Mary and the Marionettes

Michael Naas

in Miracle and Machine

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780823239979
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823240012 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy (FUP)

Mary and the Marionettes

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This chapter looks at Derrida’s contention that religion’s attempt to indemnify a relationship to the holy or the sacrosanct takes the form of an absolute respect for life that sometimes requires a sacrifice of the living in the name of a life more valuable than life itself. This then leads to the question of sexual difference and sexual violence in religion, to all the attempts to indemnify the living body—and often the female body—by protecting or safeguarding it or else, for this is the other side of the same logic, scarifying or sacrificing it. According to the autoimmune logic that has been developed throughout this book, religion often attacks the very things it wants to safeguard and protect. What Derrida calls “the sexual thing” is not just one place among others to see this logic at work. It is for this reason that Derrida constantly reminds us in “Faith and Knowledge” that in today’s “wars of religion” women are often the principal victims of violence, oftentimes by sexual assault or mutilation.

Keywords: Jacques Derrida; Religion; Women; Sexual Difference; Violence; Persephone; Gradiva; Sacrifice; Phantasm

Chapter.  11459 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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