The Trace of God: Derrida and Religion by Edward Baring

By Edward Baring

Derrida's writings at the query of faith have performed a vital position within the transformation of scholarly debate around the globe. The hint of God offers a compact creation to this debate. It considers Derrida's fraught courting to Judaism and his Jewish identification, broaches the query of Derrida's relation to the Western Christian culture, and examines either the issues of touch and the silences in Derrida's remedy of Islam.

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24 Mutatis mutandis, the same would seem to hold true of everything Derrida’s own more consequent meditation upon the premises and reaches of phenomenology (or any other philosophical ambition) brings to bear upon the theological tropes and topoi it traverses and, of necessity, only barely transcends. We could extend, therefore, what Derrida concludes into Husserl’s own thought and method: There is, then, probably no choice to be made between two lines of thought; our task is rather to reflect on the circularity which makes the one pass into the other indefinitely.

20 Thus for Levinas, the issue is not equal rights, citizenship, or participation, nor is the issue that of a state or nation of one’s own although these are, of course, essential issues in political and social terms. In all of these cases the establishment of such rights or territories simply establishes the Jews as one people among many, which at one level they are . . ” But by phrasing the “Jewish question” in this way the universal has prevailed over the particular and a certain assumption about assimilation is both presumed and fulfilled.

It is the “endeavor to shift the question out of the necessary and rigorous debate” held among the generation of his teachers as to the correct interpretation of Descartes’s text and to “draw it towards regions” in which Derrida claimed he had been “navigating,”15 discussing the relationship between “signature,” “event,” and “context” and the element and effectuation of an in principle infinite repetition and change of and between them. Now, could one say that such iterability begins with nothing less than— the name and concept, perhaps, revelation and veneration of— God Himself and, hence, with no One less than God, with nothing more than the “One”?

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