Another benefit of Derrida: Because he puts philosophical issues in mythological and metaphorical terms, he moves philosophy into the field of theology. As I've pointed out in a number of posts, Derrida (following Plato) speaks of the relationship between speaker and speech (or sometimes between speech and writing) as a father-son relation. When he does that, he's already playing in the fields of Trinitarian theology (including theology of language), and he's conceded a basic battle. This, as I recall, is one of the great insights of Brian Ingraffia's book on Derrida, in which Ingraffia sets the Apostle Paul and Derrida in conflict with each other; there are profound disagreements, but they are, as it were, speaking the same language. Derrida shows, for instance, how importantly the terms tupos and stoicheia figure into Platonic thought, and thereby sets up the possibility of a confrontation with the New Testament's use of those terms.
posted by Peter J. Leithart on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 at 04:12 PM
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