perception” (123), which prepares the way for Derrida’s “radical uncertainty of
” (123). The general trajectory, then, is summarized as the following:“Each operates by identifying and dismantling a false apodicity, showing theplay of shadows for what it is, like the prisoners in Plato’s cave who releases theblinkers on the others” (123). The key question that troubles the remainder of the book comes from Mark C. Taylor’s 1992 essay “nO nOt nO” in which heasks “is his [Derrida’s] nonsaying a saying? A denegation?” (123). Rayment-Pickard’s response to this difficult question is to posit a series of responses thatbegin with a consideration of Jacques Derrida as a “negative theologian” (JohnD. Caputo) and ends with the possibility of Derrida as a “Kantian idealist”
Kevin Hart. Between these two theological poles lies, of course, the “khora,”which serves as an impasse, making a conclusive exposition of Derrida’s theol-ogy impossible. This impossibility, however, is an “apophasis of khora,” whichinvites speculation on a “Christological heterology” (163) as well as other figurationsof the multiple that do not compromise the radicality of Derridean anti-theology.This final meditation on the failure of closure/completion and the primordialstatus of the “chiasmus” as the other figure in philosophy offers a careful reasser-tion of the deconstructive principle of indeterminacy. Herein lies the signifi-cance of Rayment-Pickard’s title: Is Derridean “indeterminacy” theology’simpossible God? One could argue, as the author does, that it is.With its clear discussions of Husserl, Heidegger, and Derrida and its reas-sessment of philosophical impossibility through the lens of theology,
is an important addition to current discussions in religious theory.
Victor E. Taylor
Advance Access publication January 9, 2006
York College of Pennsylvania andThe Johns Hopkins University
The Invention of World Religions: Or, How European Universalism WasPreserved in the Language of Pluralism
. By Tomoko Masuzawa. University of Chicago Press, 2005. 359 pages. $19.00.
In this ambitious work on the nineteenth-century science of religionsTomoko Masuzawa makes the “the world religions discourse” part of the criticaltheorist’s anatomy theater (xiv). On the surface the patient might look healthy enough—the inherited talk of ten to twelve world religions no more than anhonest attempt to reckon with the global plurality of faiths. But the anatomistknows better, and the knife will expose the malignancies within the discourse,the hidden racial and imperial presumptions of European universality. Some-times the demonstration proves spectacular, “the current epistemic regime”exposed, if not excised (xii); at other times the exhibition proves painful towatch in its blunt execution.Masuzawa positions her work within the larger turn toward historical analy-sis of the discourses that have shaped the study of religion from the seventeenth