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The Motif of the Messianic

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About the Author

Arthur Willemse earned his PhD in philosophy at the University of Sussex.


In The Motif of the Messianic, Arthur Willemse stages a much-needed, original dialogue between Giorgio Agamben and Jacques Derrida on the question of the messianic. Willemse convincingly argues that the basic ingredients of such a dialogue are to be found in Agamben's and Derrida's reflections on law, life and writing. Thus, this important book shows how a reflection on the messianic goes to the heart of the philosophical commitments of present-day continental thought.--Gert-Jan van der Heiden, professor of Metaphysics, Radboud University Nijmegen Arthur Willemse does a superb job of interpreting Agamben and Derrida in his new book. In the process he sheds light on the complex relations between life, truth, ontology, and theology. This is a pathbreaking study and a must read for all students and academics interested in the politics of writing and the challenges of deconstruction.--Professor Darrow Schecter, Professor of Critical Theory at the University of Sussex This is a timely topic, contributing to Agamben scholarship which has only recently begun in a serious and sustained fashion. The decision to examine the relation between truth and life through an exploration of law and writing is unusual and shown very plausible as the study proceeds. Particularly impressive, to my mind, is the discussion of khora which allowed for the approximation of Derrida with a submerged messianic force, a figure like Bartleby.--Tanja Staehler, Professor of European Philosophy, University of Sussex This is an original and timely analysis of the role of the motif of the messianic in Agamben's work, a topic of central importance whose full meaning has yet to be truly excavated. Many have been misled by early misconceptions of Agamben as a so-called Messianic thinker. Willemse will set them back on the right track, as well as laying out a future map for how to read Agamen in terms of his complex, at times confusing, but always profound interactions with this central theological and political construction.--William Watkin, Professor of Contemporary Philosophy and Literature, Brunel University

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