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Augustine and Postmodernism: Confessions and Circumfession by John D. Caputo

By John D. Caputo

At the center of the present surge of curiosity in faith between modern Continental philosophers stands Augustine’s Confessions. With Derrida’s Circumfession continuously within the heritage, this quantity takes up the provocative readings of Augustine by means of Heidegger, Lyotard, Arendt, and Ricoeur. Derrida himself presides over and reviews on essays by way of significant Continental philosophers and across the world famous Augustine students. whereas reviews on and approximately Augustine as a thinker abound, none process his paintings from any such uniquely postmodern viewpoint, exhibiting either the continued relevance of Augustine and the spiritual resonances inside postmodernism. Posed on the intersection of philosophy, theology, and spiritual experiences, this booklet could be of curiosity to students and scholars of Augustine in addition to these attracted to the invigorating dialogue among philosophy, faith, and postmodernism.

Contributors contain Geoffrey Bennington, Philippe Capelle, John D. Caputo, Elizabeth A. Clark, Hent de Vries, Jacques Derrida, Jean Bethke Elshtain, Richard Kearney, Catherine Malabou, James O’Donnell, Michael J. Scanlon, and Mark Vessey.

Indiana sequence within the Philosophy of Religion―Merold Westphal, common editor

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Augustine and Postmodernism: Confessions and Circumfession

On the center of the present surge of curiosity in faith between modern Continental philosophers stands Augustine’s Confessions. With Derrida’s Circumfession consistently within the historical past, this quantity takes up the provocative readings of Augustine through Heidegger, Lyotard, Arendt, and Ricoeur. Derrida himself presides over and reviews on essays via significant Continental philosophers and across the world well-known Augustine students.

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Extra resources for Augustine and Postmodernism: Confessions and Circumfession

Example text

That is, the event was unpredictable to me. I did not know when my mother would interrupt my sentence, in the middle of a sentence. This event could not be produced by a speech act. What characterizes an event is precisely that it defeats any performativity, that it happens, precisely, beyond any performative power. ” It was something which would happen to me without any possibility for me to anticipate, to predict, to foresee, or to perform. It is this limit of the performativity that in fact draws the line we are now analyzing.

That’s why it is at the same time sincere, brutal, and at the same time a literary experiment. My suspicion is that St. Augustine opened the history of this genre, and I was interested in this origin, too. Now, of course, if I try to remember something that I do not remember, the reason why I’ve chosen this text [Augustine’s Confessions] is probably because in this seminar I was referring not only to milk but to tears. I was impressed by the number of times in which Augustine refers to his tears, and I say in “Circumfession” that I’m interested only in writers who cry or weep, which excludes a number of people—of men, I mean.

How could I sign, being this and the opposite? I cannot sign this circumfession, which means that the “I” is not constituted prior to the confession. The confession, or the circumfession, which is not a Christian confession, this strange thing that I call circumfession, this hybrid of Judaism, already a strange sort of Judaism and Christianity, is a monstrosity. But what this monstrosity is about is not the confession of a prior “I” (an “I” that would be prior to the confession), but the circumfession trying to constitute an “I,” as if it were possible.

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