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Title: Graphic difference : the sacralising textuality of Anselm and Derrida
Author: Collins, G. J. D.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2000
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This thesis examines the complementary character of the textualities of Anselm of Canterbury and Jacques Derrida. Firstly it explores the divisions between contemporary theological approaches to textuality. After examining the divergence between narrative and revisionist theologies, I analyse Anselm's understanding of textuality and signification. I then explore Derrida's critique of metaphysics and its relationship to different formulations of transcendence. Whilst Derrida criticises certain metaphysical formulations, his thought does not preclude properly theological understandings of transcendence. I therefore rebuff the charge made by certain theologians that Derrida's thought is nihilistic. I then describe the nature of Anselm's 'analogical imagination.' This clarifies the nature of Anselm's textuality, opening up points of contact between him and Derrida. Returning to Derrida, I contend that there are also theological motifs within deconstruction. Paradox and impossibility are critical examples. Through an analysis of Anselm's understanding of the paradox of the incarnation, justice also emerges as a significant concept. In turn, I suggest that Derrida offers an alternative account of justice for contemporary theology. Derridean justice is twinned to a universal responsibility to the other that provides a corrective to Anselmian justice. The question of negative theology consummates the arguments for a convergence between deconstructive and theological concerns. I argue that negative theology is a form of deconstruction. Derrida therefore offers a critical corrective for theology that can sustain revisionist theology in its task of remaining open to the other. This contrasts with conservative theological readings of Derrida, and demonstrates how theology can benefit from Derrida's thought.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available