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Mezriss

Derrida on Messianism

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I was wondering if people could point me in the direction of some of Derrida's texts on Messianism. I know he wrote about it in Specters of Marx, but has he written about it in other works? Much thanks.

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Derrida's works actually went in two simultaneous directions that tend to intersect and overlap with one another in the 90's: politics and religion. These two directions were probably most evident in Derrida's 1993 Specters of Marx. This is where Derrida insisted that a deconstructed (or criticized) Marxist thought is still relevant to today's world despite globalization and that a deconstructed Marxism consists in a new messianism, a messianism of a “democracy to come.”

 

But while he never mentions "messianism" per se, the seeds of this idea come out in his 1989 “Force of Law.”

 

In 1996 (it might be 97, I'm not exactly sure) Derrida produced a text on Levinas, “A Word of Welcome,” that lays out the most penetrating logic of the same and other through a discussion of hospitality and messianism.

 

And in his final works on sovereignty, in particular, Rogues (2003), Derrida shows that the law always contains the possibility of suspension, which means that even the most democratic of nations (the United States for example) resembles a “rogue state” or perhaps is the most “roguish” of all states. This was based on lectures first presented during the summer of 1998, L'animal que donc je suis (The Animal that Therefore I am) appeared as the first posthumous work in 2006; concerning animality, it indicates Derrida's continuous interest in the question of life. And all three of these works continue on the idea of the messianism without a messiah, so to speak.

 

Hope that helps.

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