Outside in, inside out: Notes on the Retreating God in Nancy's Deconstruction of Christianity

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According to Jean-Luc Nancy, a deconstruction of Christianity looks for the ‘unthought’ in the christian religion. By this unthought dimension he means ‘something’ in Christianity that at the same time ‘is not Christianity proper’ and ‘has not mingled with it’. It appears to be simultaneously outside and inside Christianity. At the same time, this unthought undermines and ‘exhausts’ Christianity, and it would be this self-exhaustion that would be a key characteristic of Christianity; it follows that a deconstruction of Christianity primarily investigates the way Christianity deconstructs itself. In this article, the thesis is developed that this complex, unthought structure of Christianity expresses Christianity’s modern status, and is expressed in the nucleus of the christian traditions, namely in the ways in which Christianity deals with the name, the experience and the concept of God. This is demonstrated – in dialogue with Nancy’s work – by offering short analyses of the christian doctrines of the Creation and of the Trinity. These analyses show that the christian God ‘incarnates’ in various concrete ways the structure of being outside and inside: outside as well as inside Himself, the world, and even outside and inside Christianity. Shaped by this double bind, the unthought God is always a retreating God.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages16
JournalBijdragen. International Journal in Philosophy and Theology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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