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Title: 'Post-writing' : God and textuality in Derrida's later work
Author: Sands, Danielle Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 5496
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis addresses the controversial question of a religious or theological 'turn' in Derrida's later work. Emphasising both the consistency of Derrida's work and the significance of mode and genre, I consider Derrida's atheistic rethinking of God, investigating the way that the relationship between God and writing determines the configuration of ethics, politics and religion in his later work. The thesis consists of four chapters, each focusing on a different mode of discourse. The first chapter, Confession, tracks Derrida's 'double reading' in 'Circumfession', arguing that it both subverts the constitutive economies of structure, subject and God, and itself confesses deconstruction's alliance with an 'athetic writing' which rethinks God and subjectivity through non-identity. The chapter briefly turns to 'Envois' to consider the political implications of confession. Chapters Two and Three address the relationship between deconstruction and negative theology. The first of these, Dialogue, argues that the dialogical mode defines deconstruction, ensuring consistency between Derrida's early and later work and refuting claims of a 'turn'. Reading 'Saufle nom (Post Scriptum)" I argue that the dialogical nature of the text enables a 'post-writing' which articulates non-ontotheological conceptions of God and gestures towards the political implications of deconstruction. The third chapter, Silence, explores the link between God and language, arguing that Derrida espouses a relativistic or linguistic silence as a way of bearing witness to a linguistic God, and noting, however, a residual tension in Derrida's work between the singularity of religious commitment and the universality of ethics. The last chapter, Reason, reads 'Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of "Religion" at the Limits of Reason Alone', analysing both the interdependence of reason and religion, and the 'Enlightenment to come', and arguing that the text's neglect of the question of God creates a tension between the private and the public or political. Assessing Richard Rorty's depiction of this tension, I argue that by connecting democracy and public space with singularity and secrecy, Derrida's conception of literature challenges this dichotomy. Finally, in the Conclusion, I reiterate the non-identical and non-sovereign concept of God which emerges from these texts, and stress its significance for any assessment of the ethics and politics of deconstruction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available