Derrida Today 6 (1):23-35 (2013)

Clayton Crockett
University of Central Arkansas
In his essay ‘The Deconstruction of Christianity’, Jean-Luc Nancy identifies Christianity with the heart of the West, thus following René Girard's claim that Christianity is the religion that exposes the workings of scapegoating and mimetic violence that drive most religions and cultures. However, in On Touching, Derrida distances himself from Nancy's project, and I argue that this is precisely because he is aware that a straightforward embrace of the deconstruction of Christianity is a ruse, as it will end up in a Christian victory that ultimately overcomes deconstruction. The problem, however, is that a simple opposition to Christianity is also insufficient because it gets caught in a similar trap where Christianity ultimately wins (religion will always triumph, as Lacan says). The workings of this ‘trap’ will be explored through a reading of Derrida's essay ‘What is a Relevant Translation?’ and particularly his discussion of Shylock's situation in Merchant of Venice, where Derrida recognizes the ruse of Christianity in its ability to trump Shylock's literal translation of the law, but still he ‘insist[s] on the Christian dimension’. Why? To answer this question this paper turns to another: how do we survive Christianity?
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DOI 10.3366/drt.2013.0050
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On Touching, Jean-Luc Nancy.Jacques Derrida - 2005 - Stanford University Press.

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