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Truth or Death by Thierry Hentsch , Translated by Fred A. Reed

Winner of QWF Translation Prize in 2005


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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The Quest for Immortality in the Western Narrative Tradition

French, translated into English


Western culture, history of ideas