The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida

John D. Caputo

in Styles of Piety

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780823225002
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237081 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

The Prayers and Tears of Jacques                 Derrida

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This chapter undertakes the “impossible task” of explaining the pained, complex relationship between Derrida the “leftist, secularist, sometimes scandalous, post-Marxist Parisian intellectual” and his identity as a Jew bearing a covenant with God. This relationship revolves around a private pseudo-religion of Derrida's own making, wherein the tool of deconstruction of the traditional modes of piety is used in order to create an entirely new, almost prophetic experiential faith that can transcend this world to attain knowledge of the impossible. That which is impossible or paradoxical replaces the traditional notion of “God”, making for a Jewish religion without Judaism or God. This new religion or new covenant avoids the potential for hatred that is supposedly inherent in the Judeo-Christian sense of chosenness. The sign of the alliance (covenant) is still the circumcision, however, a la Jeremiah, this is circumcision of the heart, uncovering the passion for the impossible: an atheist's God.

Keywords: Derrida; Jewish; Judaism; God; deconstruction; deconstructionism; prayer; weeping; calling; prophecy

Chapter.  4981 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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