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Document Details :

Title: Outside in, Inside out
Subtitle: Notes on the Retreating God in Nancy's Deconstruction of Christianity
Author(s): TEN KATE, Laurens
Journal: Bijdragen
Volume: 69    Issue: 3   Date: 2008   
Pages: 305-320
DOI: 10.2143/BIJ.69.3.2033145

Abstract :
According to Jean-Luc Nancy, a deconstruction of Christianity looks for the ‘unthought’ in the Christian religion. By this unthought dimension, he means ‘something’ in Christianity that at the same time ‘is not Christianity proper’ and ‘has not mingled with it’. It appears to be simultaneously outside and inside Christianity. This unthought undermines and ‘exhausts’ Christianity, and such self-exhaustion appears to be a key characteristic of Christianity. As a result, a deconstruction of Christianity primarily investigates the way Christianity deconstructs itself. In this article, it is argued that this complex, unthought structure of Christianity (1) expresses Christianity’s modern status, and (2) is expressed in Christianity’s core traditions, i.e. in the ways in which Christianity deals with the name, the experience and the concept of God. In dialogue with Nancy’s work, this is demonstrated by offering short analyses of the Christian doctrines of Creation and the Trinity. These analyses show that the Christian God ‘incarnates’ the structure of being outside and inside in various specific ways: outside as well as inside Himself, the world, and even outside and inside Christianity. Shaped by this double bind, the unthought God is always a retreating God.