Derrida’s philosophy is a tantalizing ghost of Judaism and/or Christianity, and that is no accident. In The Gift of Death, Second Edition & Literature in Secret (Religion and Postmodernism) , he places his work in the tradition of modern philosophy:

What “engenders” the Christian themes that surround the gift, he says, does not at all depend on “the event of a revelation or the revelation of an event.” The possibility of an event, not its actuality, is sufficient to sketch out the skeleton, and this is what “a certain” Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, a certain Heidegger, Levinas, and Marion were all about: All “belong to this tradition that consists of proposing a nondogmatic doublet of dogma, a philosophical and metaphysical doublet, in any case a thinking that ‘repeats’ the possibility of religion without religion.”

And so you get: A messianism without a Messiah, eschatology without an end, gift without Giver, all the places filled with glassy placeholders.

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Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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