[lit-ideas] Re: The difference between speech and text -- & deconstruction

  • From: Phil Enns <phil.enns@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Lit-Ideas@Freelists. Org" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 27 Aug 2013 09:20:27 +0600

Lawrence wrote:

"What especially bothers me about this review (and possibly Peeters’
biography) is that Bultmann created a correlative theory (also based upon
Heidegger) *Demythologizing *Scripture.  The term “deconstruction” would
also fit what Bultmann did – but possibly only in the misunderstood sense
that we Americans understand it."

I can't speak to how Americans understand the concept, 'deconstruction',
but I don't see Bultmann engaged in deconstruction, at least as Derrida
described it. Bultmann's demythologizing aimed at stripping away the
mythological elements of the Biblical text in order to arrive at historical
and existential truths. For Derrida, deconstruction was an act of critical
thinking that undermined the claim that there were core or central truths
in texts, cultures, etc. that could be uncovered. The text which is often
identified with Derrida's turn to deconstruction is 'Structure, Sign and
Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences', which was Derrida's
deconstruction of Levi-Strauss. 'Structure, Sign and Play' was based on a
lecture given at a conference on structuralism at Johns Hopkins in 1966,
well before the culture wars of the 1980s. It seems to me that Derrida's
attraction, both to followers and detractors, lay in his being so obscure,
and therefore convenient, for whatever agenda was at hand.


Phil Enns

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