Ironic Gifts of Death and Life: A Somewhat Fictive Account
I just this past weekend received offprints of my article "Ironic Gifts of Death and Life: A Somewhat Fictive Account" (Trans-Humanities, 2013, Volume 6, Number 3), and here's the abstract:
In an abrupt, yet hopefully plausible transition using serious playful irony -- what the Renaissance thinkers called serio ludere, or playful seriousness -- in order to transit, tresspass, and transgress rigid disciplinary boundaries, as well as difficult, resistant boundaries of various sorts, this brief paper moves abruptly from the secular economics of our contemporary postmodern world through the sacred economy of salvation in the thinking of such varied earlier figures as St. Paul, Mark Twain, and Jean Calvin to such related, if distinct, religious writings of antiquity as the Gospel of John and Gnostic texts on the economy of gift-giving, reflecting upon the relevant Greek terms along the way, and translating from the Hebrew, German, and Syriac, where needed, while also drawing upon the cultural anthropology of Mary Douglas, among other writers on food and drink, and then moving on into the paper's decentered center, an un-derided jack-of-all-trades Derrida, then out again by means of literary critic David Lodge's ironically postmodern comedy-of-manners novel Small World, to an optimistic conclusion through a counter-Feuerbachian deus ex machina move via the Czech philosopher Jan Patočka, though with a nod of metaphysical appreciation to the contemporary analytical philosopher William F. Vallicella and his concept of the extramental "external unifier," all the while dealing with the paradoxical notion of the unreturnable gift that can, after all, be returned, such that reciprocity in divine-human dealings is maintained, with the result that the denoument of my essay dwindles ineluctably off into an indefinite ellipse . . .That's all I have time for today . . .