Truth Or Death: The Quest for Immortality in the Western Narrative Tradition

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Talonbooks, 2004 - Literary Criticism - 412 pages
In the tradition of James Frazer, Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, Thierry Hentsch retells, with new urgency and a keen critical eye, "the story of the West" that shapes our perception of the world. Yet, "the story of the West" does not exist. Only a reading of its most seminal texts--from Ulysses to Hamlet, from the Torah to the Gospels, from Plato to Descartes--can bring it alive.

His tale turns on a startling discovery: The Christian message of immortality is conditional. To overcome death--the touchstone of the human condition--the believer must accept the Truth of salvation. Western civilization, by replacing God with technoscience, offers the universal promise that salvation may now be gained on earth. Yet, as a condition, it would impose its own absolute morality on the world. Truth or Death: the Biblical injunction is ours as well.

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Contents

A Word to the Reader
11
Of Truth and Stories
21
IMMORTALITY AND LIFE
41
Copyright

15 other sections not shown

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About the author (2004)

Thierry Hentsch
Swiss-born, Francophone author Thierry Hentsch carried out various diplomatic missions for the International Red Cross in Syria, Palestine and Pakistan. An expert in intercultural relations, especially between the East and West, he published many incisive journal articles, reviews and collections, which have appeared in Conjonctures, Études internationales, Spirale and Le Monde diplomatique. His extensive research efforts culminated in L'Orient imaginaire [Imagining the Middle East], a much-heralded 1988 publication in which Hentsch provides a solemn critique of the Western perception of the Middle East and reflects on the construction of Western literary, cultural, philosophical, and political identities in relation to the "other."

Fred A. Reed
International journalist and award-winning literary translator Fred A. Reed is also a respected specialist on politics and religion in the Middle East. After several years as a librarian and trade union activist at the Montreal Gazette, Reed began reporting from Islamic Iran in 1984, visiting the Islamic Republic thirty times since then. He has also reported extensively on Middle Eastern affairs for La Presse, CBC Radio-Canada and Le Devoir. Reed is a three-time winner of the Governor General's Award for translation.

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