John, a Postmodern Gospel: Introduction to Deconstructive Exegesis Applied to the Fourth Gospel

John, a Postmodern Gospel: Introduction to Deconstructive Exegesis Applied to the Fourth Gospel

John, a Postmodern Gospel: Introduction to Deconstructive Exegesis Applied to the Fourth Gospel

John, a Postmodern Gospel: Introduction to Deconstructive Exegesis Applied to the Fourth Gospel

Synopsis

This study deals with the postmodern philosophy of language as developed mainly by French authors as R. Barthes, J. Derrida and J.-F. Lyotard. The four chapters of the first part are theoretical and relate the literary concepts of postmodernity, poststructuralism and deconstruction to the practice of biblical exegesis. One of the important conclusions is that deconstruction affects both diachronic and synchronic approaches of texts. Each chapter closes with -not suggestions but- implications for a postmodern, deconstructive strategy of reading. The four chapters of the second part apply this postmodern, deconstructive strategy of reading to the Fourth Gospel as a whole (chapter five), to John 6 (chapter six), to John 17 (chapter seven) and to John 21, 24-25 (chapter eight). This deconstructive reading shows the differential and apophatic character of Saint Johns Gospel.

Excerpt

Ce que la déconstruction n'est pas ? mais tout!
Qu'est-ce que la déconstruction? mais rien!

Jacques Derrida'

When, at the end of time, Achilles had almost caught up with the Tortoise, he could not forego the chance to enter into debate with him . 'How long have I been walking behind you?' he asked the Tortoise. Talking was more of a strain than walking, because the speed of his reasoning was the inverse of the fame which he had acquired during his active life on the race course. The Tortoise did not look back and did not answer him either, so Achilles went on:

'The difference between you and me is only minimal now. I will catch up with you, won't I?'

'Dear Achilles,' said the Tortoise, suddenly irritated and speaking in a haughty voice, 'you know that our lord and master, the learned Zeno—the Logos be merciful to his soul—has determined that I will be ahead of you till the end of time.'

'Of course I know that,' said Achilles, who tried to hide his joy that the discussion had finally started, 'but that is totally unbelievable. No one can believe that I will never catch up with you.'

'Do you think so?' answered the Tortoise calmly, 'may I then ask you whether you have ever heard of the phenomenon of deconstruction?'

Achilles tried to look surprised at the Tortoise, but all he could see was his shell.

'Certainly I have heard of that,' he said hesitatingly, because it was not that fresh in his memory, 'but if I remember it correctly, deconstruction is something like this silly race of ours. No one will believe it.' 'What will no one believe?'

'Well,' said Achilles, who suddenly remembered a statement about deconstruction that was similar to one of the paradoxes of his hated master

Derrida 1987a, 392.

In the following dialogue I was inspired by the characters of the famous paradox of
Zeno as they appear in the books of Douglas R. Hofstadter, Gödel, Escher, Bach (1980) and
Metamagical themas (1986).

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