Derrida, Abraham and Responsible Subjectivity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Secrecy is a theme in Genesis 22, in Derrida's reading of the story, in which God commands Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. It is about keeping a secret, not secret as in hiding, but rather the secret of an exclusive relationship. This is embarrassing as it is excluding. Accepting this unique relationship by keeping the secret, Abraham demonstrates his willingness to enter into a relationship based on unconditional love. An essential part of this unconditionality and uniqueness is Abraham not referring to anybody or anything outside. He thus takes the responsibility entirely. This may be seen as being centred upon the individual. It may also be seen as a question of taking responsibility, deciding, and taking a stand. Interestingly enough, Abraham must be capable of failing, or in other words he must be capable of deciding not to obey the command. The call is for a unique relationship, but there must be a possibility of not responding to the call. Or, must there?


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Philosophy


  • Derrida, Abraham, Genesis 22, Responsibility, Subjectivity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-78
JournalRevue Philosophique de la France et de l'Étranger
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Publication categoryResearch

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