This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to present various conceptions of the “material spirit.” The common thread tying these conceptions together is their consistent rejection of oppositions between body and soul or the sensible and the intelligible, or direct calls for new modes of theology and religious orientation. They also insist on lingering at the paradoxical border of material spirit itself, where hopes or claims of transcendence are always suspended in favor of heeding what might be called a language testimony to the latent agencies of immanence, to the orphaned letter of the sacred text, and even to the political as a subversion of the Enlightenment project. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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