Transcendence in immanence : a conversation with Jacques Derrida on space, time and meaning


This study postulates the existence of a notion of transcendence in immanence in the thought of Jacques Derrida. The deconstruction of, amongst others, Husserlian phenomenology and Saussurean structuralism, affords Derrida the opportunity of presenting a thought of contamination, haunting and impurity, which is a thought of transcendence in immanence. The hypothesis of a notion of transcendence in immanence in Derrida’s thought is refined by specifying it as temporal transcendence in immanence. Accordingly, the intimation of transcendence in immanence does not amount to the ontological acceptance of a separate transcendent realm. On the contrary, what appears is a monism: the infinite finitude of temporality. In conversation with the notion of temporal transcendence in immanence intimated in Derrida’s thought, this study proposes a notion of theological transcendence in immanence. Theological transcendence in immanence is presented as an inflected interpretive performance of salient themes from the tradition of Christian theology prior to the advent of modernity. From this perspective, all being is referred to God and finite creation is deemed to be a contingent, non-necessary participation, at an unquantifiable analogical remove, in the life and being of God. The notions of space, time and meaning that emerge from such a premise are subsequently explored, and brought into conversation with the corresponding notions in Derrida’s work. The study concludes by asking whether the conversation between the notions of temporal and theological transcendence in immanence can in any way be furthered, or whether the two positions should rather be regarded as irreconcilable, that is, as lying separatively transcendent to each other. In response, it is suggested that the notion of transcendence in immanence implies the attempt to relate juxtaposed positions after the fashion of transcendence in immanence. The possibility of temporal transcendence in immanence inhabiting theological transcendence in immanence after the fashion of transcendence in immanence is firstly considered and rejected. Thereupon, the reverse option, namely that of theological transcendence in immanence making use of temporal transcendence in immanence, iii while at the same time transcending it, is considered and judged to be a suitable provisional outcome of the conversation with Derrida.Religious Studies and ArabicD. Litt. et Phil. (Religious Studies

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