Chapter

Eyes Wide Shut

in Loving Yusuf

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780226035864
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226035888 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226035888.003.0007
Eyes Wide Shut

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If words can be signs and signs can be faces shown or withheld, so can elements of paintings. Reading a sura is processing and responding to a “visible sign of a transcendental reality.” Visibility and the sign go hand in hand. A sura that tells the story of Yusuf from point to point shows rather than tells: it is a sign rather than a tale. According to one of the founders of contemporary semiotics, Charles S. Peirce, signs can do their work of signification without having to be split in signifier and signified, as continental semiotics tends to have it. The sign's elements are unstable only temporally. This chapter argues for the temporality of semiosis and for the actuality of its anchoring in philosophy. It brings Peirce, Rembrandt, and Baruch Spinoza together to further elaborate the argument for a literalism that counters fundamentalism.

Keywords: words; signs; sura; Charles S. Peirce; semiosis; Rembrandt; Baruch Spinoza; literalism; fundamentalism

Chapter.  8481 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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