Over the course of the seventeenth to eighteenth centuries, an interior private notion of religion gained wide public recognition. It then spread through settler colonial contexts around the world. It has since been criticized for its abstract, immaterial nature as well as its irrelevance to traditions beyond the European context. However, such critiques obscure the contradiction between religion’s definition as a matter of interior privacy and its public visibility in various printed publications. Firstly, this monograph responds by re-evaluating the cultural (...) impact of the exterior forms in which religious texts were printed, such as pamphlets, broadsheets, books and journals. Secondly, it applies that evidence to critical studies of religion shaped by the crisis of representation in the human sciences. While Jacques Derrida is oft-cited as a progenitor of that crisis, the opposite case is made. Lastly, it draws on Derrida’s thought to reframe the relation between a religious text’s internal hermeneutic interests and its external forms. In sum, a new model is provided of how religion was printed in ways that can be compared to other material cultures around the world. (shrink)
This article offers a reading of Jacques Derrida’s account of “religion” and “life” in his seminal essay “Faith and Knowledge.” Applying Derrida’s aporetic structure of “X without X” to his remarks on religion and life in “Faith and Knowledge,” this article suggests that underlying Derrida’s endeavor to “think religion abstractly” is a radical re-conception not only of religion as “religion without religion” but moreover a re-imagination of life as “life without life” that breaks away from the traditional metaphysical understandings of (...) life and religion. (shrink)
This is an essay on Kant's neglected late tract On a Recently Adopted Prominent Tone in Philosophy (RTP) and Derrida's oblique commentary on this work in his D'un ton apocalyptique adopté naguère en philosophie. The theme of the essay is metaphilosophical and considers issues concerning the nature of critical philosophy, fanaticism (Schwärmerei), and the use of religious tropes in philosophy. I am primarily interested in the ways in which RTP thematises the legitimacy of speaking in an exalted, quasi-religious tone apropos (...) of the authority of Reason as a self-legitimising capacity in philosophical speech. An important additional reason for taking a closer look at this text is because the late Jacques Derrida (1930–2004) took a great interest in this work of Kant’s and, indeed, emphasised, rightly I think, that despite its prima facie rhetorically charged, polemical nature this work—which might at first be taken to be merely a lampoon—is anything but insignificant in Kant’s œuvre. Derrida’s On a Recently Adopted Apocalyptic Tone in Philosophy, originally published in 1983, is an oblique commentary on Kant’s RTP, and aims to expose to view the alleged hidden underpinnings of Kant’s polemic against exaltation or fanaticism (Schwärmerei) in philosophy. Derrida tries to show that Kant’s appeal for tonal moderation in philosophy, for a measured speech, which should rein in exalted modes of speech, is itself not neutral and rather fundamentally biased against an exalted, quasi-religious, manner of thought. It is evident that, as he himself notes early on in RTP, Kant is predisposed towards a more Aristotelian, academic kind of philosophy, which adopts a “proper” tone or pitch in philosophical debate, but Derrida claims that Kant himself raises his voice precisely in lampooning exalted thinkers. I am particularly interested in the extent to which Derrida’s critique manifests a fundamental misapprehension of the Kantian mode of moderating critique. By expounding this misapprehension, Kant’s own reasons for his philippic against religious or quasi-religious talk in philosophy are foregrounded, thus showing the nature of properly critical thought. At the same time, I shall show how Derrida underestimates the self-reflexivity, and hence properly critical, self-authorising mode of thinking, underlying his own oblique references to the adieu as a trope for quasi-transcendental intentionality towards the so-called ‘Other’. (shrink)
…I see my list on political theology functioning like Wittgenstein’s ladder metaphor in his Tractatus. Once graduate students read and grasp these important texts, they should “throw away the ladder”, so to speak, and deconstruct all they have learned about political theology to illuminate contemporary problems on their own. Once they reach the top, they can throw away the ladder.
In this paper, I explore a possible a/theological response to what Nietzsche called the ‘death of God’—or Hölderlin’s and Heidegger’s ‘flight of the gods’—through a juxtaposition of the Christian-Pauline concept of kenōsis and the ancient Greek-Platonic notion of chōra, and by taking Nishida Kitarō’s appropriations of these concepts as a clue and starting point. Nishida refers to chōra in 1926 to initiate his philosophy of place and then makes reference to kenōsis in 1945 in his final work that culminates—without necessarily (...) completing—his oeuvre. What he had thereby accomplished is an inversion of Platonism resulting in the collapse of the transcendent/immanent—idea/genesis and by implication the Heaven/Earth—dichotomy. I then unpack the ethical implication of this kenotic chōra Nishida has left us with. It suggests from us a certain response to the desacralization or secularization of the world. I shall build upon this suggestion and unfold its implications by drawing from a variety of sources, starting with Nishida but including others, such as Meister Eckhart, Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida, Emmanuel Levinas, Gianni Vattimo, Reiner Schürmann, Mark Taylor, Jürgen Moltmann, and other philosophical and theological sources. (shrink)
Dans cet essai, j'analyse les présuppositions du récit dudit « retour du religieux », du point de vue de la psychanalyse (Freud) et de la déconstruction (Derrida). Après avoir mis à jour l'eurocentrisme et le colonialisme inhérents aux concepts de « magie », « animisme », « religion » et « croyance » chez Freud (avec une attention particulière portée à Totem et tabou), j’offre une lecture déconstructrice des discours politiques contemporains sur le sécularisme, la foi et le savoir.
The reviewer finds the much obfuscated (sic) logos explained in this gem of an anthology. The reviewer picks up the notion of the logos and his review turns around this philosophical stonewall. The genius of one of the contributors is in connecting logos to the Tao.
This book provides a novel reevaluation of Jacques Derrida’s deconstructive account of writing. Derrida’s various essays on writing's materiality in books, scrolls, typewriters and digital displays, briefly touched on the question of religion. At times he directed his attention to the mediatic nature of Christianity. However, such comments have rarely been applied to formal aspects of religious texts. In response, this book investigates the rise of the Christian codex in its second-to-fifth-century-CE Jewish and Greco-Roman contexts. By better understanding the religious (...) nature of this technical development, it becomes possible to reframe writing's coincidence with faith. (shrink)
This paper argues that Jacques Derrida and Meister Eckhart both construe love as a gift that is entirely free of economic exchange, and both conclude on this basis that love cannot be grasped or identified. In my reading, Eckhart and Derrida do not rule out consideration of one’s own well-being, but their accounts do entail that calculated self-protection is external to love. For this reason, they suggest, lovers should not expect to balance love against a prudential restraint: although both demands (...) are indelible, they function at different levels. A gift of this sort is ineluctably dangerous, but Derrida and Eckhart suggest that unsettling darkness must be endured in order to preserve the possibility of love. (shrink)
While Heidegger's earlier phenomenological writings inform much contemporary discourse in the continental philosophy of religion, his 1927 essay on ‘Phenomenology and Theology’ offers a largely uncontested distinction between philosophy and theology on the basis of their possibilities as sciences following ontological difference. This paper reconsiders Heidegger's distinction by invoking spirit and wonder, concepts Jacques Derrida and Mary-Jane Rubenstein have more recently emphasized as central to thought that is open to that which ruptures metaphysical schemas. I contend Heidegger's use of ontological (...) difference as a formal distinction between philosophy and theology distances us from the wonder, spirit, and truth (alētheia) that undoes the binaries behind which we take shelter. However, I temper this critique with the recognition that Heidegger, Derrida, and Rubenstein equally recognize an inescapable repetition of metaphysical thinking in the philosophy of religion. (shrink)
Kantian Transpositions presents an important new reading of Jacques Derrida’s writings on religion and ethics. Eddis Miller argues that Derrida’s late texts on religion constitute an interrogation of the meaning and possibility of a “philosophy of religion.” It is the first book to fully engage Derrida’s claim, in “Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ at the Limits of Reason Alone” to be transposing the Kantian gesture of thinking religion “within the limits of reason alone.” Miller outlines the terms (...) of this “transposition” and reads Derrida’s work as an attempt to enact such a transposition. Along the way, he stakes out new ground in the debate over deconstruction and ethics, showing—against recent interpretations of Derrida’s work—that there is an ethical moment in Derrida’s writings that cannot be understood properly without accounting for the decisive role played by Kant’s ethics. The result is the most sustained demonstration yet offered of Kant’s indispensible contribution to Derrida’s thought. (shrink)
“I quite rightly pass for an atheist,” Jacques Derrida announces in Circumfession. Grace Jantzen's suggestion that the poststructuralist critique of modernity can also be trained on atheism helps us make sense of this playfully cryptic statement: although Derrida sympathizes with the “idea” of atheism, he is wary of the modern brand of atheism, with its insistence on rationally arranging—straightening out—religion. In this paper, I will argue that poststructural feminism, with its focus on embodied epistemology, offers a way to re-explain Derrida's (...) “I rightly pass,” and also to carry it forward. Poststructural feminist atheism leads us through Derrida to an embodied disbelief drawing on three dimensions of poststructural feminism: feminist epistemology and material feminism, relationality, and affect theory. (shrink)
Have we ever been religious? It may seem strange to open an essay on Derrida with a Latourean question. Yet, with regard to religion, what Derrida demonstrates is quite unavoidably this: we have long been, and are still being, Christianized. Whatever else we may have been, perhaps still are, constitutes but the space or espacement offered or relinquished, however reluctantly or even grudgingly (though more often than not quite willingly) to Christianization. This is a space that goes beyond whatever is (...) meant by the word or the concept of ‘religion’, under whatever definition. And though Derrida still refers to it, at times, in terms that have themselves become, for the most part, religious markers (Judaism, Islam, etc.), he leaves no doubt that such name calling is part of the Christianization he otherwise documents. This essay attempts to show that the question (let us call it Derrida's ‘Christian question’) is therefore: what is Christianity? (shrink)
The theme of the ‘deconstruction of Christianity’, which was selected for this special issue of Derrida Today, is one that arises not from the work of Derrida himself in the first instance but instead from that of Jean-L Nancy. Not only is this so but Derrida's ( 2005) own view of the notion of the ‘deconstruction of Christianity’ seems, on the evidence available, to be at least open to quite a bit of interpretation given the ambiguous nature of some of (...) his comments on the question. Given this is so it might not be thought at all obvious why this theme should be selected for a special issue of Derrida Today and in this introduction I want to address both this possible disquiet and also provide some background to the arrival of concern with this topic. (shrink)
In this article I seek to address the way that Jean-Luc Nancy's project of the ‘deconstruction of Christianity’ relates to the understanding of what might be meant by ‘Christian art’. In the process of looking at Nancy's treatment of some signal ‘Christian’ scenes I describe some ways in which the motif of ‘touching’ arises as significant for how Nancy addresses the possibility of ‘alienation from the world’, a possibility that he takes to be central to the self-deconstructive potential of ‘Christianity’. (...) Subsequently the topic of the distinction between ‘faith’ and ‘belief’ is related to how Derrida understands the notion of the ‘messianic’ and I conclude with a suggestion concerning how the plurality of ‘deconstructions’ might complicate the question of what is meant by the view that the ‘deconstruction of Christianity’ is itself a ‘Christian’ project. (shrink)
In his essay ‘The Deconstruction of Christianity’, Jean-Luc Nancy identifies Christianity with the heart of the West, thus following René Girard's claim that Christianity is the religion that exposes the workings of scapegoating and mimetic violence that drive most religions and cultures. However, in On Touching, Derrida distances himself from Nancy's project, and I argue that this is precisely because he is aware that a straightforward embrace of the deconstruction of Christianity is a ruse, as it will end up in (...) a Christian victory that ultimately overcomes deconstruction. The problem, however, is that a simple opposition to Christianity is also insufficient because it gets caught in a similar trap where Christianity ultimately wins (religion will always triumph, as Lacan says). The workings of this ‘trap’ will be explored through a reading of Derrida's essay ‘What is a Relevant Translation?’ and particularly his discussion of Shylock's situation in Merchant of Venice, where Derrida recognizes the ruse of Christianity in its ability to trump Shylock's literal translation of the law, but still he ‘insist[s] on the Christian dimension’. Why? To answer this question this paper turns to another: how do we survive Christianity? (shrink)
The legacy of an antinomian messianism within a Jewish historical context -- Jacques Derrida and Giorgio Agamben on the processes of messianicity and canonicity -- Conclusions formulated on the basis of part I: recognizing the challenges of a "political theology of immanence" -- The radical hermeneutics of theology -- The "violence" of the canon: a contemporary context for the canonical form -- The necessity of hermeneutics.
This creates a Christian theology of wisdom for the present day, in discussion with two sets of conversation-partners: The writers of the 'wisdom literature' in ancient Israel and the Jewish community in Alexandria; and the philosophers and thinkers of the late-modern age, among them Derrida, Levinas, Kristeva, Ricoeur, and Arendt.
Postmetaphysics in this book is interpreted as thinking through metaphysics at the closure of metaphysics by thinking the impossible possibility of metaphysics. In this site of the closure of metaphysics and the turn to language, the grammar of faith is discovered as the grammar of language or writing. The logic or grammatology of writing and thus of reality is revealed, not contra to philosophy or metaphysics, but when thinking through metaphysics to its end or closure, and there in that site (...) the grammar of faith is revealed as the grammar of texts and contexts and in such a site "God" is a good name to save and hence the possibility of postmetaphysical God-talk. The book concludes with three oblique offerings with regard to such postmetaphysical God-talk, namely a construction of an image, theopoetics and finally holy folly in response to the limitations and possibilities of postmetaphysical God-talk in the light of the conversation between Heidegger, Levinas and Derrida. (shrink)
For Derrida, the technological, automatic and mechanical could never simply be defined as external or opposed to the voluntary, conscious and spiritual. The articulation and repeatability of the trace means that there is something machinic that is inseparable from the possibilities of meaning, choice and faith. This paper will draw on various texts – including ‘Faith and Knowledge’, Without Alibi and On Touching – to explore the mutual unravelling of machine and flesh in the Christian doctrine of the incarnation. It (...) will argue that the incarnation should not be interpreted as the self-emptying of God, but as the productive resistance of the immanent world to being appropriated by a discourse of transcendence. Taking account of Derrida's engagement with Nancy, it will explore a deconstruction of Christianity that is not ‘mere Christian hyperbole’, but the ruin of salvation itself. (shrink)
Recent debates about the legacy (and, sometimes, surpassing) of Derridean philosophy have often oriented themselves around questions of a new austerity in relation to the implicit philosophical functioning of God. Indeed, an increasing philosophical vigilance about the death or nonexistence of God has begun to be presented as a hallmark of recent criticisms of earlier receptions of Derrida and, by way of messianic structures of time, of Derridean politics as well. We argue that the inflating value of atheism in recent (...) texts operates most effectively within a broader forgetfulness of the many modes in which a serial dying of gods constitutes a more fundamental quality of the religio-political archive than the stability or life of these gods. We find, moreover, there to be something comical about a reconfiguration of the ontotheological archive around a tableau of serially dying Gods, this God who cannot stabilize or maintain for long any system of divine life support. Most importantly, we find that our sense of comedy is itself indicative of important shifts within the stylistics of Derridean discussions of auto-immunity and supplement which have yet to be worked through with any real seriousness. In this respect, our reflections pair Bergson's reflections on the universe as a ‘machine for the manufacture of gods’ with Bergson's explorations of comedy as a fundamentally mechanical affair. The serially dying gods of our religious and philosophical traditions are best understood in the same modes as Bergson's comedy, often marked by an automatism of everyday mechanisms of life which outlive their useful functioning. (shrink)
This article claims to dispute Derrida’s interpretation of Isaac’s sacrifice proposed in Donner la mort by means of three sources: 1) midrashic sources, which impose to read the sacrifice not as a requirement of murder, but as sacrifice of the sacrifice; 2) the phenomenology of Levinas which allows to measure the violence of the interpretation of Derrida and to return the biblical episode to the complications of the relationships between ethics and rationality; 3) the phenomenology of Marion, which, by refusing (...) to interpret this biblical episode as a sacrifice following its common concept, proposes a phenomenological interpretation which returns the sacrifice to the conceptuality of the gift and donation, considered as impossible by Derrida. Far from being conflicting ways, these three layers of analysis can be capitalized and mutually validated. (shrink)
Abstract. On the naive reading, “radical social constructivism” would be the result of “deconstructing” science. Science would simply be a contingent construction in accordance with social determinants. However, postmodernism does not necessarily abandon fidelity to the objects of thought. Merold Westphal's Derridean philosophy of religion emphasizes that even theology need not eliminate the transcendence of the divine other. By drawing an analogy between natural and supernatural transcendence, I argue that science is similarly called to responsibility in the encounter with that (...) which lies outside its horizon of expectation. Science's rational autonomy is overcome by the heteronomy of realities that precede it. Understanding species as homeostatic property clusters is an example of nonessentialist, postmodern, and scientific realism. Science is still a vehicle for encountering natural alterity, thus decentering the relativism thought to characterize postmodernism. However, natural science must not attempt to place the whole of being at human disposal if it is to fulfill the potential of Westphal's philosophy of religion. (shrink)
El objetivo de este trabajo es demostrar que aquello que vincula la deconstrucción con lo político es la idea de acontecimiento y, en concreto, la fe en el acontecimiento. Lo mesiánico consiste en esta fe en el acontecimiento que Derrida recupera de Marx. Para demostrar esta tesis procederé, en primer lugar, a distinguir la idea de mesianicidad de la idea reguladora kantiana; en segundo lugar, se analizará el concepto de creencia que, según Derrida, debe habitar el concepto mismo de democracia; (...) y finalmente se mostrará cómo este elemento fiduciario de la deconstrucción desborda el ámbito de lo ético para abrir una concepción de lo político vinculada a lo religioso. (shrink)
Miracle and Machine is a sort of "reader's guide" to Jacques Derrida's 1994 essay "faith and knowledge," his most important work on the nature of religion in general and on the unprecedented forms it is taking today through science and the ...
This essay demonstrates that in his 1999–2000 Death Penalty Seminar Jacques Derrida pursues the deconstruction of political theology that he had been pursuing in a more or less explicit fashion for more than two decades. Derrida's interest in the theme of the death penalty can be traced back in large part, it is argued, to the theological and essentially Judeo-Christian origins that Derrida finds in discourses both for and against the death penalty. This emphasis on the theological origins of the (...) death penalty helps explain why Derrida spends much more time questioning the principles, rhetoric, and images of abolitionist discourses than pro–death penalty discourses. For Derrida, this essay concludes, a critique or deconstruction of discourses surrounding the death penalty is never more critical than in a putatively postreligious, secular age. In the end, Derrida hopes to provide what may be the very first philosophical abolitionist discourse, one that argues against the death penalty without relying on the language, tropes, symbols, and images of Judeo-Christian theology. (shrink)
In this powerful new study Edward Baring sheds fresh light on Jacques Derrida, one of the most influential yet controversial intellectuals of the twentieth century. Reading Derrida from a historical perspective and drawing on new archival sources, The Young Derrida and French Philosophy shows how Derrida's thought arose in the closely contested space of post-war French intellectual life, developing in response to Sartrian existentialism, religious philosophy and the structuralism that found its base at the École Normale Supe;rieure. In a history (...) of the philosophical movements and academic institutions of post-war France, Baring paints a portrait of a community caught between humanism and anti-humanism, providing a radically new interpretation of the genesis of deconstruction and of one of the most vibrant intellectual moments of modern times. (shrink)
The question addressed in this article is to what extent a destructed concept of religion can be said to characterize the philosophical method of Martin Heidegger. In order to approach this question, we first characterize his method as “Vollzug der Fraglichkeit”: philosophy in its deepest sense does not mean to give answers to questions but to ask questions. According to Heidegger, the execution of questioning consists in the “transforming repetition” of the leading question of philosophy in order to ask the (...) basic question of philosophy. In the second part of the article, we reflect on the “religious” character of Heidegger’s method of questioning. The reflection makes use of different etymological derivations of the word ‘Religion’: relegere, re-eligere, religare, relinquere. In the third part of the article, we discuss what Heidegger’s “religious” method of philosophy means for present questions concerning religion. To that end, we finish with a confrontation between Heidegger and Derrida with respect to the “religious” method of philosophy. (shrink)
For Derrida, the ‘‘as if’’, as a regulative principle directly appropriated and modified from its Kantian context, becomes the central lynchpin for understanding, not only Derrida's philosophical system as a whole, but also his numerous seemingly enigmatic references to his ‘‘jewishness’’. Through an analysis of the function of the ‘‘as if’’ within the history of thought, from Greek tragedy to the poetry of Wallace Stevens, I hope to show how Derrida can only appropriate his Judaic roots as an act of (...) mourning that seeks to render the lost object as present, ‘‘as if’’ it were incorporated by the subject for whom this act nevertheless remains an impossibility. As Derrida discerns within the poetry of Paul Celan, bringing a sense of presence/presentness to our experiences, and as a confirmation of the subject which the human being struggles to assert, is the poetic task par excellence. It is seemingly also, if Derrida is to be understood on this point, the only option left to a humanity wherein poetry comes to express what religious formulations can no longer justify. (shrink)
In the ninth fragment of his posthumous work Living Up to Death , Paul Ricoeur reflects on Jacques Derrida’s final interview given to the French newspaper Le Monde just months prior to his death. Although he confesses to a genuine distanciation from Derrida regarding salient aspects of their individual memento mori , he does so within the context of significant concessions of agreement. I argue in this article that their differing positions de facto agree at a critical structural level with (...) reference to the possibility of positing something akin to a textual immortality. Both contend that traces of the author remain in the corpus of a work, a remainder that allows for a form of resurrection through reading. By analogizing their perspectives with Rudolf Bultmann’s kerygmatic resurrection of Christ in the proclaimed word, I conclude that Ricoeur and Derrida contend that one truly learns to live up to death ‘ finally ’, that is, enfin — ‘at last’, ‘after all’, or one might say, ‘ in a word ’. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to reconstruct a Christian theology of “hospitality” through a critical reading of Jacques Derrida and Friedrich Nietzsche as well as through an in-depth biblical and theological reflection on the ethics of hospitality. Out of this reconstructive investigation, I propose a new Christian ethics of hospitality as a radical kind. As a new paradigm, this radical hospitality is distinguished from other types in that it is no longer conceived on the model of “gift”. The new (...) Christian ethics of hospitality is rather reconstructed on the model of “forgiveness” by critically appropriating the concept of “invisible debt” that lies between the hosting citizens and the migrants in the senses of “you owe us your presence” and “I owe you my security and success.” While the hospitality of the gift defines the relationship between the hosting citizens and the migrants as givers and givees, the new paradigm of hospitality identifies this relationship as between creditors and debtors. In this regard, a new Christian hospitality called for unto citizens of the hosting society is a radical kind that challenges them to transcend the creditor-debtor consciousness. (shrink)
Beware of the abysses and the gorges, but also of the bridges and the barriers.It is fair to say that many philosophical interpretations of the Daoist classics have proceeded, or continue to proceed, to read into these works the quest for a transcendental, foundational principle, a permanent moment of rest beyond the turmoil of ever-changing things. According to this interpretation the Daoist sages are those who have for all time found this metaphysical ground of all things—"The Way" (dao 道)—and who (...) have tried (in vain, though, since language cannot convey this ultimate ground) to find ways of expressing this transcendental ground to their audience.To quote one instance of how easily such metaphysical .. (shrink)
In his Faith and Knowledge Derrida deconstructs the opposition between religion and knowledge. Paradoxically, on the one hand he calls faith the common source of both religion and knowledge, while on the other hand he is criticizing every religious tradition, taking his starting point in the tradition of enlightenment. This article critically discusses Derrida's thoughts on religion and tracks the force of faith that is at work in his deconstructive strategies. The last section discusses the contrary effects these deconstructive strategies (...) may bring about with regard to tolerance and justice. (shrink)
Introduction -- Roots, rootlessness, and fin de siècle France -- Stranger and self: Sartre's Jew -- Anti-Semite and Jew -- Dialectical history, unhappy consciousness, and the Messiah -- The ethics of uprootedness: Emmanuel Levinas's postwar project -- Literary unrest: Maurice Blanchot's rewriting of Levinas --"The Last of the Jews": Jacques Derrida and the case of the figure -- The cut -- The exemplar -- Conclusion.
The purpose of this paper is to establish a proper context for reading Jacques Derrida's The Gift of Death, which, I contend, can only be understood fully against the backdrop of "Violence and Metaphysics." The later work cannot be fully understood unless the reader appreciates the fact that Derrida returns to "a certain Abraham" not only in the name of Kierkegaard but also in the name of Levinas himself. The hypothesis of the reading that follows therefore would be that Derrida (...) writes The Gift of Death not as an attempt to re-present Kierkegaard's Abraham either rightly or wrongly but as an effort to do with Kierkegaard's Abraham what is possible with his thought in a broadly Levinasian/Derridean framework. That the reading he provides of the Abraham story would not be recognizable to Kierkegaard is not the principal point of Derrida's effort; his aim is to demonstrate that Levinas should not have been so hasty to dismiss Kierkegaard but could have recovered his interpretation of Abraham for purposes that Derrida and Levinas both share. (shrink)
This article will theorize how Derrida's deconstruction signifies a fundamental ontological alterity. We will examine the use of both the tropes of “sacred” and “faith” as tropes to express this possibility. We will articulate how deconstruction, as a development of phenomenology, provides a theoretical nexus where the alterity of things and persons may be thought. We will arrive at the paradoxical formulation of “ontological alterity” as a key moment in deconstructive thinking. Essentially we will argue that deconstruction offers the resources (...) to think the relation between other person and things in the world as motivated by a firm radicalization of Heideggerean worldliness and Levinasian alterity. (shrink)
In recent years, there have been reports about increased religious discrimination in schools. As a way of acknowledging the importance of religion and faith communities in the public sphere and to propose a solution to the exclusion of religious citizens, the political philosopher Jürgen Habermas suggests an act of translation for which both secular and religious citizens are mutually responsible. What gets lost in Habermas’s translation, this paper argues, is the condition that makes translation both necessary and (im)possible. Drawing on (...) Walter Benjamin’s notion of the mysterious untranslatable and the task of the translator, the paper approaches translation as an ethical process involving risk, asymmetry and uncertainty. Not knowing where this risk will lead, the paper takes the ethical ambivalence at play in Jacques Derrida’s notion of the untranslatable and explores this in relation to religious difference in education. It argues that the untranslatable needs to be acknowledged in terms of a respect for difference and a limit to narration, if students with religious convictions are not to be further violated in schools. (shrink)
Jacques Derrida's vision of 'messianicity' in his book Specters of Marx and the essay 'Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of “Religion” at the Limits of Reason Alone' has been widely appreciated by scholars. Yet little fundamentally critical engagement appears to have been made with some important historical-sociological questions raised by Derrida's ideas in these texts. Drawing on earlier reference-points in 20th-century critical theory and sociology, the present article argues for some objections to Derrida's presentation of the significance of religious (...) messianism in modern Western social and political thought. The central claim defended is that Derrida invidiously marginalizes some important non-messianistic idioms, sources and traditions of thinking about religious history and its bearing on contemporary social and political self-understanding. (shrink)