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Derrida, Augustine and Dodaro

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In “Rechristianizing Augustine Postmodern-Style” , Wayne John Hankey reports about a colloquium held at the University of Villanova in September 1997. In that colloquium, Robert Dodaro, then Vice-President of the Augustinianum, delivered a paper on “Religion and Post-modernity”. Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) was present in that colloquium. The paper read was on Augustine in the light of Derrida’s “Circumfessions.”

Derrida’s love for Augustine comes out in Circumfession. The personal connections are clearly felt: Algeria; Derrida’s mother, Georgette, a kind of Jewish Monica;(6) youthful rebellion; the compromises and troubles of a provincial aiming for success in the metropolis; etc. But there is more between Derrida and Augustine than the personal connections. The Augustinian theological tradition is the quintessence of the Logocentrism which makes Western culture. Derrida’s postmodern “nothing outside text” is a deconstruction of that Logocentrism, along with the self which was born in, and is at home with, that reason above history and text. So Derrida is deconstructing what is at the heart of the Augustine who is at the center of the Western Christian tradition, religious and secular.

For those into hermeneutics, the article can serve as an introduction to Jacque Derrida’s “Circumfessions” and may be instructive for a rereading of Augustine from the perspective of this millenium.

Originally posted 2006-01-13 22:23:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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