Journal Article

The Desert in the Desert: Faith and the Aporias of Law and Knowledge in Derrida and <i>The Sayings of the Desert Fathers</i>

Lori Branch

in Journal of the American Academy of Religion

Published on behalf of American Academy of Religion

Volume 71, issue 4, pages 811-833
Published in print December 2003 | ISSN: 0002-7189
Published online December 2003 | e-ISSN: 1477-4585 | DOI:
The Desert in the Desert: Faith and the Aporias of Law and Knowledge in Derrida and The Sayings of the Desert Fathers

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In this article I consider The Sayings of the Desert Fathers in light of deconstructive ethical theory. Jacques Derrida's critique of law in favor of undecidability, the uncertainty of chora or the “desert in the desert,” and limitless responsibility helps us understand this perplexing work; wandering in the desert of the Sayings, the reader does not find the law guaranteeing salvation but, rather, is left searching in each particular instance for “discernment” and “charity,” for “what your soul wills in following God's will.” Amid a contradictory collection of narratives and advice, the Sayings leaves the reader to find in his or her particular life the lack or desire that prompts him or her to approach the other in repentance and yet in hope. The Sayings points to this sort of faith as much as to deconstructive questioning—both of which take place in this “desert in the desert”—as constitutive of right relations with the other.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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