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:: St. Stephen's Musings

:: Wednesday, October 13, 2004 ::

So Called Liberative Reading Practices: More on Derrida

Jacques Derrida's death has been greeted by literary critics and philosophers as a great loss. Others wonder, based on Derrida's philosophy, if he died in the first place:

"We can't even state that he ever did exist, since he may have been a mere metaphysical projection of our own prejudices against absolutes....."

Clever. Anyway, I thought the essay by R.R. Reno who reviewed Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart's new masterpiece, "The Beauty of the Infinite" was apropos:

"Hart makes the following observation about Jacques Derrida's treatment of classical Christian figures such as John Chrysostom: 'He does not pay a moment's attention to what theology says, but simply imposes upon it his tidy set of binary opposition.'"

This quote was particularly amusing having just come back from my literary criticism and theory class the other day where the Deconstructionist glee at breaking down all the "binary opposites" they can get their sticky hands on was rivaled by their trumpeting Derrida's vision as the greatest philosophical tool since the Socratic method and Derrida the man as the most profound intellectual since Karl Marx.

Well, the sentiment expressed wasn't quite that egregious. But you know what I mean. Reno continues:

"The assessment is immediately and crushingly true, not only of Derrida, but of his generation. Aging postmodern intellectuals do not read texts, nor do they attend to the subtle, nuanced textures of life. They use texts as occasions for what they imagine to be 'liberative reading practices.' All recalcitrant particularity is overawed by the sublime truths of Theory."

Sadly, as my peers in class are trying to prove, it isn't just the aging Boomers who are dazzled by this worldview. Overawed is right.

:: Karl :: 7:24:00 AM [Link] ::

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