Difficult Bond. Derrida and Jewishness

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Watchful insomnia can be a nerve-wracking business especially if there is a question to be, if not resolved, then at least confronted; or a decision called for, not despite the famous undecidablity hypothesis, but precisely because of it. Thus it is that finally, casting off the shadows of the night, Jacques Derrida steps into the daylight, in Paris in December 2000, to address directly the question of his Jewishness. Even if his presentation remains marked by the reservations shown in the past, and in particular the casting of affiliation in the self-cancelling terms of its annulment, Derrida nevertheless here lets down his guard in a way he had not done before. And the outcome is remarkable: for the first time he ascribes the aporetic structure of his thinking to a particular propensity for indeterminacy, which he aligns –not with Judaism in any of its doctrinal forms— but with the haunting event of ‘circumcision’ and with his own, somewhat idiosyncratic, experience of being Jewish. As both theme and strategy, ‘circumcision’ has indeed become a trope of tremendous significance in Derrida’s writing as it articulates itself inside the aporia where affiliation is inevitably determined by its own effacement. It epitomizes a difficult double bond which may well have a direct bearing on Derrida’s construal of what it means to think deconstructively.
TidsskriftJewish Quarterly Review
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)385-400
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - 2013


  • Det Humanistiske Fakultet - Jacques Derrida, circumcision, deconstruction, Jewish thought, indeterminacy, cryptogramme, promise

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