Derrida the Tactician

O’Regan (Theology and the Spaces of Apocalyptic, 113-4) deftly captures the limits and use of Derrida.

Limits first, and there are severe: Derrida is not “adequate for Christian theology,” he argues, because “as theo-logy, there is presumtively a reality whose very nature it seems it to self-disclose, and since as theo-logy there is a Word spoken that articulates itself in words and in and as a determinate content that is binding in a quite obtrusive fashion.”

Yet: Derrida (and Benjamin) don’t intend to offer a theology anyway. What they offer is “a tactic or set of tactics to humble all over-claims, especially those of a speculative kind, to loosen up traditions that tend toward sclerosis, and to open up a space for new practices and newer forms of life.” He thinks that all the forms of “apocalyptic” theology that he discusses in the book can enlist and benefit from the tactics.

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