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(p.157) 6 Transgression
Walter Benjamin's Grave
University of Chicago Press

Transgression sets out to demonstrate an essential part of human and social life, and has consequences for the way one thinks about thinking. Much has been made of the implications in Latin-derived languages, and hence in Christianity, of the negation built into the word “sacred” in its meaning of accursed as well as holy, impure as well as pure, and thus its suggestion, at least poetically, of a deep wound and the necessity in holiness per se. This sense of negation as within and constitutive of the sacred has been most widely explored in modern Western discussions of the concept of taboo. The power of the negative cannot be construed as a simple barrier, because, in being separated, something is connected as much as it is dislocated from that which it is set apart, and it is the tension of negations embodied in this relationship that needs to be considered.

Keywords:   Transgression, social life, Latin-derived languages, Christianity, sacred

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