Deconstruction and Hermeneutics: Placing Jacques Derrida and Hans-Georg Gadamer in Non-Dialog (Paper)
The PDF document that I am providing for download is a copy of the paper I wrote for the Th.M. class where we explored the relationship between philosophy and (Christian) theology. I should note that it was a better writing experience than it is a paper. I decided to take on the overwhelming tasks of juxtaposing Hans-Georg Gadamer and his philosophical hermeneutics with Jacques Derrida and “deconstruction”.
What will make this paper frustrated for the reader is that I go back and forth between writing for a novice and writing for someone familiar with the subject. In part, this is likely because I wrote as a novice trying to become more familiar with the subject so there was an evolution in my own thinking over the course of working on this project. Also, as anyone who has studied Gadamer and/or Derrida could have told me, if the paper is going to be around five thousand words just focus on one person. There is no way to give either philosopher sufficient attention at twenty five hundred words a piece.
So now that I have told you why not to read it let me tell you why you may want to read it: the subject is interesting. Gadamer and Derrida met in person in 1981 to discuss this very relationship. Many people are still baffled at the results. I will leave it you to decide on one thing: does reading this paper make you want to know more about either Gadamer or Derrida? If so, I count it a success.
Download here: LePort. Deconstruction and Hermeneutics
A lot of good links over the last couple of days. Here are some of the more interesting.
- PZ Myers points out that Answers in Genesis has been guilty of using history jacking (hijacking your browser history to discern what sites you’ve been visiting) and using that information to categorize visitors. Interestingly, although they have a distinct category for “Christian” users, if you’ve visited creationmuseum.org, joelosteen.com, or beliefnet.com, you get categoriezed as “other.” HT James McGrath and Stuart.
- Mark Galli has a great post on Evangelizing Ourselves: The Gospel is for Christians Too.
Let me suggest, in fact, that whenever we communicate to non-Christians that we have found it and that they have not, that we have been chosen and that they have not, that we are the apple of God’s eye and that they are not—whenever we assume that stance, consciously or not, we are communicating something other than the gospel, the Good News.
- Kevin DeYoung has a very helpful post on The New Testament’s Use of Old Testament Prophecy. Summarizing Doug Moo, he offers six principles and two important questions to keep in mind.
Sometimes with good apologetic and evangelistic motives we will point to all the OT prophecies about Christ and then run down a list of all the NT fulfillments. There is truth here, but if we set things up as “here’s the prediction; here’s the prediction come true” we are bound to confuse people. We may even cause people to doubt the prophetic witness rather than trust it.
- In “This is not my father’s Pentecostalism!“, Roger Olson reflects on the shift from the anti-intellectualism of his early Pentecostal background to the Pentecostals of today.
These Pentecostals are widely read in biblical and theological studies, immersed in the latest trends in missiology, even leading the way in some areas of theological reflection such as the Holy Spirit and world religions.
- Daniel Kirk has posted his SBL paper: “Toward a Theory of Narrative Transformation: The Importance of Both Contexts in Paul’s Scriptural Citations“
Our attempts to read Paul, in other words, will come up short to the extent that we either (a) neglect the narrative flow within which the cited verse occurs in its original OT context, or (b) allow that OT context to be entirely determinative for what the verse means in Paul.
Today, the monastery is a vibrant stronghold of traditional Ethiopian Orthodox monasticism. And at first glance, it even seems impervious to modern Ethiopia’s fast-changing society. But it, as do all facets of Ethiopia’s monastic culture, confronts new realities and an uncertain future.
- Brian LePort continues his discussion of Derrida, deconstruction, and postmodernism with a post on Interpreting Derrida: Deconstruction. (You can see a list of his other posts here.)
- Bible and Interpretation has a fine essay on the Tel Hazor Excavations: Highlights from Recent Seasons. HT Jim West
- Patheos is hosting a discussion of Revelation of the Magi: The Lost Tale of the Wise Men’s Journey to Bethlehem (HarperOne, 2010), which deals with an ancient syriac tradition regarding the three wise men.
- James K.A. Smith announces that Brazos is giving away a copy of his Letters to a Young Calvinist. XSM2B7AG8BTA
For the last couple of days we’ve been discussing Jacques Derrida and his significance for biblical interpretation and Christian theology. And, I wanted to make sure you were aware of a series of posts that Brian LePort has been doing on the same subject. Make sure you check them out:
- Is Deconstruction Merely Parasitic?
- Derrida “Defining” Deconstruction
- Interpreting Derrida: “There Is No Outside the Text”
And, he’s also posted a short review of James K.A. Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Postmondernsim.