I don’t know. I mean, I’d like to think so, but it’s not looking good. A few years ago, I was going to write a paper for a class on Pseudo-Dionysius and was going to take a look at the apophatic (negative) theology within in Dionysius’ “Mystical Theology” and compare that to Derrida’s negative theology and implications of that for Emergent. So I bought a few Derrida books (Derrida for Dummies – that kind). I went out to grab a beer with Tony Jones as he gave me a 45-min Derrida 101 introduction. I hung out for a few hours with a Jean-Luc Marion & Derrida scholar who came to hang out with our Dionysius class at Princeton. And I even tried reading Derrida.
And it just didn’t work. A few days into the actual reading of Derrida, I ditched him. Tossed him out, just like that. Dropped him hard.
Since then, I’ve tried to read a bit here and there, but…no luck.
So today, as I was about to go to hear Jim Wallis and Mark Taylor (from Princeton) talk about God’s Politics, I thought perhaps I should check out another session because I’ve heard Wallis before and had a few classes with Taylor. So I flipped through my SBL/AAR Program Book and ran across a session called “Semiotics and Language: Reading Derrida/Thinking Paul.” Derrida! Again! Maybe we’ll be friends this time. And John Caputo, probably THE Derridean scholar, was going to be reading a paper as well.
So I went. Found the room. Sat down. And lasted about 8 minutes. Maybe it was because I entered the room after the paper had already begun. I’m not exactly sure. But the guy was talking about Derrida, and Theodore Jennings’ reading of Derrida and Paul, and law…and gift…and gift economy and obligation, etc., etc.
So I left. Back to hear Wallis and Taylor.
I’m sorry Derrida. Perhaps, one day we will get to hang out…