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Religions 2019, 10(1), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010022

The Marrano God: Abstraction, Messianicity, and Retreat in Derrida’s “Faith and Knowledge”

Department of Theology and Religious Studies, the University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 8 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 29 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Marrano Phenomenon. Jewish ‘Hidden Tradition’ and Modernity)
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Abstract

This article conducts a close reading of Derrida’s 1994 essay, “Faith and Knowledge”, devoted to the analysis of what Hegel called ‘the religion of modern times’. The reference to Hegel’s “Glauben und Wissen” is crucial here, since my reading is meant to offer a supplement to Michael Naas’ commentary on “Faith and Knowledge”, Miracle and Machine, in which Naas states that he is not going to pursue the connection between Derrida and Hegel. It was, however, Hegel who defined the ‘modern religious sentiment’ in terms of the ‘religion of the death of God’, and this definition constitutes Derrida’s point of departure. Derrida agrees with Hegel’s diagnosis, but is also critical of its Protestant–Lutheran interpretation, which founds modern religiosity on the ‘memory of the Passion’, and attempts a different reading of the ‘death of God’ motif as the ‘divine retreat’, pointing to a non-normative ‘Marrano’ kind of faith that stakes on the alternative ‘memory of the Passover’. The apparent visibility of the ‘returning religion’ Derrida witnesses at the beginning of the 90s hides for him a new dimension of the ‘original faith’, which Derrida associates with the universal messianic justice and which he ascribes to the paradoxical position of the Marranos: the secret followers of the God ‘in retreat’. View Full-Text
Keywords: Derrida; Hegel; Marranos; Faith and Knowledge; messianism; universalism Derrida; Hegel; Marranos; Faith and Knowledge; messianism; universalism
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Bielik-Robson, A. The Marrano God: Abstraction, Messianicity, and Retreat in Derrida’s “Faith and Knowledge”. Religions 2019, 10, 22.

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