Advertisement

Is Violence Inescapable? Derrida, Religion, and the Irreducibility of Violence

  • Jason W. AlvisEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter interprets Derrida’s understanding of religion and violence in his 1998 “Faith and Knowledge” through his critique of “meaning” in his 1967 “Violence and Metaphysics.” This is done in order to arrive at a deeper, yet often overlooked observation—that “meaning” (attempting to bring to light and expose a single point of origination) and “signification” (as a process void of difference and bound to presence) themselves are in many cases the bases of the violence of metaphysics. As Derrida put it in 1967, “it is violence as the origin of meaning and of discourse in the reign of finitude” (Violence and Metaphysics, 129). The chapter concludes with a reflection on violence that seeks to avoid both of the extremes that claim violence to be either (A) senseless and irrational or (B) a determinable product of an undergirding cause-effect structure. The former often abandons hope to describe violence’s intelligibility; the latter tends to operate with a blind optimism that violence is reasonable and therefore can be eradicated once we determine its meaning.

Bibliography

  1. Alvis, J. (2018). The Inconspicuous God: Heidegger, French Phenomenology and the Theological Turn. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anidjar, G. (2009). The Idea of an Anthropology of Christianity. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 11(3), 367–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Asad, T. (2009). Response to Gil Anidjar. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 11(3), 394–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Caputo, J. (1997). The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion Without Religion. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chérif, M., & Derrida, J. (2008). Islam and the West: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  6. Crockett, C. (2017). Derrida After the End of Writing: Political Theology and New Materialism. New York: Fordham University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. de Vries, H. (2015). Phenomenal Violence and the Philosophy of Religion. In M. Jurgensmeyer, M. Kitts, & M. Jerryson (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion Violence (pp. 496–520). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Derrida, J. (1973). Speech and Phenomena: And Other Essays on Husserl’s Theory of Signs. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Derrida, J. (1978a). Violence and Metaphysics. In Writing and Difference (A. Bass, Trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  10. Derrida, J. (1978b). Force and Signification. In Writing and Difference (A. Bass, Trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Derrida, J. (1987). Comment ne pas parler. Dénégations, en Psyché. Inventions de l’autre. Paris: Éditions Galilée.Google Scholar
  12. Derrida, J. (1992). How to Avoid Speaking: Denials. In H. G. Coward & T. Foshay (Eds.), Derrida and Negative Theology. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  13. Derrida, J. (1995). Khora. In T. Dutoit (Ed.), On the Name. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995.Google Scholar
  14. Derrida, J. (1997a). A Conversation with Jacques Derrida. In J. Caputo (Ed.), Deconstruction in a Nutshell. New York: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Derrida, J. (1997b). Of Grammatology (G. C. Spivak, Trans.). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  16. Derrida, J. (1998). Faith and Knowledge: The Two Sources of ‘Religion’ Within the Limits of Reason Alone in Acts of Religion. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Derrida, J. (2001). Above All, No Journalists! In H. de Vries & S. Weber (Eds.), Religion and Media (pp. 56–94). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Derrida, J., & Marion, J.-L. (1999). God, the Gift, and Postmodernism (J. D. Caputo & M. J. Scanlon, Eds.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hammerschlag, S. (2016). Broken Tablets: Levinas, Derrida, and the Literary Afterlife of Religion. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hart, K., & Sherwood, Y. (Eds.). (2004). Derrida and Religion: Other Testaments. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Husserl, E. (2001). Logical Investigations (Vol. 1). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  22. Levinas, E. (1969). Totality and Infinity. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Llewelyn, J. (2008). Margins of Religion: Between Kierkegaard and Derrida. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Mansfield, N. (2006). War and Its Other: Between Bataille and Derrida. Theory & Event, 9, 4.Google Scholar
  25. Mansfield, N. (2007). Under the Black Light: Derrida, War, and Human Rights. Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, 40(2), 151–164.Google Scholar
  26. Mansfield, N. (2010). The God Who Deconstructs Himself: Sovereignty and Subjectivity Between Freud, Bataille, and Derrida. New York: Fordham University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Marion, J.-L. (2002). Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness (J. Kosky, Trans.). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Marion, J.-L. (2018). The Irreducible. The Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory (J. Alvis, Trans.). 17(2): 328–337.Google Scholar
  29. Mccance, D. (2014). Key Thinkers in the Study of Religion: Derrida on Religion: Thinker of Differance. London: Taylor and Francis.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Nass, M. (2008). Derrida from Now On. New York: Fordham University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Nass, M. (2015a). Television and Modernity: Jacques Derrida and the Religion of the Media. Media, Culture and Society, 38(1), 96–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nass, M. (2015b). Violence and Historicity: Derrida’s Early Readings of Heidegger. Research in Phenomenology, 45, 191–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Norris, C. (1987). Derrida. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Raschke, C. (2005). Derrida and the Return of Religion: Religious Theory After Postmodernism. Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, 6, 2, 1–2,16.Google Scholar
  35. Sneller, R. (2005). God as War: Derrida on Divine Violence. In P. Jonkers & R. Welten (Eds.), God in France: Eight Contemporary French Thinkers on God (pp. 143–164). Leuven: Peeters.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ViennaWienAustria

Personalised recommendations