida remarks on the orphanage. 55. Butler, Antigone’s Claim, 4. 56. ‘‘Vivre ensemble’’ demonstrates a significant difficulty for translation. ‘‘Vivre’’ can function either as an infinitive (‘‘to live’’) or as a gerund (‘‘living’’), with no means of deciding between the two outside of a singular context. Though translating ‘‘vivre ensemble’’ as ‘‘living together’’ might be a more idiomatic choice, doing so harbors the potential of effacing the open-ended, indeterminate quality of the infinitive—one that is important amid my discussions of the event, the unforeseeable future (a`-venir and l’avenir), the impossible, and the potential for surviving (survivre) that Antigone manifests. Thus it is crucial to retain an infinitival openness in every gerundive instance of ‘‘living together’’ that could possibly bury this futural quality with an easy, false sense of presence that ‘‘living together’’ might suggest. In an attempt to retain a trace of this openness, I have with each occurrence included French and English versions of this phrase. 57. Derrida, ‘‘Avouer—L’impossible,’’ 183; see also 212–14 on ‘‘the globalization of avowal [la mondialisation de l’aveu].’’ 58. Ibid., 182. Here Derrida makes a parallel point about forgiveness: ‘‘forgiveness, if there is such, must pardon the unpardonable [le pardon, s’il y en a, [doit] pardonner l’impardonnable].’’ For an extended consideration of forgiveness, see Jacques Derrida, On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness, trans. Mark Dooley and Michael Hughes (New York: Routledge, 2001), 27–60. 59. Derrida, ‘‘Avouer—L’impossible,’’ 199; see also 210: ‘‘to avow is to avow the unavowable, as to pardon is to pardon the unpardonable: to do the impossible [avouer, c’est avouer l’inavouable, comme pardonner, c’est pardonner l’im-pardonnable: faire l’impossible].’’ 60. Ibid., 194–95. 61. Ibid., 213. Derrida continues: ‘‘that the chance is also a threat, there is that which it is necessary to recognize, avow, there is that of which it is necessary to begin by responding.’’ 3. Surviving, Forever Foreign 1. Jacques Derrida, Glas (Paris: Galile´e, 1974), 183; translated by John P. Leavey Jr. and Richard Rand as Glas (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986), 162. 2. Derrida, Glas, 166/187–88. 3. Asserting that Antigone remains foreign echoes Martin Heidegger’s reading of Antigone in his 1935 seminar—a reading focusing exclusively on the Ode to Man, the first choral stasimon in Antigone. Heidegger is interested in the uncanniness or homelessness of humanity in the general terms of Dasein, particularly in light of the Ode to Man’s opening lines (and Heidegger’s idiosyncratic translation of them as well as his out-of-context reading of lines 370–72). My suggestion, however, relates only to Antigone and her singular experience—one that, I contend, only she can experience given her identity and context. Heidegger highlights these interpretive deviations by declaring, based on his reading Notes

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of line 336, that human placelessness emanates from a decision in which ‘‘he gives up the place, he heads out.’’ Such a decision remains from the start unavailable to Antigone, as her multilayered foreignness always already forecloses her from ‘‘the place’’ and thus from a decision to relinquish it. See Martin Heidegger, Introduction to Metaphysics, trans. Gregory Fried and Richard Polt (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 156–76, esp. 164. For an insightful reading of Heidegger on this point (amid a broader consideration of humanity, nature, and life), see Thomas A. Carlson, The Indiscrete Image: Infinitude and Creation of the Human (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), 56–73, esp. 62–68. 4. Jacques Derrida, Deconstruction Engaged: The Sydney Seminars, ed. Paul Patton and Terry Smith (Sydney: Power Publications, 2001), 63; see also 64–66 and 69. Turned reflexively, this aporia echoes the destabilizing question-call that Augustine addresses to himself, leading him to confess that ‘‘I had become a great enigma to myself [factus eram ipse mihi magna quaestio].’’ See Augustine, Confessions, trans. Maria Boulding (Hyde Park, N.Y.: New City Press, 1997), 4.4.9 and 10.33.50. John Caputo re-turns Augustine’s reflexive aporia by way of passion in suggesting that ‘‘the very highest passion is driven by non-knowing,’’ so that this aporia exposes that ‘‘I do not know who I am . . . I am a mystery unto myself, a question mark, an enigma.’’ See John D. Caputo, On Religion (New York: Routledge, 2001), 129, 132. Caputo expounds on this formulation in More Radical Hermeneutics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000), 17–40; in The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion Without Religion (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), 331; and, in a different key, in The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006), 11. 5. Derrida, Glas, 170/191; see also 142–43/161–62. In chapter 4, I engage more extensively Antigone’s and Jesus’ intertwining, notably in terms of entombment. Furthermore, Derrida translates Hegel’s important verb aufheben with relever, so that a note of sublation (‘‘to sublate’’ is a standard English translation of aufheben) should echo in Derrida’s use of relever and related verbs, such as s’enlever in the passage cited here. 6. Tony Davies, Humanism (New York: Routledge, 2001), 24; see also 131, where he writes that ‘‘all humanisms, until now, have been imperial.’’ Here Davies uses the plural (‘‘humanisms’’) to suggest that humanism receives a variety of Occidental articulations, though these remain fundamentally similar by sharing the defining characteristics that I discuss. For a keen exposition of humanisms’ multiplicities, see Martin Halliwell and Andy Mousley, Critical Humanisms: Humanist/Anti-Humanist Dialogues (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2003), esp. 39–78 and 159–95. 7. Tzvetan Todorov, Imperfect Garden: The Legacy of Humanism, trans. Carol Cosman (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002), 30; see also 29–46 for a general exposition of humanisms and 226–37 for what he calls ‘‘the humanist wager.’’ 8. Jean-Paul Sartre, ‘‘Existentialism Is a Humanism,’’ trans. Bernard Frechtman, 36, 37, in Essays in Existentialism, ed. Wayne Baskin (New York: Citadel 120

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Press, 1993), 31–68. Descartes’s cogito ergo sum appears in his Discourse on Method, 3rd ed., trans. Donald A. Cress (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1988), 18. For an erudite exploration of human self-creation, especially in terms of human– divine relations, see Carlson’s The Indiscrete Image. 9. Dominique Janicaud, On the Human Condition, trans. Eileen Brennan (New York: Routledge, 2005), 47, 54, 4, 30. 10. Ibid., 57; see also 52 for one instance of the inhuman used as threat such that the inhuman becomes nearly synonymous with Nazism, cast as absolute evil. 11. Martin Heidegger, ‘‘Letter on Humanism,’’ trans. Frank A. Capuzzi with J. Glenn Gray, 224, in Basic Writings, rev. ed., ed. David Farrell Krell (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1993), 217–65. 12. Socrates recalls Protagoras’ words in Theaetetus, by Plato, trans. M. J. Levett, rev. Myles Burnyeat, 152a, in The Complete Works, ed. John M. Cooper with D. S. Hutchinson (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1997), 157–234. 13. Sophocles, Antigone, trans. Ruby Blondell (Newburyport, Mass.: Focus Classical Library, 1998), 332–34. References to Antigone give line numbers that correspond in Greek and English. Greek citations and references are from Sophocles, Antigone, ed. Mark Griffith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Translated more literally, these lines could read ‘‘many things are wonderful-terrible, but none is more so than a human being,’’ highlighting the duality at play in deinon (which, Blondell notes, could also mean clever, dreadful, or awful). In his 1942 lecture course on Friedrich Ho¨lderlin’s ‘‘The Ister,’’ Heidegger develops an extended reading of Antigone that centers on the complex meanings of deinon and that, in many ways, builds on his 1935 reading of Antigone, especially since both focus on the Ode to Man. See Martin Heidegger, Ho¨lderlin’s Hymn ‘‘The Ister,’’ trans. William McNeill and Julia Davis (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996), 51–122, esp. 61–74. For an insightful interpretation of Heidegger’s 1935 and 1942 readings of Antigone, with particular attention to tekhne¯ and to the choral odes to man and ero¯s, see Cecilia Sjo¨holm, The Antigone Complex: Ethics and the Invention of Feminine Desire (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), 56–81 and 102–9. 14. Sophocles, Antigone, 337 (Blondell), 340–41 (Blondell). 15. Sophocles, Antigone, 342–51 (Blondell). Paul Woodruff ’s translation of these lines gives them an even more pointedly conquering tone, as in ‘‘Wild beasts/ also fall prey to him. And all that is born to live beneath the sea /Is thrashing in his woven nets’’ and ‘‘Taken down the shaggy-necked horses,/The tireless mountain bulls,/And put them under the yoke.’’ See Sophocles, Antigone, trans. Paul Woodruff (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2001), 343–46, 350–52. 16. Sophocles, Antigone, 364–65 (Blondell). Woodruff translates these lines as ‘‘He has cunning contrivance,/Skill surpassing hope.’’ Incredibly, Plato seems nearly to copy the Ode to Man’s description of man in the anthropogony that Protagoras narrates with his myth of Prometheus and Epimetheus, which concludes by explaining the origin of the polis and of political life. For Protagoras’ story, see Plato, Protagoras, trans. Stanley Lombardo and Karen Bell, 321c–322d, Notes

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in Complete Works, 746–90. Carlson offers interesting comments on, and an interesting recontextualization of, this passage from Protagoras in The Indiscrete Image, 78–80. 17. Sophocles, Antigone, 338–41 (Blondell). Antigone repeats this image in 859 (Woodruff ) when she mentions ‘‘raw earth plowed three times’’ in conjunction with Kreon’s painful exhuming of her grief. In addition, though he does not use an agricultural metaphor, Janicaud subordinates divinity to humanity by shaping any possibility of transcendence in terms of the superhuman rather than the divine. See Janicaud, On the Human Condition, 44. 18. Hesiod, Theogony, lines 116–18, in Theogony, Works and Days, Testimonia, ed. and trans. Glenn W. Most (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006), 13. 19. Sophocles, Antigone, 347 (Blondell), 347 (Woodruff ). No one better illustrates this claim than Antigone’s father, Oedipus, whose ingenuity enables him to solve the riddle of the sphinx with the answer ‘‘man.’’ Thanks to his solution, he ascends to the throne of Thebes and marries Jokasta, which commences the incest taboo’s violation from which Antigone results and for which Antigone (as she says in Antigone’s opening lines) must pay. Oedipus’ example of cunning ingenuity thus exposes this trait’s underside. For Oedipus’ dramatic narrative, see Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannus, in Theban Plays, trans. Ruby Blondell (Newburyport, Mass.: Focus Classical Library, 2004), 91–154. 20. William Shakespeare, Hamlet, act 2, scene 2, in The Tragical History of Hamlet Prince of Denmark, ed. A. R. Braunmuller (New York: Penguin, 2001), 53. Hamlet’s words can, however, achieve a different effect insofar as they go on to lament human mortality as ‘‘this quintessence of dust.’’ 21. Sophocles, Antigone, 348 (Woodruff ), 356 (Woodruff ), 360 (Woodruff ), my emphases. 22. Sophocles, Antigone, 282–83 (Blondell); see also 198–206 for Kreon’s forbidding edict and 213–14 for the chorus’s supportive recognition of Kreon’s unchecked authority. 23. Sophocles, Antigone, 450–52 (Blondell). 24. Sophocles, Antigone, 453–57 (Blondell). 25. Luce Irigaray offers a complementary reading of the Ode to Man along these lines under the heading ‘‘Between us, a fabricated world.’’ See Luce Irigaray, To Be Two, trans. Monique M. Rhodes and Marco F. Cocito-Monoc (New York: Routledge, 2001), 68–76; see also 77–84 for an extension of this reading of Antigone. For other of Irigaray’s readings of Antigone, see Luce Irigaray, Speculum of the Other Woman, trans. Gillian C. Gill (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985), 214–26; An Ethics of Sexual Difference, trans. Carolyn Burke and Gillian C. Gill (Ithaca: Columbia University Press, 1993), 116–29; Sexes and Genealogies, trans. Gillian C. Gill (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), 105–23; and Thinking the Difference: For a Peaceful Revolution, trans. Karin Montin (New York: Routledge, 1994), 67–113. I examine Irigaray’s readings of Antigone (especially vis-a`-vis Hegel’s) in ‘‘Antigone’s Nature,’’ Hypatia 25.2 (Spring 2010). 122

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26. Davies, Humanism, 93, 100; see also 99 and 124. 27. Sophocles, Antigone, 482 (Woodruff ), 484–85 (Blondell). Woodruff translates these latter lines as ‘‘if she’s not punished for taking the upper hand,/ Then I am not a man. She would be a man!’’ 28. Sophocles, Antigone, 523 (Blondell), 524–25 (Woodruff ). In a footnote, Blondell also acknowledges this line’s personalized tone. 29. Sophocles, Antigone, 678–80 (Blondell). Relentless Kreon continues, shamingly announcing to the chorus that Haimon ‘‘is fighting as the woman’s ally,’’ to which Haimon replies (seeking to demonstrate his loyalty to Kreon), ‘‘If you’re a woman,’’ in a rhetorical inversion of Kreon’s sexuality. Kreon subsequently repeats his change (‘‘you submit to a woman’’) and then calls Haimon ‘‘you woman slave.’’ See Sophocles, Antigone, 740–41 (Blondell), 746 (Woodruff ), 756 (Blondell). 30. Jacques Lacan discusses castration and the Oedipal complex’s articulation in light of his reading of Antigone in The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1959–1960), ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Dennis Porter (New York: Norton, 1997), 299–301 and 307–8. Along these lines, see also his diagram of sexuation in The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX: Encore, 1972–1973 (On Feminine Sexuality, The Limits of Love and Knowledge), ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, trans. Bruce Fink (New York: Norton, 1999), 78–79. 31. Sophocles, Antigone, 423–25 (Blondell); see also 110–13 (Blondell), where the chorus describes Polyneikes as a bird ‘‘with a piercing/scream like an eagle.’’ 32. Sophocles, Antigone, 376 (Woodruff ); see also 5 (Woodruff ). Along related lines, Elaine L. Graham uses ‘‘monstrous’’ to describe a ‘‘simultaneous demonstration and destabilization of the demarcations by which cultures have separated nature from artifice, human from nonhuman, normal from pathological.’’ See Elaine L. Graham, Representations of the Post/human: Monsters, Aliens and Others in Popular Culture (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2002), 12. See also Derrida, Glas, 175/197; Claude Le´vi-Strauss, The Elementary Structures of Kinship, rev. ed., ed. Rodney Needham, trans. James Harle Bell and John Richard von Sturmer (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969), 10–11; and Claude Le´viStrauss, Structural Anthropology, trans. Claire Jacobson and Brooke Schoepf (New York: Basic Books, 1963), 186–231. For an exploration of monstrosity vis-a`-vis religion, see Timothy K. Beal, Religion and Its Monsters (New York: Routledge, 2002). 33. Richard Kearney, Strangers, Gods, and Monsters: Interpreting Otherness (New York: Routledge, 2003), 3. The relation that Kearney suggests between monsters and psyches, when grafted onto Antigone, recalls George Steiner’s provocative query: what if psychoanalysis had taken Antigone rather than Oedipus as its paragon? See George Steiner, Antigones (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 18. This question serves as the starting point (literally the first words) of Sjo¨holm’s The Antigone Complex. 34. Kearney, Strangers, Gods, and Monsters, 3–4. Notes

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35. Ibid., 3; see also 13 (where Kearney discusses wonder [thaumazein] and terror [deinon]), 68–69, 88–99, and 106–8. 36. Sophocles, Antigone, 850–52 (Blondell). Woodruff translates these lines as ‘‘I have no place with human beings,/Living or dead. No city is home to me.’’ The Ode to Man includes a remark on being ‘‘citiless,’’ which Antigone here admits. See Sophocles, Antigone, 370–72. 37. Sophocles, Antigone, 471 (Blondell). Woodruff translates this line as ‘‘the girl’s as wild by birth as her father.’’ Lacan suggests that ‘‘fierce [o¯mos]’’ here ‘‘literally means something uncivilized, something raw [cru].’’ See Lacan, Seminar VII, 263. ‘‘Raw’’ also recalls an important category in Le´vi-Strauss’s structural anthropology, as elaborated by Claude Le´vi-Strauss in The Raw and the Cooked: Mythologiques, Volume 1, trans. John Weightman and Doreen Weightman (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983). 38. Judith Butler, Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), 82. 39. Robert Pogue Harrison, The Dominion of the Dead (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 35. 40. Ibid. Carlson cites this passage and offers a complementary but very different destabilization of Harrison’s binary in suggesting that, with respect to memory, ‘‘the basic operation of burial—retention—could be read to exceed us and dislocate us in much the way that the networks of posthuman existence exceed and dislocate us.’’ See Carlson, The Indiscrete Image, 25–26 (my emphasis), as well as the final chapter, which turns on an extended reading of Harrison’s text. 41. The chorus’s third stasimon, immediately preceding Antigone’s living entombment, attests to the destructive power of ero¯s. See Sophocles, Antigone, 781–800, which I examine in chapter 1. 42. Humanity’s inextricability from inhumanity is a point that Janicaud fails to acknowledge, and this failure leads him to insist on maintaining a preventive humanism as a defense against an inhumanity that he identifies in the menacing terms of concentration camps and terrorisms. See Janicaud, On the Human Condition, 30 and 38–39. This failure compounds since it does not acknowledge Antigone’s implicit insistence that ‘‘the human’’ can never be fully protected or insulated from the inhuman, for the latter emerges from within the former. 43. Butler, Antigone’s Claim, 82, my emphasis; see also 79, where Butler positions Antigone as ‘‘figuring the nonhuman at the border of the human.’’ 44. Michel Foucault, Les mots et les choses: Une arche´ologie des sciences humaines (Paris: Gallimard, 1966), 337; translated as The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences (New York: Vintage, 1994), 326. 45. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Les fins de l’homme,’’ 137, in Marges: De la philosophie (Paris: E´ditions de Minuit, 1972), 129–64; translated by Alan Bass as ‘‘The Ends of Man,’’ 116, in Margins of Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 109–36. 124

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46. For example, the statement ‘‘we have always been posthuman’’ appears in both Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty, by Erin Manning (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007), 157, and How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics, by N. Katherine Hayles (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 291. For related assertions, see Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern, trans. Catherine Porter (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993), esp. 136–45. 47. Heidegger, ‘‘Letter on Humanism,’’ 226. 48. Donna J. Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1991), 1, 4, 160; see also 149, 161–62, and 209–10. 49. Hayles, How We Became Posthuman, 2, 3. 50. This narrative of progress, when coupled with a cyborg posthumanism, can tend toward a near-endless perpetuation of life in ways that erase the importance of mortality for a posthumanism of the kind that I am articulating via Antigone. Such a perpetuation of life grants human living an absolute value, which must be preserved at all costs—including the cost of a disembodiment, related to an effacement of mortality operating here. Giorgio Agamben considers the case of Karen Quinlan, an overcomatose woman, as one among many instances in this vein. See Giorgio Agamben, Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life, trans. Daniel Heller-Roazen (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), 164 and 186. Furthermore, humanism’s inevitable reliance on a progress narrative raises provocative questions about the perhaps unbreakable link between humanism and a cyborg posthumanism. 51. Related to this is the positioning of Antigone as brisure, which I suggest in chapter 2. 52. Foucault, The Order of Things, 386–87/398; see also xxiii/15 and 334–35/345–46. 53. Ibid., 370/382. See also Derrida, ‘‘The Ends of Man,’’ 134/161. I discuss Antigone vis-a`-vis the event in chapter 1. 54. Jean-Franc¸ois Lyotard, The Inhuman: Reflections on Time, trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Rachel Bowlby (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991), 2; see also Janicaud, On the Human Condition, 53. On the ‘‘proper,’’ see Derrida, ‘‘The Ends of Man,’’ 133/160. 55. Derrida, ‘‘The Ends of Man,’’ 121/144. Derrida continues: ‘‘the thinking of the end of man is thus always already prescribed in metaphysics, in the thinking of the truth of man.’’ Derrida subsequently writes that ‘‘the end of man (as factual anthropological limit) announces itself to thought from the vantage of the end of man (as determined opening or infinity of a telos). Man is that which is in relation to his end, in the fundamentally equivocal sense of the word. Since always. The transcendental end can appear to itself and unfold itself only on the condition of mortality, of a relation to finitude as origin of ideality. The name of man has always been inscribed in metaphysics between these two ends.’’ See Derrida, ‘‘The Ends of Man,’’ 123/147. Notes

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56. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Tympan,’’ xii, in Marges: De la philosophie, i–xxv; translated by Alan Bass as ‘‘Tympan,’’ xviii (my emphasis), in Margins of Philosophy, ix–xxix. There is here a homophonic resonance between ‘‘terre’’ and ‘‘mer’’ and between ‘‘mer [sea]’’ and ‘‘me`re [mother],’’ recalling Antigone’s inhuman maternity as well as the maternal matrix of Earth (Gaia) in her ancient Greek religious context (which here obliquely reaffirms the chthonic tie of Antigone and Earth). Related to this and to my reading of Antigone is Derrida’s wondering ‘‘if a tympanum is natural or constructed, if one does not always come back to the unity of a stretched, bordered, framed cloth that watches over its margins as virgin, homogeneous, and negative space, leaving its outside outside, without mark, without opposition, without determination, and ready, like matter, the matrix, the kho¯ra, to receive and repercuss type.’’ See Derrida, ‘‘Tympan,’’ xxvii/xxiv. On a different note, ‘‘Tympan’’ contains to my knowledge the inaugural use of ‘‘phallogocentrism,’’ though along this line it (Derrida insists) explicitly continues deconstructions already underway in Dissemination and Positions, both published in the same year as Margins of Philosophy. 57. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Comme si c’e´tait possible, ‘within such limits’ . . . ,’’ 285, in Papier Machine (Paris: Galile´e, 2001), 283–319; translated by Benjamin Ellwood with Elizabeth Rottenberg as ‘‘As If It Were Possible, ‘Within Such Limits’ . . . ,’’ 344, in Negotiations: Interventions and Interviews, 1971–2001, ed. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), 343–70. Here Derrida also writes, ‘‘here is perhaps that which, exposed like the ‘yes’ to the event, that is to say, to the experience of what arrives (happens) and of who then arrives, far from interrupting the question, gives to it its breath [viola` peut-eˆtre ce qui expose´ comme le ‘oui’ a` l’e´ve´nement, c’est-a`-dire a` l’expe´rience de ce qui arrive (happens) et de qui alors arrive (arrives), loin d’interrompre la question, lui donne sa respiration].’’ 58. Sophocles, Antigone, 850–52 (cited above). 59. This impossible necro-vitality retains a trace of Antigone’s impossible necro-philia, contaminated as it is by her ero¯s for the impossible. 60. Derrida, ‘‘As If It Were Possible, ‘Within Such Limits’ . . . ,’’ 399n/285n. Here Derrida describes this ‘‘living’’ in terms of spectrality, which he discusses using a rhetoric of le revenant (ghost), whose root links it to coming (venant), as of an event or of the impossible. For a lengthier treatment of spectrality, see Jacques Derrida, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, and the New International, trans. Peggy Kamuf (New York: Routledge, 1994). 61. Derrida, Glas, 186/209. 62. Sophocles, Antigone, 471 (Woodruff ) (cited above), 651–52 (Blondell). 63. Derrida, Glas, 187/210, 146/165. Immediately preceding this second citation, Derrida writes that ‘‘the two functions of (the) burial (place) raise again the dead from his death [les deux fonctions de la se´pulture rele`vent le mort de sa mort],’’ which resonates with Antigone’s living death. 64. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Foi et savoir: Les deux sources de la ‘religion’ aux limites de la simple raison,’’ 68–69, in La religion, ed. Jacques Derrida and Gianni 126

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Vattimo (Paris: E´ditions du Seuil, 1996), 9–86; translated by Samuel Weber as ‘‘Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone,’’ 51, in Religion, ed. Jacques Derrida and Gianni Vattimo (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), 1–78. Derrida continues: ‘‘there stands the possibility of religion.’’ Derrida’s comments here allude to a relation of death drive and tekhne¯, which I mention in chapter 1. 65. That posthumanous living always involves living on points to its a`-venir quality of unforeseeability and open-endedness, which highlights the infinite in the finite, as in Derrida’s ‘‘in-finite [l’in-fini].’’ 66. Jacques Derrida, H.C. pour la vie, c’est a` dire . . . (Paris: Galile´e, 2000), 39; translated by Laurent Milesi and Stefan Herbrechter as H.C. for Life, That Is to Say . . . (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006), 39; see also 80/72, where Derrida explains that ‘‘there is no side for death, this is what finitude means here, paradoxically,’’ as well as 88/78 and 113/98. 67. Ibid., 134/116, 48/46; see also 26–27/29 and 55/53 for Derrida’s explicit mentions of Antigone in this text. I discuss Derrida’s conception of ‘‘living together [vivre ensemble]’’ in chapter 2. 68. Derrida, H.C. for Life, That Is to Say . . . , 81/73, my emphasis; see also 114/100, where Derrida writes explicitly that ‘‘death is neither unknown nor denied, nor avoided.’’ 69. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Survivre,’’ 137, in Parages (Paris: Galile´e, 1986), 117–218; translated by James Hulbert as ‘‘Living On: Border Lines,’’ 91, in Deconstruction and Criticism, ed. Harold Bloom et al. (New York: Seabury Press, 1979), 75–176. This passage appears in only the English text. Though this essay is a reading of Maurice Blanchot’s Death Sentence, trans. Lydia Davis (Barrytown, N.Y.: Station Hill Press, 1998), it is replete with allusions to Antigone. Interestingly, this essay is also an explicit nonreading of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s ‘‘The Triumph of Life.’’ 70. Derrida, ‘‘Living On: Border Lines,’’ 95/140, 98/143. In this way, survie resonates with what Leonard Lawlor calls ‘‘life-ism,’’ which he unfolds in terms of spacing, ‘‘finitization,’’ and the co-implication of living and dying. See Leonard Lawlor, The Implications of Immanence: Toward a New Concept of Life (New York: Fordham University Press, 2006), 122–46. 71. Derrida, ‘‘Living On: Border Lines,’’ 135/179, 94 (this passage appears in only the English text); see also 103/149, 107/152, 136/179, and 165/206 for related mentions of survival (survie). 72. Ibid., 108/153, 112/157, 122/166. 73. Derrida, H.C. for Life, That Is to Say . . . , 48/46; see also 52/50. 74. Ibid., 87–88/78. 75. Ibid., 89/79, my emphasis. 76. Derrida, ‘‘As If It Were Possible, ‘Within Such Limits’ . . . ,’’ 344/285. 77. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Mes ‘humanite´s’ du dimanche,’’ 325, 327, 330, 331, in Papier Machine, 321–31; translated by Rachel Bowlby as ‘‘My Sunday ‘Humanities,’ ’’ 103, 105, 107, 108, in Paper Machine (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), 100–8. Notes

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78. Derrida, Glas, 187/210. Suivre is an anagram of survie, and a` suivre is related to a`-venir. 4. Cryptic Crossing 1. Simone Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes (Paris: Gallimard, 1988–), 12.8/6.3.386. References to Weil’s Oeuvres comple`tes give first (when applicable) the cahier and manuscript numbers from Weil’s original journals and then the tome, volume, and page numbers in the Oeuvres comple`tes. Translations of Weil’s texts are my own. 2. Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes, 9.87/6.3.219. I note in passing the nearhomophony of supple´er and supplier, of supple´ance and supplice. 3. This doctrinal formula and its distinction of nature and hypostasis receive official sanction in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon, officially resolving Christological debates stemming from the Council of Nicea in 325. For helpful commentaries on these Christological arguments and formulations, see Basil Studer, Trinity and Incarnation: The Faith of the Early Church, ed. Andrew Louth, trans. Matthias Westerhoff (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1993), esp. 101–219; and Gerald O’Collins, Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus Christ (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), esp. 224–49. 4. Leonard Lawlor, The Implications of Immanence: Toward a New Concept of Life (New York: Fordham University Press, 2006), 144. 5. Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes, 15.29–30/6.4.224–25. 6. Ibid., 16.96–97/6.4.296. 7. See Aristotle, Poetics, 1449b20–28, 1450a15–19, and 1453a10–15, in The Complete Works, vol. 2, ed. Jonathan Barnes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984). 8. Sophocles, Antigone, trans. Ruby Blondell (Newburyport, Mass.: Focus Classical Library, 1998), 891–93; Sophocles, Antigone, trans. Paul Woodruff (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2001), 921–23. References to Antigone give line numbers that correspond in Greek and English. Blondell translates lines 921–22 as ‘‘What justice of divinities have I transgressed?/Why should I still, unhappy one, look to the gods?’’ 9. Mark 15.34. All New Testament citations are from the NRSV in The New Oxford Annotated Bible, 3rd ed., ed. Michael D. Coogan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). 10. For the other three instances, see Mark 5.41, 7.34, and 14.36. 11. See Simone Weil, Attente de Dieu (Paris: Fayard, 1998), 109, and Simone Weil, Intuitions pre´-chre´tiennes (Paris: Fayard, 1985), 148. 12. Jacques Lacan, Le se´minaire, livre VII: L’e´thique de la psychanalyse, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller (Paris: E´ditions du Seuil, 1986), 297; translated by Dennis Porter as The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1959–1960) (New York: Norton, 1997), 255. On a related point, Lacan suggests an interesting link between feminine desire and what he calls ‘‘the favored image of Christ on the cross.’’ See Lacan, Seminar VII, 262/304. 128

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13. Lacan, Seminar VII, 273/318. 14. See Mark 16.1–8. For incisive treatments of Mark from a variety of scholarly perspectives, see (among others) Jack Dean Kingsbury, The Christology of Mark’s Gospel (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983); Mark and Method: New Approaches in Biblical Studies, ed. Janice Capel Anderson and Stephen D. Moore (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1992); Mary Ann Tolbert, Sowing the Gospel: Mark’s Work in Literary-Historical Perspective (Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1996); and Delbert Burkett, Rethinking the Gospel Sources: From Proto-Mark to Mark (New York: T&T Clark, 2004). 15. Jean-Luc Nancy, Des lieux divins (Mauvezin: Trans-Europ-Repress, 1987), §§5–6/8; translated by Michael Holland as ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §§5–6/116, in The Inoperative Community, ed. Peter Connor (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991), 110–50. Subsequent citations give section numbers followed by English and then French paginations. 16. Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §6/117/9. 17. Ibid., §6/117/9. For related reflections on addressing God, see Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Sauf le nom,’’ trans. John P. Leavey Jr., in On the Name, ed. Thomas Dutoit (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), 35–85, esp. 37–43 and 58–68. 18. Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §6/117/9. 19. For a critical exposition of this latter movement, cast in a reading of JeanLuc Marion’s work (and including references to Pseudo-Dionysius and Meister Eckhart), see Jacques Derrida, ‘‘How to Avoid Speaking: Denials,’’ trans. Ken Frieden, in Derrida and Negative Theology, ed. Harold Coward and Toby Foshay (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992), 73–142. See also Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §8/117–119/10–12. 20. Jacques Derrida, De la grammatologie (Paris: E´ditions de Minuit, 1967), 208; translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak as Of Grammatology, corrected ed. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 145. 21. Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §8/118/10–11. 22. Ibid., §6/117/9; see also §12/121/14, where Nancy writes that ‘‘the singular address to the singular god—my God!—is prayer in general.’’ Nancy’s suggestion here resonates with John Caputo’s assertion that ‘‘ ‘God’ . . . is not only a name but an injunction, an invitation, a solicitation.’’ See John D. Caputo, On Religion (New York: Routledge, 2001), 141. Nancy’s comment linking address and prayer demonstrates an affinity with the phenomenology of prayer that JeanLouis Chre´tien develops in ‘‘The Wounded Word,’’ trans. Jeffrey L. Kosky, in Phenomenology and the ‘‘Theological Turn’’: The French Debate, by Dominique Janicaud et al. (New York: Fordham University Press, 2000), 147–75. 23. In so doing, Jesus inversely repeats the double call that Abraham receives from an angel on Mount Moriah in the Akedah, the near-sacrifice of his son Isaac. Though God calls Abraham’s name only once, the angel calls its twice: ‘‘an angel of the lord called to him from heaven: ‘Abraham! Abraham!’ ’’ See Genesis 22.1 and 22.11. In Mark’s gospel narrative, Jesus calls ‘‘my God’’ twice, reversing the Notes

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direction of address. This quasi-repetition becomes more interesting given the hermeneutic history of biblical commentaries, which sometimes read the sacrifice of the Son in Jesus’ crucifixion as the fulfillment of Abraham’s uncompleted sacrifice of his son (and therefore as the Christian fulfillment of this Jewish story). Read in this light, Jesus also represents an exchange of human for animal, which reverses the exchange of animal for human that takes place on Mount Moriah when Abraham sacrifices a ram in place of Isaac, though Jesus’ two natures (fully human and fully divine) complicate this human–animal economy. 24. Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §7/117/9–10. 25. Ibid., §7/117/10; see also §§34–35. Interestingly, the idiom a` de´faut de means in lieu of, which intimates that de´faut can be a lack as well as a supplement—or perhaps even a lack that supplements, a lack as a supplement. 26. Ibid., §9/119/12. 27. Ibid., §7/117/10. For an extended exploration of the aporias involved in address, see Jacques Derrida, The Post Card: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987). Derrida also pointedly treats address in ‘‘Passages—From Traumatism to Promise,’’ in Points . . . : Interviews 1974–1994, ed. Elisabeth Weber, trans. Peggy Kamuf et al. (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), 372–95; ‘‘Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone,’’ trans. Samuel Weber, in Religion, ed. Jacques Derrida and Gianni Vattimo (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), 1–78; and Demeure: Fiction and Testimony, trans. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000). 28. Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §12/121/14. 29. Ibid., §12/121/15. For a compelling reading of a` in terms of address, see David Wills, ‘‘To Give, Letterally,’’ in Matchbook: Essays in Deconstruction (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), 69–89. 30. Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §11/121/14. (‘‘Livre a`’’ might also be translated as ‘‘delivers to’’ or ‘‘surrenders to.’’) Translator Michael Holland offers a note suggesting Nancy’s proximity to Levinas here by pointing to Levinas’s Of God Who Comes to Mind, trans. Bettina Bergo (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), esp. 165–70 and 177. For insightful readings of Levinas’s oeuvre that pay particular attention to ‘‘a`-Dieu,’’ see Jacques Derrida, Adieu: To Emmanuel Levinas, trans. Pascale-Anne Brault and Michael Naas (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999); Hent de Vries, Philosophy and the Turn to Religion (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), esp. 24–28 and 258–65; and Hent de Vries, Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), esp. 178–200 and 287–92. 31. Weil, Attente de Dieu, 110. 32. Ibid., 106. 33. Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes, 8.59/6.3.88. 34. Weil, Attente de Dieu, 106. 35. Kenotic Christologies base themselves primarily on the Pauline corpus, especially Philippians 2.5–8: ‘‘Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ 130

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Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself [alla eauton ekeno¯sen], taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.’’ But this passage’s rhetoric troubles its own high Christology of Jesus’ ‘‘human likeness,’’ which becomes a central doctrinal issue in the fourth century, particularly with respect to the Arian controversy, the Councils of Nicea and Chalcedon, and the Christological and trinitarian doctrines that emerge. For some important texts in these debates, see Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1996) and Discours Contre les Ariens, trans. A. Vaillant (Sofia: Acade´mie des Sciences de Bulgarie, 1954); Basil of Caesarea, On the Human Condition, trans. Nonna Verna Harrison (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2005); Gregory of Nazianzus, God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius, trans. Frederick Williams and Lionel R. Wickham (Crestwood, N.Y.: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2002); The Christological Controversy, ed. and trans. Richard A. Norris Jr. (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980); and The Trinitarian Controversy, ed. and trans. William G. Rusch (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980). For summaries and discussions of these historical and related contemporary Christological debates, see Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, 1: The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100–600) (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975), esp. 172–277; R. P. C. Hanson, The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318–381 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2005); Brian O. McDermott, Word Become Flesh: Dimensions of Christology (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1993), esp. 193–248; Oliver D. Crisp, Divinity and Humanity: The Incarnation Reconsidered (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), esp. 118–53; and Kathryn Tanner, ‘‘Jesus Christ,’’ in The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine, ed. Colin E. Gunton (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 245–72. 36. Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes, 5.119/6.2.270; see also 5.119/6.2.271 and Weil, Attente de Dieu, 131. Her account of creation remarkably (though seemingly unknowingly) resembles Isaac Luria’s Kabbalistic doctrine of Tsimtsum (withdrawal or retreat), according to which the first act of En-Sof is not an expansion but a contraction of the divine. Gershom Scholem offers outstanding treatments of Lurianic Kabbalism in Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (New York: Schocken Books, 1995), 244–86; and On the Mystical Shape of the Godhead: Basic Concepts in the Kabbalah, ed. Jonathan Chipman, trans. Joachim Neugroschel (New York: Schocken Books, 1991), 82–87. 37. Anselm articulates this landmark vision of God most powerfully in his ‘‘ontological argument’’ for God’s existence in his Proslogion. See Anselm, Monologion and Proslogion, trans. Thomas Williams (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1996), 91–117. 38. This divine decreation deconstructively undoes God (especially God as Trinity), providing an ontological analogue to apophasis as unsaying—which also Notes

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takes place here insofar as Jesus is the Word/Logos/Verbe: the Word is unsaid as God (as Son) is torn from God (as Father). For a commentary on decreation, see Miklos Veto¨, The Religious Metaphysics of Simone Weil, trans. Joan Dargan (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994), 11–40, esp. 33. 39. Weil, Attente de Dieu, 99; see also 120, where Weil describes affliction as a nail (clou). 40. Ibid., 101; Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes, 6.31/6.2.313. 41. Weil, Attente de Dieu, 102. 42. John of the Cross, The Dark Night, 1.0.1/360, in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez (Washington, D.C.: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1991), 358–457. 43. Ibid., 2.5.2/401, 2.6.5/405; see also 2.10.1–10/416–19 and 2.16.9/433. 44. Weil, Attente de Dieu, 103; Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes, 5.40/6.2.195. 45. For a quite different but related reflection on ‘‘the perverse core of Christianity,’’ see Slavoj Zˇizˇek, The Puppet and the Dwarf (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003), 171. 46. John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006), 43; see also 84–97 for an extended account of divine weakness as well as 284–99, where Caputo considers prayer and ‘‘a`-Dieu.’’ 47. Caputo, The Weakness of God, 44. This stress on powerlessness represents a point of tangency with Caputo, though because his interest is in theology (rather than Christology), he pursues these ideas according to a different desire. 48. Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §11/120–21/14. 49. Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes, 6.14/6.2.297, 10.91/6.3.315. For a different expression of questioning and waiting as prayer, see Augustine, Confessions, trans. Maria Boulding (Hyde Park, N.Y.: New City Press, 1997), 10.1.1–10.7.11. Caputo invokes this Augustinian example in his repeated discussions of prayerful and attentive calling to God. See, for example, On Religion, 132–41; The Weakness of God, 295–99; and The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion Without Religion (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997), 69–76, 286– 308, and 331–39. 50. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Une certaine possibilite´ impossible de dire l’e´ve´nement,’’ 81, 84, in Dire l’e´ve´nement, est-ce possible? (Montre´al: L’Harmattan, 2001), 79–112; translated by Gila Walker as ‘‘A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event,’’ 441, 443, Critical Inquiry 33 (Winter 2007): 441–61. 51. Derrida, ‘‘A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event,’’ 452/ 98–99. Derrida names justice, gift, invention, forgiveness, promise, and hospitality as examples of events—examples that he considers at length elsewhere. 52. John D. Caputo, ‘‘Temporal Transcendence: The Very Idea of a`-venir in Derrida,’’ 196, 197, in Transcendence and Beyond, ed. John D. Caputo and Michael J. Scanlon (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007), 188–203. Caputo describes the event, as a`-venir, in terms of desire and of what he calls ‘‘an infinite intensification of hope.’’ See Caputo, ‘‘Temporal Transcendence,’’ 199. He also suggests that transcendence is a function of a`-venir. 132

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53. See Mark 15.37. 54. For a discussion of the messianic, see Derrida, ‘‘Faith and Knowledge.’’ 55. Weil, Oeuvres comple`tes, 6.102/6.2.368; see also 6.50/6.2.328. 5. Touching Transcendence, in the Flesh 1. Robert Pogue Harrison, The Dominion of the Dead (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 71. 2. Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus (Paris: E´ditions Me´tailie´, 2000), 16, 17, my emphasis; reprinted with a translation by Richard A. Rand in Corpus (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), 14. References to Corpus are to the French and give paginations from the Fordham and then the Me´tailie´ editions. Translations of Corpus are my own. Here my translation of this final clause (‘‘ce mort que je suis vivant’’) plays on the grammatical plasticity of mort and vivant, which can be nouns—a dead person and a living person, respectively—or adjectives—dead and living, which can be (and often are) nominalized, as the dead and the living. (Vivant can also be a participle). Resonant in this clause, then, are the senses of ‘‘this dead person that I am while living’’ (which is close to Rand’s translation: ‘‘this dead person I am while alive’’), ‘‘this dead person that I am living,’’ and ‘‘this, dead, that I am, living,’’ as well as ‘‘this death that I am living’’ (given the aural proximity of le mort, dead person, and la mort, death) and even ‘‘this that I am, dead and living.’’ 3. Nancy, Corpus, 14/17. Vouer can also mean to devote, to consecrate, or to give up. 4. Ibid., 14/16. Nancy’s use of ‘‘this [ceci]’’ owes a debt to Hegel, on whose work Nancy has written extensively. In his Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel writes that ‘‘I, this particular I, am certain of this particular thing,’’ with certainty representing ‘‘an immediate pure connection: consciousness is ‘I,’ nothing more, a pure ‘This’ ’’ that takes shape in this ‘‘here’’ and ‘‘now.’’ See G. W. F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, trans. A.V. Miller (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977), §§90–106. According to Thomas Carlson, ‘‘the meaning and utterance of the This set the Phenomenology as a whole into motion and bring to light, together with the basic character of language, the fundamental dynamic of the Aufhebung’’—though, Carlson notes, ‘‘the immediate, sensuous, particular ‘This’ (spatially as the ‘Here,’ temporally as the ‘Now’), does not in fact reach language.’’ See Thomas A. Carlson, Indiscretion: Finitude and the Naming of God (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 105–7. Here Carlson cites Giorgio Agamben’s consideration of Hegel’s ‘‘this’’ in Agamben, Language and Death: The Place of Negativity, trans. Karen E. Pinkus with Michael Hardt (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991), esp. 6–26. 5. See Jacques Lacan, The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX: Encore, 1972– 1973 (On Feminine Sexuality, The Limits of Love and Knowledge), ed. JacquesAlain Miller, trans. Bruce Fink (New York: Norton, 1999), 64–95. When Nancy imports Lacan’s term, he also alters its spelling: it appears in Lacan’s text as ‘‘exsistence.’’ Notes

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6. Erin Manning, Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007), xix; see also 110–33 for her most sustained discussion of the event. 7. Jacques Derrida, H.C. pour la vie, c’est a` dire . . . (Paris: Galile´e, 2002), 39, 72; translated by Laurent Milesi and Stefan Herbrechter as H.C. for Life, That Is to Say . . . (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006), 39, 80; see also 40, 48, 80–81, 86–88. 8. Derrida, H.C. for Life, That Is to Say . . . , 89/79. Derrida continues: ‘‘we will later call this experience, or even experimentation’’—in other words, a trial. 9. Ibid., 14/17. 10. Ibid., 18/20. For an earlier exploration of exscription, see Jean-Luc Nancy, ‘‘L’excrit,’’ in Une pense´e finie (Paris: Galile´e, 1990), 55–64. 11. Nancy, Corpus, 14/17. For a phenomenological account of flesh vis-a`-vis the event, to which one is given over (adonne´), see Jean-Luc Marion, In Excess: Studies of Saturated Phenomena, trans. Robyn Horner and Vincent Berraud (New York: Fordham University Press, 2002), 82–103; see also 30–53 for Marion’s account of the event, which he describes as ‘‘the happening phenomenon’’ in a situation of donation. 12. Mark Taylor also makes this observation, writing that ‘‘at the point where I make contact with the world, I am always already dead,’’ though he does so in a notably different context and toward a different end. See Mark C. Taylor, Hiding (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), 13; see more generally 10–31 and 74–146 for Taylor’s provocative treatments of skin. For two complementary though very different expositions of skin (from Taylor’s and from one another’s), see Nina G. Jablonski, Skin: A Natural History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006), esp. 9–21 (where she offers a biological account of skin) and 97–111 (where she explores touch); and Claudia Benthien, Skin: On the Cultural Border Between Self and World, trans. Thomas Dunlap (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002), esp. 63–94 and 185–220 (which includes her consideration of touch). 13. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Diffe´rance,’’ 8, in Marges: De la philosophie (Paris: E´ditions de Minuit, 1972), 1–29; translated by Alan Bass as ‘‘Diffe´rance,’’ 8, in Margins of Philosophy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 1–27. 14. Manning, Politics of Touch, 67; see also 58. 15. Ibid., 12, 141; see also 15, where Manning suggests that ‘‘politics of touch are tactical discursive tactics of the unknowable.’’ For a related reflection, see Jacques Derrida, Le toucher, Jean-Luc Nancy (Paris: Galile´e, 2000), 37; translated by Christine Irizarry as On Touching—Jean-Luc Nancy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), 24. For a complementary and catalogic ethical examination of embodied touch in Occidental thought, see Stephen David Ross, The Gift of Touch: Embodying the Good (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998). 16. Manning, Politics of Touch, 12, 9. For an insightful exploration of skin and touch in related veins, see Karmen MacKendrick, Word Made Skin: Figuring Language at the Surface of Flesh (New York: Fordham University Press, 2004), 134

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esp. 25–70, where MacKendrick offers a profound reading of the Gospel of John via Nancy’s Corpus, to which my reading of Mark might (I hope) be a complement. 17. Jean-Luc Nancy, ‘‘Sens elliptique,’’ 280, in Une pense´e finie, 269–96; translated by Jonathan Derbyshire as ‘‘Elliptical Sense,’’ 99, in A Finite Thinking, ed. Simon Sparks (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 91–111. See also Manning, Politics of Touch, 12, where she writes that ‘‘touch is a directionality toward a body which has-not-yet-become, not a body in stasis, but a body moved and moving,’’ that is, a body a`-venir. 18. Manning, Politics of Touch, 135. 19. Nancy, Corpus, 24/24, 122/107, 16/18, 125/113; see also 60/55. Martin Warner extends this contention theologically within the context of a spiritual itinerary, with particular attention to Jesus’ body and to the centrality of touch (and sensory experiences more generally) in Jesus’ Passion. See Martin Warner, Known to the Senses (New York: Continuum, 2004), esp. 48–65. 20. Nancy, Corpus, 86/76. 21. Ibid., 122/107; Nancy, ‘‘Elliptical Sense,’’ 102/283, 103/285. For related discussions, see Jean-Luc Nancy, The Sense of the World, trans. Jeffrey S. Librett (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), 10–15, 68–75, and 156–59. 22. For discussions of limits in this vein, see Nancy, Corpus, 86/76. 23. Nancy, ‘‘Elliptical Sense,’’ 98/279. Ian James calls this ‘‘transimmanence,’’ especially with respect to touch. See Ian James, The Fragmentary Demand: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Jean-Luc Nancy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006), 216; see also 131–51 for James’s reading of Corpus. For a discussion of transcendence that ends in ‘‘in-scendence,’’ see John D. Caputo, The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006), 42–45. 24. Nancy, ‘‘Elliptical Sense,’’ 98/279. 25. Ibid., 108/291 (where Nancy considers experience reconceived as passion—which is always destined to the impossible); Jean-Luc Nancy, ‘‘Une pense´e finie,’’ 37, in Une pense´e finie, 9–53; translated by Edward Bullard, Jonathan Derbyshire, and Simon Sparks as ‘‘A Finite Thinking,’’ 20, in A Finite Thinking, 3–30. 26. This statement touches on the ‘‘synoptic problem’’ and the related foursource hypothesis, which includes the hypostasized Q source. For a brief, helpful discussion of these issues, see Bart D. Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), 76–83. 27. Mark 1.1. For a range of approaches to and readings of Mark, see (among others) Ehrman, The New Testament, 60–75; Pheme Perkins, Reading the New Testament: An Introduction, rev. ed. (Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1988), 51–75, 98–112, 203–12; and Burton L. Mack, A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988). For additional references, see chap. Notes

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4 note 14. For related discussions of Jesus, see (among others) E. P. Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1993); Paula Fredriksen, From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Christ, 2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000); and Delbert Burkett, The Son of Man Debate: A History and Evaluation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). 28. Mark’s almost singular emphasis on touching sharply contrasts this thoroughly embodied, human Jesus with the Jesus depicted by the Gospel of John. The most striking opposition comes when, appearing to Mary Magdalene after his resurrection, Jesus says to her, ‘‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father.’’ See John 20.17. Jesus’ command was translated from Greek [me¯ mou aptou] into the Latin Vulgate as ‘‘noli me tangere,’’ which has traditionally been translated into other languages as ‘‘do not touch me’’ (though here the NRSV offers ‘‘do not hold on to me’’). Nancy creatively examines iconic representations of this scene in Noli me tangere: On the Raising of the Body, trans. Sarah Clift, Pascale-Anne Brault, and Michael Naas (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), 3–54. Noli me tangere also provides an interesting counterpoint to Corpus and to Dis-Enclosure in terms of Nancy’s writings on Christianity. 29. Mark 1.40–42. In these verses, ‘‘clean’’ translates words rooted in katharos, which bears an etymological kinship with katharsis. Two verses later, Jesus’ parting words to the man instruct him to ‘‘offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded,’’ further entwining Jesus’ touch with Mosaic law, healing with cleansing. For a detailed consideration of related points in their legal contexts, see James W. Watts, Ritual and Rhetoric in Leviticus: From Sacrifice to Scripture (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). For a different perspective on these matters, see Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo (New York: Routledge, 2002), 8–35 and 51–71. Along these lines, see Mark 5.2–13, when Jesus casts unclean spirits into swine, and Mark 7.19, when Jesus declares all foods clean. 30. Mark 7.32–35. 31. Mark 8.22–25. 32. Mark 5.23. 33. Mark 5.39, 5.41–52. 34. Mark 9.27. Interestingly, between these two encounters, Jesus instructs a crowd and his disciples that to follow him requires self-denial, as his followers ‘‘take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake . . . will save it.’’ See Mark 8.34–35. Here he offers a complex inversion of life and death in the context of discipleship. 35. Mark 5.25–28. 36. Mark 5.30, 5.34. 37. Mark 3.10, 6.56. 38. Manning, Politics of Touch, 75, my emphasis. ‘‘Mediation’’ raises again questions of corporeality vis-a`-vis dead skin and death and, therefore, relations of the touchable and the untouchable. 136

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39. Jean-Louis Chre´tien, L’appel et la re´ponse (Paris: E´ditions de Minuit, 1992), 103; translated by Anne A. Davenport as The Call and the Response (New York: Fordham University Press, 2004), 85, translation modified; see also 119–20/141. 40. Chre´tien, The Call and the Response, 88/106, translation modified. 41. Aristotle, On the Soul, 434b22–23, 435b17, in The Complete Works, vol. 1, ed. Jonathan Barnes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984). In both of these instances, ‘‘touch’’ translates a variation of aisthe¯se¯, whose original domain was not art but reality as experienced by living bodies. Touch here points to the embodied experiences that register throughout the corporeal sensorium. I thank John Lardas Modern for this point. 42. Chre´tien, The Call and the Response, 97/117; see also 86/104 and 107/ 128, and Derrida, On Touching, 47/62. 43. See Aristotle, On the Soul, 434b20. 44. Mark 2.1–11. 45. See Mark 3.1–5. 46. Chre´tien, The Call and the Response, 89/107. 47. Nancy, ‘‘Elliptical Sense,’’ 109/293; see also 95/275, where he writes that ‘‘this space without space that is the limit itself . . . has no limits, and thus it is infinite, but it is not an infinite space, and thus it is, not even ‘finished’ [‘finie’], but the end, or finitude, itself.’’ For related remarks on love, see Jean-Luc Nancy, ‘‘Shattered Love,’’ trans. Lisa Garbus and Simona Sawhney, in The Inoperative Community, ed. Peter Connor (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991), 82–109. See also Derrida, On Touching, 291/327. 48. Nancy, Corpus, 122/107 (cited above). 49. Ibid., 16/18. For creative explorations of alterity vis-a`-vis skin, see The Eight Technologies of Otherness, ed. Sue Golding (New York: Routledge, 1997), 163–206. 50. Luce Irigaray, J’aime a` toi: Esquisse d’une fe´licite´ dans l’histoire (Paris: Grasset, 1992), 162; translated by Alison Martin as I Love to You: Sketch of a Possible Felicity in History (New York: Routledge, 1996), 104. Irigaray elsewhere refers to this transcendence as horizontal transcendence or as a sensible transcendental. On this point, see also Nancy, Corpus, 118/104, and Derrida, On Touching, 281/317. 51. Derrida, On Touching, 103/121, 297/333. 52. Manning, Politics of Touch, 155, 156, 59. I discuss prosthesis in greater detail in chapters 2 and 3. 53. Derrida, On Touching, 113/131, 119/137; see also 125/144, where he writes that ‘‘there is never any pure, immediate experience of the continuous. Nor of closeness. Nor of absolute proximity. Nor of pure indifferentiation.’’ For a complementary consideration of touch, particularly vis-a`-vis tekhne¯, see Mark Paterson, The Senses of Touch: Haptics, Affects, and Technologies (Oxford: Berg, 2007), esp. 127–45. 54. Nancy, Corpus, 14/17 (cited above), 118/104. Notes

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55. Ibid., 118/104, 86/76 (cited above); see also 100/89, where Nancy discloses that ‘‘there is no experience of the body [il n’y a pas d’expe´rience du corps]’’ and that such an ‘‘absence of foundation’’ exposes ‘‘existence as tekhne¯.’’ 56. Derrida, On Touching, 224/252. 57. See Mark 6.13. Later, in Mark 14.8, a woman anoints Jesus’ body with oil, which Jesus explains by saying, ‘‘she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial.’’ This anointing represents not a ritual of healing but one of burial, in which Jesus’ body is prepared for burial even while it is still alive, so that, after this episode, Jesus lives posthumanously in a kind of corpse. 58. Mark 10.13–16. 59. Chre´tien, The Call and the Response, 117/138. 60. Mark 15.34. 61. Jean-Louis Chre´tien, ‘‘La parole blesse´e,’’ 45, in Phe´nome´nologie et the´ologie, ed. Jean-Franc¸ois Courtine (Paris: Criterion, 1992), 41–78; translated by Jeffrey L. Kosky as ‘‘The Wounded Word,’’ 150, in Phenomenology and the ‘‘Theological Turn’’: The French Debate, by Dominique Janicaud et al. (New York: Fordham University Press, 2000), 147–75. Chre´tien later writes that ‘‘it is only in saying You that the I can be completely exposed, beyond all that it can master.’’ See Chre´tien, ‘‘The Wounded Word,’’ 161/59. 62. Chre´tien, ‘‘The Wounded Word,’’ 147/41, 164/63, 158/55. 63. Nancy, Corpus, 32/31. Derrida invokes this neologism in On Touching, 267/301. 64. Chre´tien, ‘‘The Wounded Word,’’ 175/78. 65. Ibid., 175/77. 66. Ibid., 175/78, translation modified. 67. Nancy, Corpus, 76/68. 68. Ibid., 80/70. 69. Ibid., 60/55, 58/53. 70. This remark, made during a seminar at the University of California, Irvine, is included in the 1999 film D’ailleurs Derrida, directed by Safaa Fathy. It points to the deconstruction of Christianity that I discuss in chapter 6. 6. The Tragedy of Christianity 1. Jacques Derrida, Force de loi (Paris: Galile´e, 1994), 37; translated by Mary Quaintance as ‘‘Force of Law: The ‘Mystical Foundation of Authority,’ ’’ 16, in Deconstruction and the Possibility of Justice, ed. Drucilla Cornell, Michel Rosenfeld, and David Gray Carlson (New York: Routledge, 1992), 3–67. 2. Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus (Paris: E´ditions Me´tailie´, 2000), 112; reprinted with a translation by Richard A. Rand in Corpus (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), 98. References to Corpus are to the French and give paginations from the Fordham and then the Me´tailie´ editions. Translations of Corpus are my own. 3. Jacques Derrida, Le toucher, Jean-Luc Nancy (Paris: Galile´e, 2000), 129; translated by Christine Irizarry as On Touching—Jean-Luc Nancy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), 111; see also 113/131 and 125/144. Elsewhere, 138

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Derrida writes that experience or experimentation—in other words, trial—is the name for ‘‘life for life . . . a living of death, but yes, still living death, living it . . . for life [la vie pour la vie . . . un vivre la mort, mais, mais si, la vivre encore, la mort, la vivre . . . pour la vie].’’ See Jacques Derrida, H.C. pour la vie, c’est a` dire . . . (Paris: Galile´e, 2002), 79; translated by Laurent Milesi and Stefan Herbrechter as H.C. for Life, That Is to Say . . . (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006), 89. 4. Nancy, Corpus, 100/89. 5. Ibid., 122/107; see also 60/55, where Nancy writes that ‘‘man is body, absolutely, or he is not. . . . This is why the ‘man’ of ‘humanism,’ dedicated to signify, oversignify, insignify his body [voue´ a` signifier, sursignifer, insignifer son corps], has slowly dissolved both his body and himself.’’ 6. Ibid., 34/32. 7. Ibid., 60/54–55. ‘‘Ex limon terrae’’ (‘‘out of the dust of the earth’’) comes from the Latin Vulgate’s translation of Genesis 2.7. 8. Erin Manning, Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007), 75. 9. Derrida, On Touching, 261/292. 10. Jean-Luc Nancy, Des lieux divins (Mauvezin: Trans-Europ-Repress, 1987), §49/48–49; translated by Michael Holland as ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §49/149, in The Inoperative Community, ed. Peter Connor (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991), 110–50. Subsequent citations give section numbers followed by English and then French paginations. 11. Mark 15.34. 12. Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §33/137/34. 13. Mark 15.34 (cited above), Mark 14.22. In their Last Supper accounts, Matthew 26.26 and Luke 22.19 offer versions of these words. Matthew has Jesus say, ‘‘Take, eat; this is my body,’’ while Luke’s Jesus says, ‘‘This is my body, which is given for you.’’ Luke comes very close to Paul’s Jesus in 1 Corinthians 11.24: ‘‘This is my body that is for you.’’ John’s gospel noticeably lacks this scene in its brief narration of the Last Supper. 14. Mark 14.22. Hoc est corpus meum is the Vulgate translation of the Greek touto estin to so¯ma mou. Hoc est enim corpus meum, which Nancy cites, are the Eucharistic words that a Catholic priest says in a Latin mass. Though my analysis here focuses on transubstantiation rather than consubstantiation, especially insofar as the former insists on a material manifestation, both name substitutions, with consubstantiation designating a metaphoric rather than material one. For a perspicacious exploration of the related dynamics of eating and alterity (according to what Derrida identifies as ‘‘carnophallogocentrism’’), see Jacques Derrida, ‘‘ ‘Eating Well,’ or the Calculation of the Subject,’’ trans. Peter Connor and Avital Ronell, in Points . . . : Interviews, 1974–1994, ed. Elisabeth Weber (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), 255–87. 15. Nancy, Corpus, 26/26, 52/48; see also 74/66. 16. Ibid., 90/80; see also 104/92. Notes

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17. Ibid., 86/76. 18. Jean-Luc Nancy, Le Sens du monde (Paris: Gallile´e, 1993), 28: translated by Jeffrey S. Librett as The Sense of the World (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), 14. 19. Nancy, Corpus, 18/19; see also 18/20. The ‘‘sending and divergence’’ that Nancy notes above seems here to take place via this open-ended to (a`). 20. I consider in greater detail the import of ‘‘my’’ in Jesus’ ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ in chapter 4. 21. Nancy, Corpus, 28/29; see also 74/66. 22. See Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §33/136–137/33. Pas de dieu is also a near-homophone of pas de deux, a dance performed by two persons. I thank Donovan Schaefer for this point. For perhaps the best use of the undecipherability of pas, see the writings of Maurice Blanchot, especially The Step Not Beyond, trans. Lycette Nelson (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992), and Faux Pas, trans. Charlotte Mandell (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001). Derrida also plays on this diffe´rance in essays such as ‘‘Pas,’’ in Parages (Paris: Galile´e, 1986), and ‘‘Pas d’hospitalite´,’’ in Of Hospitality, trans. Rachel Bowlby (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000). For a related treatment of pas in a religious register, see Mark C. Taylor, Nots (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993), esp. 28–54. 23. Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §33/137/33; see also §22/128/22 and §49/ 149/48–49. 24. Ibid., §33/137/34. 25. Jean-Luc Nancy, ‘‘La de´construction du christianisme,’’ 210–11, in La De´closion (De´construction du christianisme, 1) (Paris: Galile´e, 2005), 203–26; translated by Michael B. Smith as ‘‘The Deconstruction of Christianity,’’ 145, in Dis-Enclosure: The Deconstruction of Christianity, trans. Bettina Bergo, Gabriel Malenfant, and Michael B. Smith (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), 139–57; see also 156/226 on opening and ‘‘the open.’’ 26. Nancy, ‘‘The Deconstruction of Christianity,’’ 149/217; see also 151/219 on the ‘‘heart’’ of Christianity. 27. Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §34/139/35; see also §34/139/36, where Nancy discusses Meister Eckhart’s prayerful plea that God make him free of God, and §41/144/42, where Nancy writes ‘‘and therefore also an other god [dieu], or always an other place [lieu], and pas de dieu.’’ 28. Mark 15.37. For an original and compelling account of extreme pain’s world-destroying and language-shattering effects, see Elaine Scarry, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985). 29. Nancy, ‘‘Sens elliptique,’’ 279, in Une pense´e finie (Paris: Galile´e, 1990), 269–96; translated by Jonathan Derbyshire as ‘‘Elliptical Sense,’’ 98, in A Finite Thinking, ed. Simon Sparks (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 91–111. 30. Ibid., 108/291–92. Nancy continues: ‘‘that which would make here ‘condition of possibility’ (but also ‘ontology’) would be of the order of passion.’’ See 140

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also Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §31/134/30, on the wandering of ‘‘here’’ and of gods. 31. Nancy, ‘‘Elliptical Sense,’’ 92/271; see also 95/274, where Nancy remarks that ‘‘diffe´rance is passion.’’ 32. Derrida, On Touching, 298/334. Here Derrida quotes from Jean-Luc Nancy, The Gravity of Thought, trans. Franc¸ois Raffoul and Gregory Recco (Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press, 1997), 76. 33. Derrida, On Touching, 58/72. 34. Nancy, ‘‘Elliptical Sense,’’ 108/292. Because it lacks French’s gendered nouns and pronouns, English complicates the translation of an already complex passage to the point of obscurity. (This obscurity compounds given the undecidably reflexive-passive sense of reflexive verbs in French, which English cannot preserve.) I have inserted the nouns to which the pronouns refer in an effort to illuminate these sentences: ‘‘passion, always, is destined to the impossible. It [passion] does not transform it [the impossible] in/into the possible, it [passion] does not master it [the impossible], it [passion] is dedicated, it [passion] is exposed, passive at the limit where the impossible comes, that is to say, where everything comes . . . and where the impossible lets/abandons/entrusts itself (or is allowed/ abandoned/entrusted) to be reached as the limit.’’ 35. Nancy, The Sense of the World, 28/48, 30/52. See also Derrida, On Touching, 298/334, where he positions ‘‘the diffe´rance of tact’’ between ‘‘the intangible and the untouchable.’’ 36. Derrida, On Touching, 229/258. 37. Nancy, ‘‘The Deconstruction of Christianity,’’ 148/215. Christianity knows no shortage of theologies of the cross (including Weil’s, with its fixation on imitatio crucis), though particularly notable among contemporary ones is Ju¨rgen Moltmann, The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology, trans. R. A. Wilson and John Bowden (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993). 38. Derrida, On Touching, 219/247, 218/247. 39. Nancy, ‘‘The Deconstruction of Christianity,’’ 148/216. 40. Nancy, The Sense of the World, 144/218, 143/218. For related considerations of Christianity’s tragic dimensions, see (among others) H. Richard Niebuhr, The Responsible Self: An Essay in Christian Morality (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1999); John D. Barbour, ‘‘Niebuhr versus Niebuhr: The Tragic Nature of History,’’ Christian Century, 21 November 1984, 1096–99; Barbara Joan Hunt, The Paradox of Christian Tragedy (Troy, N.Y.: Whitson, 1985), esp. 63–79; Larry Bouchard, Tragic Method and Tragic Theology: Evil in Contemporary Drama and Religious Thought (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1989); and David Tracy, ‘‘Form and Fragment: The Recovery of the Hidden and Incomprehensible God,’’ Center for Theological Inquiry Reflections 3 (1999): 62–89. 41. Nancy, Corpus, 80/70. 42. Jean-Louis Chre´tien, ‘‘La parole blesse´e,’’ 77, in Phe´nome´nologie et the´ologie, ed. Jean-Franc¸ois Courtine (Paris: Criterion, 1992), 41–78; translated by Notes

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Jeffrey L. Kosky as ‘‘The Wounded Word,’’ 175, in Phenomenology and the ‘‘Theological Turn’’: The French Debate, by Dominique Janicaud et al. (New York: Fordham University Press, 2000), 147–75. 43. See Nancy, The Sense of the World, 145/220, where he quotes LacoueLabarthe. Nancy also considers the withdrawal of God in ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §2, §11, §16, §23, §30, and §33. 44. Ibid., 146/221. Here Nancy also unfolds the relation of tragic and divine withdrawal to sacrifice. 45. Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §2/112/4, §30/133/29. 46. Nancy, The Sense of the World, 147/224, 148/225; see also Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §§34–35/139/36. 47. Terry Eagleton, Sweet Violence: The Idea of the Tragic (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), 37. The scriptural quotation to which Eagleton refers is Jesus’ citation of Psalm 22 in his cry ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’—a citation that, Eagleton here remarks, ‘‘two of the evangelists, Luke and John, embarrasedly omit.’’ 48. Ibid., 37. 49. Ibid.; see also 40. 50. Nancy, Corpus, 106/94. This assertion resonates with Slavoj Zˇizˇek’s and John Caputo’s statements that I cite in chapter 1. 51. Ibid., 135/127. 52. Ibid., 134/127. 53. Ibid., 104/92; Nancy, ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §43/145/44. Whether s’espace is here reflexive or passive is, in some sense, moot, for in either case, body is ‘‘spaced [espace´]’’ and thereby rendered passive and ex-posed. 54. See Nancy, Dis-Enclosure, 144/210, for his description of Christianity as its own opening and dissolution. 55. Alphonso Lingis, Foreign Bodies (New York: Routledge, 1994), 89, 81. Opening 1. Jacques Lacan, Le se´minaire, livre VII: L’e´thique de la psychanalyse, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller (Paris: E´ditions du Seuil, 1986), 286; translated by Dennis Porter as The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book VII: The Ethics of Psychoanalysis (1959–1960) (New York: Norton, 1997), 244. 2. Jean-Luc Nancy, Des lieux divins (Mauvezin: Trans-Europ-Repress, 1987), §48/47; translated by Michael Holland as ‘‘Of Divine Places,’’ §48/148, in The Inoperative Community, ed. Peter Connor (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991), 110–50. ‘‘Dieu est mort dans l’Occident’’ might also be translated as ‘‘God is dead in [or within] the West.’’ 3. Jean-Luc Nancy, ‘‘La de´construction du christianisme,’’ 207, in La De´closion (De´construction du christianisme, 1) (Paris: Galile´e, 2005), 203–26; translated by Michael B. Smith as ‘‘The Deconstruction of Christianity,’’ 142, in Dis-Enclosure: The Deconstruction of Christianity, trans. Bettina Bergo, Gabriel Malenfant, and Michael B. Smith (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), 139–57. 142

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4. Nancy, ‘‘The Deconstruction of Christianity,’’ 143/208, my emphasis. Nancy continues: ‘‘up to this limit, up to this pass where the West can no longer do otherwise than let go of itself [jusqu’a` cette limite, jusqu’a` ce pas ou` l’Occident ne peut plus avoir qu’a` se de´pendre de soi] in order to continue to be the West, or in order to be yet [eˆtre encore] something of itself beyond [au-dela`] itself.’’ This letting go of itself might take place not (or not only) as a turning away from itself but as an opening up of itself, there at its limit where it touches, and potentially makes way for, the impossible. Moreover, Nancy’s contention raises another question, related to the ones above: would a survival of the West depend on a survival—which is also to say, a deconstruction—of Christianity? 5. Nancy, ‘‘The Deconstruction of Christianity,’’ 145/210–11. 6. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘Comme si c’e´tait possible, ‘within such limits’ . . . ,’’ 295, in Papier Machine (Paris: Galile´e, 2001), 283–319; translated by Benjamin Ellwood with Elizabeth Rottenberg as ‘‘As If It Were Possible, ‘Within Such Limits’ . . . ,’’ 352, in Negotiations: Interventions and Interviews, 1971–2001, ed. Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), 343–70. Derrida repeatedly cites this formulation, which he first offers in ‘‘Psyche: Invention of the Other,’’ the inaugural essay in Psyche: Inventions of the Other, vol. 1, ed. Peggy Kamuf and Elizabeth Rottenberg (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007), 1–47. 7. Jacques Derrida, ‘‘ ‘Il faut bien manger’ ou le calcul du sujet,’’ 290, in Points de suspension, ed. Elisabeth Weber (Paris: Galile´e, 1992), 269–301; translated by Peter Connor and Avital Ronell as ‘‘ ‘Eating Well,’ or the Calculation of the Subject,’’ 276, in Points . . . : Interviews, 1974–1994, ed. Elisabeth Weber (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995), 255–87.

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Index

a`, 3, 11, 50, 52, 61–62, 68, 84, 92, 96–97, 99, 104, 130n29 Abraham, 129–30n23 address, 18, 42, 92–93, 97, 98, 114n3, 120n4, 130n27; to an absence, 56, 67; apostrophic, 55–56, 58, 61–62, 66, 68, 69, 93, 95, 100; to the divine, 10, 57, 59–60, 62, 68, 85–86, 87, 99, 129n17, 129nn22–23 a`-Dieu, 61–62, 68, 69, 94, 99, 130n30, 132n46 affliction, 4, 56, 63, 64–67, 69, 70, 79, 103–4, 107n4, 132n39 Agamben, Giorgio, 118n48, 125n50, 133n4 ahuman (anhumain), 37, 43 animal, 39–42, 46, 82, 110–11n21, 129–30n23 animality, 1, 38 Anselm, 64 Antigone, 2–5, 6–13, 15–19, 20–35, 36–37, 39–53, 54–59, 73, 74, 103–5, 108n6, 109nn8–10, 110n16, 111n21, 112nn36–37, 113n40, 113n42, 113nn49–50, 114n54, 114n3, 114n5, 115n13, 115n15, 115n21, 116n26, 116n31, 117n37, 117n43, 119n56, 119–20n3, 120n5, 122n17, 122n19, 123n33, 124n36, 124n41, 124n43, 125n51, 125n53, 126n56, 126n59, 126n63, 127n67, 127n69 Antigone, 3, 7, 10, 22, 23, 24, 39, 43, 44, 46, 108n2, 109nn4–5, 109nn9–10, 109nn13–14, 110nn15–17, 112n37,

113n40, 113n45, 113nn49–51, 114n1, 114nn3–5, 115n12, 115nn15–16, 116n31, 116n33, 118n51, 119n3, 121nn13–16, 122n17, 122n19, 122nn21–25, 123nn27–33, 124nn36–37, 124n41, 126n56, 126n58, 126n62, 128n8 Aristotle, 55, 82 ate¯, 16–17, 21, 27, 48, 74, 113n42 Athanasius of Alexandria, 130–31n35 Augustine, 13, 120n4, 132n49 avenir, 3, 102, 119n56 a`-venir, 52–53, 68, 69, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 84, 95, 97, 100, 101, 102, 105, 119n56, 127n65, 127n78, 132n52, 135n17 Basil of Caesarea, 130–31n35 between, 1, 30–31, 34, 50, 63, 66, 81, 84, 85, 87, 97, 103, 107n5, 112n37, 141n35; Jesus and God, 62, 68, 86; life and death, 16, 17, 18–19, 28, 29, 51, 113n48; nature and culture, 29–30, 34, 36 beyond, 6, 16, 21, 23, 24, 26–27, 28, 31–32, 33, 34, 38, 39, 51, 53, 65, 69, 72, 100, 113n42, 138n61, 143n4 bios, 32, 118n48 Blanchot, Maurice, 127n69, 140n22 bodily, 25, 71, 79, 80, 82, 94, 97, 101, 103; event, 74, 87, 91, 98; experience, 81, 83, 88–89, 90, 92, 95–96; finitude, 76, 88, 95; life, 72, 73, 77, 85; ontology, 74–75; tekhne¯, 84, 86, 89; touch, 78, 80, 81, 83 145

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body, 4, 42, 45–46, 48, 63, 67, 71–73, 74–77, 78–79, 80, 81–85, 86–87, 88, 91, 98, 99, 101–2, 135n17, 135n19, 138n55, 138n57, 139n5, 139n13, 142n53; dead, 7, 22, 49, 71; as experience, 4, 88, 96; of Jesus, 56, 57, 62, 63, 66, 69, 79, 81, 83, 87, 89, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 98, 99, 102, 103, 104; as opening, 76, 79, 83, 89, 97, 101. See also ‘‘this is my body’’ Bouchard, Larry, 141n40 brisure, 29–30, 32, 125n51 Burkett, Delbert, 128–29n14, 135–36n27 Butler, Judith, 17, 22, 23, 27, 32, 33, 44, 112–13n37, 115n17, 116n31, 124n43

Crisp, Oliver, 130–31n35 cross, 54, 55, 56, 61, 67, 89, 103; the cross (of Jesus), 54, 56–57, 58, 59, 60, 64, 66–67, 69–70, 74, 85, 86–87, 90, 94, 95, 96, 97–98, 99, 100, 102, 128n12, 130–31n35, 136n34, 141n37 crossing, 6, 16, 17, 18, 23, 28, 55, 56, 63, 73, 74, 88, 91, 113n43 crucified, 67, 90, 96, 102 crucifixion, 54, 56, 62, 63, 64, 66, 67, 68, 70, 86, 87, 94, 96, 97–98, 103, 104, 129n23 crypt, 15, 18, 37, 51, 57 cryptic, 15, 18, 24, 30, 45 cyborg, 45–46, 49, 125n50

Caputo, John, 11, 13–14, 16, 66, 69, 110n19, 111n26, 111n28, 112n31, 117n37, 120n4, 129n22, 132nn46–47, 132n49, 132n52, 135n23, 142n50 Carlson, Thomas, 119–20n3, 120–21n8, 121–22n16, 124n40, 133n4 Chre´tien, Jean-Louis, 81, 82, 83, 85–86, 99, 129n22, 138n61 Christian, 2, 37, 55, 57, 58, 63, 64, 87, 89, 91, 95, 98, 129n23 Christianity, 55, 69–70, 87, 98, 136n28, 140n26, 141n37, 142n46, 143n4; deconstruction of, 95, 96, 97–98, 100, 102, 104–5, 138n70; as opening, 94–95, 96, 97, 102 ,104, 142n54; and tragedy, 3, 57, 100, 101, 103, 105, 141n40 Christological, 58, 63, 78, 128n3, 130–31n35 Christology, 63, 78, 130–31n35, 132n47 corporeal, 4–5, 46, 49, 54, 55, 71–72, 73–76, 78–87, 88–90, 91–92, 93, 97–98, 101–2, 137n41; corporeal, 73–74, 100; event, 5, 65, 102; living, 31, 50, 51, 74, 75, 82, 87, 103; suffering, 4, 54, 56, 63, 78, 86, 101, 103 corporeality, 4, 25, 33, 49, 64, 71, 73–74, 76–77, 82, 83, 84, 85, 88, 95, 99, 101, 136n38 corpse, 9, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 37, 40, 43, 46, 48, 54, 57, 80, 138n57

Davies, Tony, 38, 41, 120n6 dead, the (le mort), 15, 18, 19, 22, 28, 32, 44, 48, 49, 74, 75, 126n63; and family, 15, 33, 46, 116–17n36; and the living, 17, 19, 31, 43, 47, 48, 50, 51, 114n54, 133n2 death (la mort), 4, 8, 15–19, 24, 54, 56, 58, 63, 64, 67, 69, 70, 72, 75, 77, 78, 80, 82, 84, 85, 87, 90, 95, 96, 98, 101, 102, 109n10, 113n48, 118n49, 126n63, 127n66, 127n68, 130–31n35, 136n38; and desire, 16–17, 21–22, 23; of divinity, 64, 74, 87, 90, 98, 99–100, 103–4; economy of, 28–29, 116n36; and incest, 21–22, 29, 32–33; and kinship, 15, 32–33, 37, 44, 117n43; and life, 4, 6, 8, 14, 16, 17–19, 21, 28, 29, 31–32, 34, 37, 43, 48–53, 54, 55, 64, 71, 73–74, 82, 89, 103, 114n54, 117n45, 133n2, 136n34, 138–39n3; and love, 16, 17, 18, 19, 35, 112n36 death drive, 16, 22, 49, 113n43, 126–27n64 deconstruction, 30, 78, 95, 97–98, 100, 102, 104–5, 110n18, 117n37, 125–26n56, 138n70, 143n4; deconstructive, 45, 46, 50, 95, 96, 98, 102, 105, 131n38 de´faut, 60–62, 130n25 Derrida, Jacques, 3–4, 6, 9, 11–12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28–30, 31, 33–34, 36–37, 43, 45, 47,

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48–53, 61, 69, 73, 75, 84, 85, 87, 88, 89, 96, 97, 98, 105, 108n8, 110n18, 110–11n21, 111n23, 112nn36–37, 114n54, 116–17nn36–38, 117n41, 118n46, 119n58, 119n61, 120n5, 123n32, 125–26nn53–57, 126n60, 126–27nn63–68, 129n17, 129n19, 130n27, 130n30, 132n51, 133n54, 137n53, 138–39n3, 139n14, 141n35 Descartes, Rene´, 38 diffe´rance, 11, 27–30, 42, 45, 46, 50, 51, 67, 75, 76, 93, 96, 97, 113n50, 117n41, 140n22, 141n31, 141n35 divine, 2, 7, 9, 10, 16, 23, 24, 37, 40, 41, 44, 55, 56, 58–61, 62–64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 78, 87, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 98, 99, 100, 104, 110n16, 111n21, 116n31, 121n8, 130n23, 131n38, 132n46, 142n44; abandonment, 67, 70, 94–95, 100; the divine, 37, 56, 58–61, 64, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 87, 90, 93, 98, 99, 100, 104, 114n54, 122n17, 131n36; name, 59–62 divinity, 10, 13, 64, 66, 67, 89, 94–95, 105, 115n15; death of, 64, 74, 87, 90, 98, 99–100, 103–4; and humanity, 1–2, 3, 4, 37–38, 39–40, 55, 56–57, 58, 63, 68, 70, 71, 74, 78, 87, 89, 90, 95, 101, 103, 122n17 Eagleton, Terry, 100–1, 142n47 earth, 39–40, 44, 48, 109n10, 113n49, 122n17, 125–26n56, 139n7 Eckhart, Meister, 129n19, 140n27 Ehrman, Bart, 135nn26–27 encrypt, 16, 28, 30, 54, 55 encryption, 15, 54, 55, 74 ero¯s, 10–11, 15–16, 18, 22–23, 26, 28, 29, 33, 36, 44, 46, 51, 57, 109n14, 115n15, 121n13, 124n41 Eteokles, 7 ethical, 7, 8, 10, 24, 134n15 event (e´ve´nement), 3, 11–15, 16, 26, 27, 31, 34, 47, 48, 50–53, 57, 60, 69, 86, 89, 91, 94, 97, 101, 105, 111n28, 119n56, 125n53, 126n57, 126n60, 132nn51–52, 134n6; bodily, 5, 19, 48,

73, 74, 76, 84, 87, 91, 96, 98, 134n11; of death, 21, 49, 87, 95, 98; of naming, 61; of skin, 75–77, 83–84, 86, 87, 95; of touch, 76, 83, 84, 86 existence, 1, 4, 6, 17, 19, 20, 24, 31, 32, 38, 64, 66, 68, 71, 72, 74, 78, 91, 98, 99, 124n40, 131n37, 138n55 ex-istence, 72–73, 74–75, 76, 77, 79, 85, 86, 89, 100 expeausition, 86–87, 89–92, 93, 95–98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103 experience, 2, 17, 43, 48, 49, 52, 56, 58, 62, 65–68, 71–72, 77–78, 79, 81–83, 85, 88–92, 95–96, 97–101, 103–5, 119n3, 126n57, 137n41, 137n53; bodily, 4, 71–72, 73, 81–82, 88–92, 96, 98, 101–2, 135n19, 138n55; of the impossible, 12–14, 69, 96, 98, 101, 105, 135n25; of limit, 102; of love, 10, 12, 14, 22, 23, 109n9; mystical, 65, 67; of pain and suffering, 4, 56, 86, 98–99, 100–1; religious, 13–14, 68; as trial, 4, 52, 107n4, 134n8, 138–39n3 ex-pose, 87, 89, 97–98, 99, 101, 102, 105, 142n53 exposed, 13, 23, 24, 27, 47, 69, 72, 73, 74–75, 76–77, 88–90, 92, 94, 95, 97, 98, 99, 101, 105, 126n57, 138n61, 141n34 ex-position, 85, 87, 88–89, 92, 94, 95–96, 97, 99 exposition, 1, 12, 87, 89–90, 91, 92, 98, 102, 104, 105, 134n12 exposure, 13–14, 69, 72, 76, 85, 86, 89, 92, 97, 102, 103, 105, 114n54 exscription, 74, 89, 134n10 feminine, 15, 18, 24, 27, 33, 40, 42, 47, 48, 112n37, 128n12 finite, 14, 16, 18, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 66, 68, 70, 71, 73, 75, 77, 83, 84, 85, 87, 89, 95, 97, 98, 99, 101, 127n65 finitude, 2, 11, 14, 47, 51, 67, 86, 89, 91, 97, 100–2, 103, 127n66, 137n47; bodily, 54, 71–72, 74–76, 84, 86, 88, 95–96; infinite, 19, 51, 62, 73, 77–78, 79, 84, 85, 101; mortal, 4, 16, 46, 50, 54, 58, 69, 71, 74–75, 84, 88, 95–96, 100, 114n54, 125n55 Index

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flesh, 49, 64, 71, 75, 77, 78, 79, 81, 83, 85, 87, 89, 90, 91–93, 94, 95–96, 98, 99, 100, 102, 134n11; fleshly, 48, 54, 64, 74, 75, 76, 77, 79, 80, 81, 83, 84, 87, 89, 91, 96, 97, 101 for (pour), 51–52, 72, 73–74 Foucault, Michel, 45, 47 Fredriksen, Paula, 135–36n27 Freud, Sigmund, 1078n5, 112n37, 113n43 Gaia, 39, 125–26n56 God, 7, 10, 13, 40, 44, 56–57, 58–62, 63–68, 78, 85, 86–87, 89–90, 91, 93–94, 98, 102, 103–4, 130n35, 131nn37–38, 132n49, 140n27, 142n43, 142n2; death of, 87, 104, 142n2; distance of, 62–64, 66, 67, 97; ‘‘God,’’ 59–61, 68; gods, 16, 36, 39, 40–41, 43, 90, 94, 110n16, 128n8, 140n30; withdrawal of, 95, 99, 100, 142nn43–44 Gourgouris, Stathis, 22 Graham, Elaine, 123n32 Gregory of Nazianzus, 130–31n35 Hades, 7, 9, 40, 42, 44, 56, 58, 110n16 Ha¨gglund, Martin, 114n54 Haimon, 7–8, 18, 42, 123n29 hamartia, 55–56, 68 Hamlet, 40 Hanson, R. P. C., 130–31n35 Haraway, Donna, 45 Harrison, Robert Pogue, 44, 71, 124n40 Hayles, Katherine, 46, 124–25n46 Hegel, G. W. F., 7, 23–25, 33, 41, 57, 63, 115n21, 116n29, 120n5, 122n25, 133n4 Heidegger, Martin, 38, 45, 72, 117–18n45, 119–20n3, 121n13 Hesiod, 40 humanism, 1–2, 37–41, 43, 44–49, 51–52, 103, 109n10, 120nn6–7, 124n42, 125n50, 139n5; huMANism, 41, 47; humanistic, 2, 23, 38, 39, 41, 43, 48, 52 Hunt, Barbara Joan, 141n40 148

impossible, the, 3–4, 11–17, 27, 47, 49, 51, 65, 68–70, 99–102, 103, 104, 110n17, 110n19, 118n46, 119n56; death as, 15, 17, 22; desire for, 21–22, 111n23; doing, 12, 15, 17, 19, 34; economy of, 29; as event, 11–13, 14, 19, 27, 48–49, 52–53, 105, 126n60; experience of, 12–13, 52, 69, 101, 105, 117n37, 135n25; incest as, 20–22; limit of, 96–97, 98, 100–2, 143n4; love of, 22, 26, 27, 30, 32, 33–35, 36, 44, 46, 47, 51, 57, 74, 126n59; in love with, 10, 12, 15, 16–17, 20–21, 23, 51; passion for, 13–15, 16, 17, 96, 99–101, 105, 135n25, 141n34; as religious, 13–14, 111n28; tekhne¯ of, 28, 31, 51 incest, 7, 17, 20–23, 25–27, 28, 29–30, 32–33, 34, 36, 43, 44, 116n25, 122n19; incestuous, 7, 20–21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 30, 32–33, 34, 114n5, 116n29 infinite, 21, 40, 47, 51, 62, 63, 64, 66, 67, 68, 73, 77, 81, 83, 93, 94, 101, 127n65, 132n52, 137n47; ‘‘infinite finitude,’’ 77, 78, 79, 84, 85, 101 in-finite (in-fini), 51, 52, 62, 69, 70, 73, 102, 127n65 infinity, 51, 62, 77, 79, 89, 125n55; ‘‘infinity proper to finitude,’’ 77–78, 79, 84, 95 inhuman, 8, 37, 38, 43–44, 46–47, 121n10, 124n42, 125–26n56 inhumanity, 44, 46, 124n42 interval, 11, 29, 51, 75, 76, 95, 97, 117n37 Irigaray, Luce, 8, 21, 25, 84, 109n8, 116n23, 122n25, 137n50 Ismene, 7, 10, 16, 17, 20, 110n17 Janicaud, Dominique, 38, 122n17, 124n42, 125n54 Jesus, 2–5, 37, 54–55, 56–60, 61, 62–64, 65, 66–70, 71, 73, 74, 78–81, 82–87, 89–102, 103–5, 120n5, 129–30n23, 130–31n35, 135n19, 136nn27–29, 136n34, 138n57, 139n13, 140n20, 142n47 John of the Cross, 65, 67 Jokasta, 7, 20, 122n19

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Kearney, Richard, 43, 111n23, 123n33, 124n35 keno¯sis, 63, 66–67, 94 kenotic, 63–64, 66, 94, 100, 130–31n35 Kingsbury, Jack Dean, 128n14 kinship, 7, 10, 18, 20–23, 26–27, 28, 30, 32–33, 34, 36, 42–44, 49, 68, 74, 97, 115n12, 117n43 Kreon, 7–10, 15–16, 22, 24, 31, 40–42, 48, 110n16, 112n37, 113nn49–50, 122n17, 122n22, 123n29 Lacan, Jacques, 7, 16, 17, 21–22, 49, 57, 72, 104, 107–8n5, 113nn41–43, 114n53, 115n9, 123n30, 124n37, 128n12 Lawlor, Leonard, 55, 127n70 Le´vi-Strauss, Claude, 23, 25–26, 29, 123n32, 124n37 Levinas, Emmanuel, 2, 61, 107n4, 130n30 Le´vy-Bruhl, Lucien, 26 life, 2, 6, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 30, 31–32, 35, 46, 48, 52, 56, 57, 62, 64, 65, 68, 71, 73, 82, 90, 95, 100, 114n54, 119–20n3, 121n16, 125n50, 127n70, 136n34; and death, 4, 6, 8, 16, 17–19, 21, 28, 29, 31–32, 34, 37, 43, 49–51, 52–53, 54, 55, 64, 65, 71–74, 82, 89, 113n48, 117n45, 138–39n3; sense of, 4, 51, 102 limit, 3–4, 6, 10, 14, 16, 21, 22, 23, 27, 29, 31, 33, 34, 38, 45, 70, 73, 83, 95, 104, 113n42, 114n53, 115n9, 117n38, 125n55, 135n22, 137n47, 143n4; absolute, 77; across, 74; at, 13, 84, 86, 88, 89, 92, 97, 99–101, 141n34; bodily, 75, 84, 85, 87, 88, 95; experience, 43, 88, 89, 95, 96, 98, 100, 101, 102; human, 37, 56, 103; of the impossible, 96–98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 105; living dying, 77, 84, 89; mortal, 16, 18, 29, 84, 87, 95, 96, 100, 102; of possibility, 11, 13, 105; touching, 13, 84, 86, 87, 88, 91–92, 96, 99, 101, 102, 105 limitation, 4, 6, 11, 14, 41, 70, 78, 86, 88, 102, 103 Lingis, Alphonso, 102

living, 8, 13, 14, 27, 28, 31–32, 33–35, 48, 50, 52, 71–72, 74–75, 82, 85, 87, 91, 96, 98–99, 102, 104, 111n23, 114n54, 124n41, 125n50, 126n60, 133n2, 137n41; and dead, 4, 8, 19, 27–29, 31, 32, 37, 42, 43, 47–52, 71, 110–11n21, 124n36, 126n63; and dying, 5, 17–19, 47, 51, 50, 52, 72–73, 74–79, 81, 84, 85, 86, 87, 89, 96, 97, 98, 100, 102, 103–4, 127n70, 138–39n3 living on, 19, 48–52, 53, 74, 98, 104, 114n54, 127n65. See survivre living together (vivre ensemble), 19, 33–35, 50, 119n56, 127n67 love, 8, 9–11, 13, 17, 23, 29, 31, 32, 36, 49, 63, 64, 83, 85, 98, 112n37, 113n49, 115n12, 137n47; and death, 15, 18, 19, 22, 42, 112n36; event of, 12, 47, 111n28; experience of, 10, 12, 14, 22–23, 109n9; of the impossible, 10, 12, 15–18, 26, 27, 30, 32–33, 35, 36, 44, 47, 51, 57, 74; incestuous, 20–21, 22–23, 26, 33, 34; loving, 9, 12–13, 14, 23, 33, 34, 51. See also ero¯s; philia Luria, Isaac, 131n36 Lyotard, Jean-Franc¸ois, 47 Mack, Burton, 135n27 MacKendrick, Karmen, 134–35n16 Manning, Erin, 73, 75–76, 81, 84, 89, 124n46, 134n15, 135n17 Marion, Jean-Luc, 129n19, 134n11 Mark, Gospel of, 3, 56, 57, 78–81, 82, 83, 90, 92, 95, 100, 128n10, 128n14, 129n23, 135n27, 136nn28–29, 136n34, 138n57 McDermott, Brian, 130–31n35 Moltmann, Ju¨rgen, 141n37 monster, 43, 46, 123n33; monstrous, 42–43, 123n32; monstrum, 26 ‘‘my God,’’ 60–62, 66, 87, 93, 94, 95, 129nn22–23 ‘‘ ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ ’’ 56–57, 58, 60, 62, 66, 67, 69, 70, 85–87, 90, 93–95, 97, 98, 99–101, 102, 103, 105, 140n27, 142n47 Index

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Nancy, Jean-Luc, 1, 4, 59–62, 68, 69, 71–72, 74–75, 76–78, 81, 83, 84, 86–87, 88–90, 91–92, 93, 94–100, 101–2, 104, 118n48, 129n22, 130n30, 133nn4–5, 134n10, 135n22, 135n25, 136n28, 137n47, 137n50, 138n55, 139n5, 140n27, 140n30, 141n31, 142nn43–44, 142n46, 142n54, 143n4 nature, 8–10, 11, 16, 23–32, 34, 37, 39–40, 41, 42, 45, 48, 75, 116n24, 119–20n3, 123n32; and culture, 2, 36, 37, 43, 44, 45–46, 49, 50, 117n41; nature–culture, 25–28, 30–32, 44, 47, 118n48; natures, two (of Christ), 55, 58, 78, 128n3, 129–30n23 necro-philia, 18, 22–23, 29, 126n59; necrophilic, 33, 34 necro-vitality, 48, 126n59 Niebuhr, H. Richard, 141n40 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 38, 68 Occident, 30, 104, 142n2, 143n4; Occidental, 1, 7, 8, 26, 28, 30, 39, 46, 99, 100, 104, 108n2, 120n6, 134n15 Oedipal, 44, 123n30 Oedipus, 7, 20, 43, 113n40, 114n3, 122n19, 123n33 oike¯sis, 18, 28–29, 36, 37, 113n50 oikonomia, 15, 28, 29, 33 oikos, 10, 15, 18, 23, 24, 27, 28–29, 32, 33, 36, 37, 41, 46, 48, 113n50; metoikos, 43 opening, 49, 89, 92, 96, 125n55, 140n25, 142n54, 143n4; to ‘‘beyond,’’ 38; body as, 76–77, 79, 83–84, 89, 102; Christianity as, 94–95, 96, 97–98, 102, 104; of closure, 77, 79, 83, 89; and exposure, 85, 86, 92, 97; to the impossible, 12, 52, 105; to otherness, 49, 76, 84 pas de dieu, 93–95, 99, 100, 140n22, 140n27 passion, 13–15, 16, 17, 57, 63–64, 89–90, 95–102, 120n4, 135n19 passionate, 10, 11, 13, 14, 22, 44, 47, 51, 57, 64, 86, 99, 100–2, 105 Pelikan, Jaroslav, 130–31n35 150

Perkins, Pheme, 135n27 peut-eˆtre, 14, 34, 47, 48, 52, 69, 126n57 philia, 8–10, 18, 21, 22–23, 26, 28–29, 33, 36, 42, 109n9, 115n12, 115n15 Plato, 121n12, 121n16 polis, 15–16, 22, 24, 27, 32, 36, 41–42, 46, 121n16 Polyneikes, 7, 9, 15, 18, 20–21, 22–23, 26, 31, 36, 40, 41, 43, 46, 112n37, 123n31 postdivine, 64, 66, 67, 68, 70, 73, 74, 87, 89, 90, 94, 95, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103–5; postdivinity, 94, 99, 103–4 posthuman, 44–45, 49, 124n40, 124n46; posthumanism, 52, 125n50; posthumanity, 44–45, 46–48, 49, 52 posthumanous, 49–53, 73–75, 85, 98, 102, 103–4, 105, 127n65, 138n57; posthumanousness, 73 religion, 7, 13–14, 37, 79, 118n46, 123n32, 126–27n64 religious, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13–14, 16, 39, 56, 68, 79, 86, 125–26n56, 140n22 Ronell, Avital, 2, 4, 107n5 Ross, Stephen David, 134n15 rupture, 6, 11, 19, 32, 33, 34, 61, 62, 63, 64, 69, 76–77, 89, 94–95, 100, 102, 114n54 sacrifice, 14, 63–64, 67, 129–30n23, 142n44 Sander, E. P., 135–36n27 Scarry, Elaine, 140n28 sexual, 4, 15, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 31, 36, 40, 41, 42, 43, 49, 79, 112n37 sexual difference, 2, 18, 25, 26, 32, 33, 41, 46, 74, 118n49 sexuality, 41–42, 123n29 Sjo¨holm, Cecilia, 121n13, 123n33 skin, 75–77, 78, 81–82, 83–85, 86, 87, 88–89, 92, 93, 95, 96, 101, 134n12, 134n16, 136n38, 137n49; event of, 75–76, 77, 83, 84, 86, 87, 95 Sophocles, 3, 7, 8, 10, 23, 39, 42, 56, 113n49, 114n2, 115n15, 122n19 space, 3, 9 ,11, 15, 26, 29–30, 31, 36, 37, 43, 45, 49, 55, 62, 63, 68, 69, 75–76,

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77, 84, 85, 89, 91, 93, 97–98, 101, 102, 125–26n56, 137n47; of the dead, 19, 28; of death, 18, 28, 48, 49, 54; and displace, 30, 31, 34, 44, 61, 79, 89, 90, 93, 95 spaced, 72, 76, 91–92, 102, 142n53 spacing (espacement), 29, 34, 50, 72, 75–76, 77, 83, 84, 85, 87, 89–90, 92, 94, 95–96, 97, 101, 102, 108n8, 114n54, 117n37, 127n70 Steiner, George, 7, 108n6, 108n2, 115n15, 123n33 Stiegler, Bernard, 117n45 supplement, 11, 15, 21, 27, 28, 29–30, 31–33, 36, 37, 44–46, 49, 51, 59–61, 84, 86, 130n25; supplementarity, 29, 32, 52, 85; supplementary, 33, 45, 51, 59–61, 85, 117n43 survie, 49, 50, 64, 127nn70–71, 127n78 survival, 19, 32, 49–53, 64, 87, 103–5, 114n54, 127n71, 143n4 survive, 19, 31, 33, 46, 48–49, 51, 52, 54, 64, 74, 85, 87, 90, 98–99, 101, 104 surviving, 35, 49, 50, 52, 74, 87, 113n40, 114n54, 119n56 survivre, 32, 50, 54, 74, 90, 104, 114n54, 119n56 Tanner, Kathryn, 130–31n35 Taylor, Mark, 134n12, 140n22 Teiresias, 7 tekhne¯, 11, 27, 28, 31–32, 34–35, 39–40, 45, 51, 52, 84–86, 89, 97, 108n8, 117n41, 118n48, 121n13, 126–27n64, 137n53, 138n55 test, 1–5, 52, 69, 103, 104, 105, 107nn4–5 theological, 37, 58, 59, 64, 65, 110n16, 135n19; ontotheological, 47 theology, 47, 59, 62, 132n47 ‘‘this dead that I am living,’’ 71–74, 77, 85, 87, 133n2 ‘‘this is my body’’ (hoc est corpus meum), 90–94, 96–98, 100, 102, 103, 105, 139nn13–14 Todorov, Tzvetan, 38 Tolbert, Mary Ann, 128–29n14 tomb (oike¯sis), 7, 8 15, 18, 28–29, 32, 36,

37, 43, 49, 54–56, 57, 63, 113nn49–50; entombment, 15, 17, 19, 36, 37, 42, 47, 51, 54–55, 120n5, 124n41 touch, 4, 13, 16, 75–77, 78–87, 88, 91–93, 96–98, 99, 100, 101–2, 105, 112n34, 134n12, 134–35nn15–17, 135n19, 135n23, 136nn28–29, 137n41, 137n53, 143n4 touched, 79, 80–85, 88, 91–92 touching, 75, 78, 79, 80–82, 83–85, 86, 88, 91–92, 95–97, 101, 136n28 Tracy, David, 141n40 tragedy, 2, 3, 4, 6–7, 10, 13–14, 22, 24, 42, 51, 55–57, 68, 98, 99–102, 103, 104–5, 108n2, 112n32, 117n45 tragic, 4, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 19, 21, 23, 24, 46, 51, 55–60, 62, 64, 66, 67, 68, 70, 99, 100–2, 104–5, 108n2, 110n16, 113n49, 141n40, 142n44 trial (e´preuve), 1–5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 30–31, 40, 42, 44, 52, 64–65, 69–70, 81, 86, 99–100, 103–4, 105, 107n2, 107n4, 134n8, 138–39n3 Unamuno, Miguel de, 14 unthought (impense´), 15, 26, 45, 48 untouchable, 76, 82, 83–84, 85, 86, 87, 92, 93, 96, 97, 101, 136n38, 141n35 Veto¨, Miklos, 131–32n38 Vries, Hent de, 118n46, 130n30 Weil, Simone, 8, 54–55, 56–57, 58, 63, 64–65, 68, 69, 70, 112n34, 132n39, 141n37 West, the, 38, 104, 142n46, 142n2, 143n4; Western, 46, 55 Wills, David, 31, 130n29 wound, 48, 49, 64, 87, 99, 102; wounded, 48, 86–87, 99; wounding, 76, 86, 87, 99 ‘‘yes,’’ 11–12, 13, 14, 52, 73, 102, 105, 110n21, 111n26, 126n57, 138–39n3 Zeus, 20, 40, 110n16, 113n40 Zˇizˇek, Slavoj, 11, 132n45, 142n50 zo¯¯e, 32, 47, 118n48 Index

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Perspectives in Continental Philosophy Series John D. Caputo, series editor

John D. Caputo, ed., Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida. Michael Strawser, Both/And: Reading Kierkegaard—From Irony to Edification. Michael D. Barber, Ethical Hermeneutics: Rationality in Enrique Dussel’s Philosophy of Liberation. James H. Olthuis, ed., Knowing Other-wise: Philosophy at the Threshold of Spirituality. James Swindal, Reflection Revisited: Ju¨rgen Habermas’s Discursive Theory of Truth. Richard Kearney, Poetics of Imagining: Modern and Postmodern. Second edition. Thomas W. Busch, Circulating Being: From Embodiment to Incorporation—Essays on Late Existentialism. Edith Wyschogrod, Emmanuel Levinas: The Problem of Ethical Metaphysics. Second edition. Francis J. Ambrosio, ed., The Question of Christian Philosophy Today. Jeffrey Bloechl, ed., The Face of the Other and the Trace of God: Essays on the Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas. Ilse N. Bulhof and Laurens ten Kate, eds., Flight of the Gods: Philosophical Perspectives on Negative Theology. Trish Glazebrook, Heidegger’s Philosophy of Science. Kevin Hart, The Trespass of the Sign: Deconstruction, Theology, and Philosophy. Mark C. Taylor, Journeys to Selfhood: Hegel and Kierkegaard. Second edition. Dominique Janicaud, Jean-Franc¸ois Courtine, Jean-Louis Chre´tien, Michel Henry, Jean-Luc Marion, and Paul Ricœur, Phenomenology and the ‘‘Theological Turn’’: The French Debate.

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Karl Jaspers, The Question of German Guilt. Introduction by Joseph W. Koterski, S.J. Jean-Luc Marion, The Idol and Distance: Five Studies. Translated with an introduction by Thomas A. Carlson. Jeffrey Dudiak, The Intrigue of Ethics: A Reading of the Idea of Discourse in the Thought of Emmanuel Levinas. Robyn Horner, Rethinking God as Gift: Marion, Derrida, and the Limits of Phenomenology. Mark Dooley, The Politics of Exodus: Søren Keirkegaard’s Ethics of Responsibility. Merold Westphal, Overcoming Onto-Theology: Toward a Postmodern Christian Faith. Edith Wyschogrod, Jean-Joseph Goux, and Eric Boynton, eds., The Enigma of Gift and Sacrifice. Stanislas Breton, The Word and the Cross. Translated with an introduction by Jacquelyn Porter. Jean-Luc Marion, Prolegomena to Charity. Translated by Stephen E. Lewis. Peter H. Spader, Scheler’s Ethical Personalism: Its Logic, Development, and Promise. Jean-Louis Chre´tien, The Unforgettable and the Unhoped For. Translated by Jeffrey Bloechl. Don Cupitt, Is Nothing Sacred? The Non-Realist Philosophy of Religion: Selected Essays. Jean-Luc Marion, In Excess: Studies of Saturated Phenomena. Translated by Robyn Horner and Vincent Berraud. Phillip Goodchild, Rethinking Philosophy of Religion: Approaches from Continental Philosophy. William J. Richardson, S.J., Heidegger: Through Phenomenology to Thought. Jeffrey Andrew Barash, Martin Heidegger and the Problem of Historical Meaning. Jean-Louis Chre´tien, Hand to Hand: Listening to the Work of Art. Translated by Stephen E. Lewis. Jean-Louis Chre´tien, The Call and the Response. Translated with an introduction by Anne Davenport. D. C. Schindler, Han Urs von Balthasar and the Dramatic Structure of Truth: A Philosophical Investigation. Julian Wolfreys, ed., Thinking Difference: Critics in Conversation. Allen Scult, Being Jewish/Reading Heidegger: An Ontological Encounter. Richard Kearney, Debates in Continental Philosophy: Conversations with Contemporary Thinkers. Jennifer Anna Gosetti-Ferencei, Heidegger, Ho¨lderlin, and the Subject of Poetic Language: Towards a New Poetics of Dasein. Jolita Pons, Stealing a Gift: Kirkegaard’s Pseudonyms and the Bible. Jean-Yves Lacoste, Experience and the Absolute: Disputed Questions on the Humanity of Man. Translated by Mark Raftery-Skehan. Charles P. Bigger, Between Chora and the Good: Metaphor’s Metaphysical Neighborhood.

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Dominique Janicaud, Phenomenology ‘‘Wide Open’’: After the French Debate. Translated by Charles N. Cabral. Ian Leask and Eoin Cassidy, eds., Givenness and God: Questions of Jean-Luc Marion. Jacques Derrida, Sovereignties in Question: The Poetics of Paul Celan. Edited by Thomas Dutoit and Outi Pasanen. William Desmond, Is There a Sabbath for Thought? Between Religion and Philosophy. Bruce Ellis Benson and Norman Wirzba, eds., The Phenomoenology of Prayer. S. Clark Buckner and Matthew Statler, eds., Styles of Piety: Practicing Philosophy after the Death of God. Kevin Hart and Barbara Wall, eds., The Experience of God: A Postmodern Response. John Panteleimon Manoussakis, After God: Richard Kearney and the Religious Turn in Continental Philosophy. John Martis, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe: Representation and the Loss of the Subject. Jean-Luc Nancy, The Ground of the Image. Edith Wyschogrod, Crossover Queries: Dwelling with Negatives, Embodying Philosophy’s Others. Gerald Bruns, On the Anarchy of Poetry and Philosophy: A Guide for the Unruly. Brian Treanor, Aspects of Alterity: Levinas, Marcel, and the Contemporary Debate. Simon Morgan Wortham, Counter-Institutions: Jacques Derrida and the Question of the University. Leonard Lawlor, The Implications of Immanence: Toward a New Concept of Life. Clayton Crockett, Interstices of the Sublime: Theology and Psychoanalytic Theory. Bettina Bergo, Joseph Cohen, and Raphael Zagury-Orly, eds., Judeities: Questions for Jacques Derrida. Translated by Bettina Bergo and Michael B. Smith. Jean-Luc Marion, On the Ego and on God: Further Cartesian Questions. Translated by Christina M. Gschwandtner. Jean-Luc Nancy, Philosophical Chronicles. Translated by Franson Manjali. Jean-Luc Nancy, Dis-Enclosure: The Deconstruction of Christianity. Translated by Bettina Bergo, Gabriel Malenfant, and Michael B. Smith. Andrea Hurst, Derrida Vis-a`-vis Lacan: Interweaving Deconstruction and Psychoanalysis. Jean-Luc Nancy, Noli me tangere: On the Raising of the Body. Translated by Sarah Clift, Pascale-Anne Brault, and Michael Naas. Jacques Derrida, The Animal That Therefore I Am. Edited by Marie-Louise Mallet, translated by David Wills. Jean-Luc Marion, The Visible and the Revealed. Translated by Christina M. Gschwandtner and others. Michel Henry, Material Phenomenology. Translated by Scott Davidson. Jean-Luc Nancy, Corpus. Translated by Richard A. Rand. Joshua Kates, Fielding Derrida. Michael Naas, Derrida From Now On. Shannon Sullivan and Dennis J. Schmidt, eds., Difficulties of Ethical Life.

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Catherine Malabou, What Should We Do with Our Brain? Translated by Sebastian Rand, Introduction by Marc Jeannerod. Claude Romano, Event and World. Translated by Shane Mackinlay. Vanessa Lemm, Nietzsche’s Animal Philosophy: Culture, Politics, and the Animality of the Human Being. B. Keith Putt, ed., Gazing Through a Prism Darkly: Reflections on Merold Westphal’s Hermeneutical Epistemology. Eric Boynton and Martin Kavka, eds., Saintly Influence: Edith Wyschogrod and the Possibilities of Philosophy of Religion. Kevin Hart and Michael A. Signer, eds., The Exorbitant: Emmanuel Levinas Between Jews and Christians. Shane Mackinlay, Interpreting Excess: Jean-Luc Marion, Saturated Phenomena, and Hermeneutics. Bruce Ellis Benson and Norman Wirzba, eds., Words of Life: New Theological Turns in French Phenomenology.

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