In The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida: Religion without Religion (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion) (174), John Caputo sums up Derrida’s claim that textuality is a matter of faith:

“A text is but a misty, ephemeral, spectral thing, an event ( evenement ) with a kind of merely mystical force that seems to sustain it above an abyss. That is to say, a text is a matter of faith, of credit, and of the credence we give to traces and to the conventions that surround, maintain, and constitute them, that keep their play in play, which thereby links economics, religion, and literature, all of which are kept from dissipating into thin air by some sort of religio-mystical force.”

Derrida warns the unbeliever that his unbelief ends up sacrificing economics and literature as well as religion. As Caputo puts it, “If with your right hand you renounce religious superstition, you had better find a way not to let it know that with your left hand you participate in literary and economic practices.”

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Articles by Peter J. Leithart