Eckhart, Derrida, and The Gift of Love

Heythrop Journal 56 (6):1010-1021 (2015)
This paper argues that Jacques Derrida and Meister Eckhart both construe love as a gift that is entirely free of economic exchange, and both conclude on this basis that love cannot be grasped or identified. In my reading, Eckhart and Derrida do not rule out consideration of one’s own well-being, but their accounts do entail that calculated self-protection is external to love. For this reason, they suggest, lovers should not expect to balance love against a prudential restraint: although both demands are indelible, they function at different levels. A gift of this sort is ineluctably dangerous, but Derrida and Eckhart suggest that unsettling darkness must be endured in order to preserve the possibility of love.
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-2265.2012.00754.x
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Jacques Derrida (2008). The Gift of Death. University of Chicago Press.

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