That-Which-Remains: A Phenomenological Reading of Two Eighteenth Century Texts on Death, Simon Demetriou
This article compares an eighteenth century treatise calling for the banning of church burial with a funeral sermon from the same period in relation to two questions. Where and to whom does that-which-remains after death belong? And how do the texts represent the nature of that-which-remains? The first section looks at the remains’ conceptual position in relation to the space of the church, and in relation to the living and the dead. The second compares the texts on the basis that one sublimates the body, denying its physicality, while the other acts to reinforce the flesh’s status as flesh. Drawing upon the thought of Heidegger and Derrida, the article concludes that both texts support arguments that eighteenth century considerations of the dead prefigure what would come to be the modern phenomenological understanding of death and the dead, arguing that they both engage with the phenomenological issue of death as the presencing of an absence.