Journal Article

THINKING THE IMPOSSIBLE: DERRIDA AND THE DIVINE

Guy Collins

in Literature and Theology

Volume 14, issue 3, pages 313-334
Published in print September 2000 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online September 2000 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/14.3.313
THINKING THE IMPOSSIBLE: DERRIDA AND THE DIVINE

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This paper argues for the theological importance of Derrida's thought. It begins by delineating two distinctive but nevertheless interconnected ‘marks of deconstruction’. The analysis of the second of these shows that Derrida's thought of ‘impossibility’ is critical. This announces a fresh contiguity between Derrida and theological paradox illustrated here by Kierkegaard. I then suggest that the relationship between Derrida and theology deepens from an initial sharing of forms to a commitment to common interests, including both faith and justice. This refutes theological readings of Derrida as nihilistic typified by Milbank and Pickstock. I conclude that Derrida can help theology escape premature closure precisely by reiterating the question of the divine.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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