1st Edition

Law's Sacrifice Approaching the Problem of Sacrifice in Law, Literature, and Philosophy

Edited By Brian Nail, Jeffrey Ellsworth Copyright 2019
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume examines the relationship between law and sacrifice as a crucial nexus for theorizing the dynamics of creation, destruction, transcendence, and violence within the philosophical and legal discourse of western society.

    At a time of populist political unrest, what philosophical and theoretical resources are available for conceptualizing the discontent that seems to emanate from practically every sphere of society? What narrative strategies have been employed within literary, theological, philosophical, and legal discourse to tame or mystify human violence? Engaging with the work of preeminent theorists of sacrifice, such as Georges Bataille, René Girard, Giorgio Agamben, and Jacques Derrida this collection examines from an interdisciplinary perspective the sacrificial logic that characterizes the cultural and political dynamics of law in society.

    The book will be of interest to students and scholars in the field of legal theory and philosophy.

    Table of Contents

    Contributing Authors

    1. Introduction: Approaching the Problem of Sacrifice in Law, Literature, and Philosophy

    2. Brian W. Nail

    3. Sacrifice and the Origin of Law

    4. Wolfgang Palaver

    5. Towards a Sacrificial Aneconomy? Georges Bataille and the Aporia of Sacrifice

    6. Marie Chabbert

    7. (Misguided) Self-transcendence and the Imagination of Sacrifice

    8. Arthur Cools

    9. A We Not Modeled on the I, the Law of Law, and Futurity

    10. A. Samuel Kimball

    11. Homo Sacrificus: Sacrificial Economization and Neoliberal Subjectivity

    12. Brian W. Nail

    13. Law, Authority, and the Sovereign Exception: The (Im)possibility of Political Agency

    14. Richard Hajarizadeh

    15. The Gift of Time and the Hour of Sacrifice: A Philosophical-Anthropological Analysis of the Deep Difference Between Political Liberal and Populist Politics

    16. Johan Van der Walt

    17. Sacrificial Liberalism: The Politics of Zeal and its Selective Denial in Rawls’s Political Liberalism

    18. Richard Mailey

    19. The Sacrifice of Law’s Madness

    Jeffrey A. Ellsworth


    Brian W. Nail, Professor of English, Florida State College at Jacksonville


    Jeffrey A. Ellsworth, Assistant Professor of Law and Society, Ramapo College of New Jersey