Crockett and Malabou
Future of Philosophy and Theology
© Equinox Publishing Ltd 2010.
articulation of it.
The trajectory is usually understood in its vulgar formas progressive, in a more modern way as dialectical, or sometimes, inits postmodern version, following Walter Benjamin, as messianic. ForDerrida in
Specters of Marx
, the messianic refers to a poignant but revolu-tionary hope, “an urgency, imminence but, irreducible paradox, a waiting without horizon of expectation.”
The recent emphasis upon messianicity reects at least in part a strat
-egy to defend Eurocentrism and western culture by linking it temporally with its history, and cutting off any spatial diffusion or contamination of separate cultures, even though scholars and historians know better andhave demonstrated such transmissions in empirical and theoretical stud-ies.
The spirit of Christianity is identied with the spirit of the West,
and even if some of its forms are criticized as dangerous, superstitious,fundamentalist or malevolent, this spirit remains accessible to “us” in theform of time, or can be re-actualized at this time.In the context of the “deconstruction of Christianity,” Christianity as such is seen as a
, both poison and cure. As a cure, in itsoriginary form as expressed by St. Paul, Christianity provides the oppor-tunity for an opening, a universality or a
, beyond the enclosurethat traps western metaphysics in its snare. According to Nancy, theheart of the western tradition is a Christian heart, and “the only currentatheism is one that contemplates the reality of its Christian roots.”
If Christianity is co-extensive with the West, and here Nancy agrees withthe reading of Marcel Gauchet, then Christianity as such, “is in andthrough itself in a state of overcoming,” that is, a state of overcoming Christianity.
The deconstruction of Christianity, then, would be tobring that self-overcoming of Christianity to an end. But would this bethe end of Christianity, and if so, would it also be the triumph of Chris-tianity? Nancy reads the essence of Christianity in terms of Heidegger’s
1. See Marcel Gauchet,
The Disenchantment of the World: A Political History of Religion
,trans. O. Burge (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997).2. Jacques Derrida,
Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning and the New International
, trans. Peggy Kamuf (New York: Routledge, 1994), 168.3. See Mohammed Arkoun,
Islam: To Reform or to Subvert?
(London: Saqi Books,2006), for careful methodological consideration of issues related to this idea that implicateboth Islamic and western scholarship. Arkoun suggests that a conception of “Mediterra-nean space” would help deconstruct the “fundamental polarity of a substantialised Islam onone hand, and on the other (depending on the side of the divide), an ‘enlightened’ or Sata-nized West” (13).4. Jean-Luc Nancy, “The Deconstruction of Christianity,” in
Religion and Media
, ed.Hent de Vries and Samuel Weber (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001), 113. Alsoincluded in
La Déclosion: Déconstruction du christianisme
, I (Paris: Galilée, 2005).5. Ibid., 114.