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Miracle and Machine: The Two Sources of Religion and Science in Derrida's "Faith and Knowledge"

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This essay attempts to lay out the three principal theses of Jacques Derrida's 1994–1995 "Faith and Knowledge," Derrida's most sustained but also most challenging work on the nature of religion and the relationship between religion and science. After demonstrating through these three theses that religion and science not only share a common source—or have a common genesis—but are in what Derrida calls an autoimmune relationship to one another, the essay puts these theses to the test by reading a brief passage near the middle of the essay where Derrida recounts the genesis of "Faith and Knowledge" itself. Derrida's seemingly anecdotal recounting of this genesis is thus shown to reflect the three theses of "Faith and Knowledge," the way in which, in a word, the breath of creation, or the miracle of religion, is always doubled, supplemented, and thus contaminated by the machine of science and tele-technology.


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Affiliations: 1: DePaul University


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