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Carnal Hermeneutics$
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Richard Kearney and Brian Treanor

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823265886

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823265886.001.0001

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Umbilicus

Umbilicus

Toward a Hermeneutics of Generational Difference

Chapter:
(p.182) Umbilicus
Source:
Carnal Hermeneutics
Author(s):

Anne O’Byrne

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823265886.003.0011

This chapter reflects on the hermeneutic circle of the umbilical scar, which marks our belonging to an other, as vulnerable, generated, and generational. Though philosophical and theological traditions have reflected on the navel, none fully account for the umbilical relationship in which the material body nurtures and grows the fetus rather than attacking it as foreign (as the standard understanding of the immune response would suggest). The author suggests that the “normal” martial understanding of immunology should be replaced by one of “permeable communities” that permit immigrants and others as long as they do not present a danger. This umbilical hermeneutics opens new possibilities for understanding generational difference and sexual difference, as well as political and social phenomena.

Keywords:   Umbilical, Generational, Fetus, Nurture, Sexuality

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