The Passion of Infinity generates a historical narrative surrounding the concept of the irrational as a threat which rational culture has made a series of attempts to understand and relieve. It begins with a reading of Sophocles' Oedipus as the paradigmatic figure of a reason that, having transgressed its mortal limit, becomes catastrophically reversed. It then moves through Aristotle's ethics, psychology and theory of tragedy, which redefine reason's collapses in moral-psychological rather than religious terms. By changing the way in which the irrational is conceived, and the nature of its relation to reason, Aristotle eliminates the concept of an irrationality which reason cannot in principle dissolve. The book culminates in an extensive reading of Kierkegaard's pseudonyms, who, in a critical retrieval of both Greek tragedy and Aristotle, prescribe their apparently pathological age a paradoxical task: develop a finite form of subjectivity willing to undergo an unthinkable thought ‑ allow the transcendence of a god to enter into the mind as well as the marrow, to make a tragic appearance in which a limit to the immanence of human reason can again be established.
Daniel Greenspan,Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, USA.