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Miracle and MachineJacques Derrida and the Two Sources of Religion, Science, and the Media$
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Michael Naas

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823239979

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823239979.001.0001

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Mary and the Marionettes

Mary and the Marionettes

Life, Sacrifice, and the Sexual Thing

(p.202) 7 Mary and the Marionettes
Miracle and Machine

Michael Naas

Fordham University Press

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

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