The Highest Poverty Paperback

Monastic Rules and Form-Of-Life

by Giorgio Agamben;

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The Highest Poverty

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What is a rule, if it appears to become confused with life? And what is a human life, if, in every one of its gestures, of its words, and of its silences, it cannot be distinguished from the rule?

It is to these questions that Agamben's new book turns by means of an impassioned reading of the fascinating and massive phenomenon of Western monasticism from Pachomius to St. Francis. The book reconstructs in detail the life of the monks with their obsessive attention to temporal articulation and to the Rule, to ascetic techniques and to liturgy. But Agamben's thesis is that the true novelty of monasticism lies not in the confusion between life and norm, but in the discovery of a new dimension, in which "life" as such, perhaps for the first time, is affirmed in its autonomy, and in which the claim of the "highest poverty" and "use" challenges the law in ways that we must still grapple with today.

How can we think a form-of-life, that is, a human life released from the grip of law, and a use of bodies and of the world that never becomes an appropriation? How can we think life as something not subject to ownership but only for common use?

The Highest Poverty by Giorgio Agamben was published by Stanford University Press in April 2013. The ISBN for The Highest Poverty is 9780804784061.

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Details for The Highest Poverty

Page last updated 19th July 2016
Author / Artist
Book FormatPaperback / softback
PublisherStanford University Press (April 2013)
Number of Pages184
Thickness14 mm
Height216 mm
Width140 mm
Product Code4073531
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