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Readers familiar with Mark C. Taylor’s previous writing will immediately recognize Altarity as a remarkable synthetic project. This work combines the analytic depth and detail of Taylor’s earlier studies of Kierkegaard and Hegel with the philosophical and theological scope of his highly acclaimed Erring.

In Altarity, Taylor develops a genealogy of otherness and difference that is based on the principle of creative juxtaposition. Rather than relying on a historical or chronological survey of crucial moments in modern philosophical thinking, he explores the complex question of difference through the strategies of contrast, resonance, and design. Taylor brings together the work of thinkers as diverse as Hegel, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Lacan, Bataille, Kristeva, Levinas, Blanchot, Derrida, and Kierkegaard to fashion a broad intellectual scheme.
Situated in an interdisciplinary discourse, Altarity signifies a harnessing of continental and American habits of intellectual thought and illustrates the singularity that emerges from such a configuration. As such, the book functions as a mirror of our intellectual moment and offers the academy a rigorous way of acknowledging the limitations of its own interpretive practices.

406 pages | 20 halftones | 6.00 x 9.00 | © 1987

Religion: Philosophy of Religion, Theology, and Ethics

Table of Contents

Editions and Abbreviations Used
1. Conception by G. W. F. Hegel
Absence of Unhappy Consciousness
Identity Working-Through Difference
Eagle Eye/I: Panoptics of Speculation
Domestic Bliss: Conception in the Family Circle
2. Cleaving by Martin Heidegger
Construction: Modern Nihilism
Reveilation: Delivery of Difference
Opening: Art Works
Poetry: Tolling Traces
3. Carnality by Maurice Merleau-Ponty
Philosophy and Nonphilosophy
Flesh: Return of the Fold
Savage Word
Unfinished Diealectics
4. Real by Jacques Lacan
The Reel Thing
Evil Eye/I: Pan Optics
Scoring Shuttlecocks
Sein: Lost Cause
5. Ecstasy by Georges Bataille
Pineal Eye of the Obelisk
Tears: Gaping Body
Excommunication: Expense of Excess
Atheology: Transgressive Sinxtax
6. Woman by Julia Kristeva
Skirting Abjection
Mothering and Fothering
Sanguine Goddess
W / rite / ing the Real
7. Infinity by Emmanuel Levinas
Anarchy: Lapse of Time
Before Sentencing: Betrayal of Saying
Exille: Trauma of Subjectivity
Tracing Facing: Obsessive Murmuring
8. Nots by Maurice Blanchot
Unemployment of Philosophy
Neuter: Entertaining Interval
Impossibility of Death
Art of Erring
9. Rewriting by Jacques Derrida
Styles: Flowers and Pillars
Conceiving a Bastard
Death of Literature
10. Transgression by Soren Kierkegaard
Crisis of the Word


American Academy of Religion: American Academy of Religion Awards for Excellence

American Political Science Association: Ralph J. Bunche Award

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