Friday, October 28, 2005

Further Prologue to a discussion

The problem of hospitality (and you will soon see they are all one problem) is the problem of ecclesiology is the problem of soteriology, is the problem of theology and so of Christianity.

Why? Partly, because of the centrality of confession to the Christian kerygma:

Confession does not consist in making known--and thereby it teaches that teaching as the transmission of positive knowledge is not essential. The avowal does not belong in essence to the order of cognitive determination; it is quasi-apophatic in this regard. It has nothing to do with knowledge--with knowledge as such. As act of charity, love, and friendship in Christ, the avowal is destined to God and to creatures, to the Father and to the brothers in order to "stir up" love, to augment an affect, love, among them, among us. And so that we give thanks to God and pray to him for us in greater numbers. For Augustine does not respond only to the question: Why do I confess you you, God, who know all in advance? Augustine speaks of "doing the truth", which does not come down to revealing, unveiling, nor to informing in the order of cognitive reason. Perhaps it comes down to testifying.
Jacques Derrida, "Sauf le nom," On the Name, tr. David Wood, John P. Leavey, Jr., and Ian McLeod (Stanford, California: Stanford University Press 1995), p. 329

And then there is the question of negative theology, the via negativa, which is central to all discussions of theology, for as even Augustine said: "God is wise without wisdom, good without goodness, powerful without power." Derrida, p. 38. And so we have to have in hand the idea of the khora, "the body without body, absent body but unique body and place, in lieu of everything, in the place of everything, interval, place, spacing....Khora is over there but more 'here' than any 'here' ....." (Derrida, p. 56):

You know well that, in nearly all its Greek, Christian, or Jewish networks, the via negativa conjugates reference to God, the name of God, with the experience of place. The desert is also a figure of the pure place.
(Derrida, p. 56)

I actually meant to include a clarification of the phrases "Church of Meaning and Belonging" and "Church of Sacrifice for Meaning and Belonging," but find I don't have time to recover the book I take it from, so that will have to wait. So this will have to serve, for the moment, as a further prologue to the discussion.

But let me note that khora is a place that is not a place, which Derrida puts as the experience of the via negativa (the negative way; way? to where?), and Derrida notes the desert is the figure of the pure place. The place of the desert in the Scriptures should not be overlooked, nor the importance of place to hospitality.

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