Christian thinkers and writers who address Jacques Derrida’s philosophy face two potential pitfalls. One is to recast Christianity in an ill-fitting Derridean mold; the other is to ascribe to Derrida objectionable positions that bear little relation to his writing.
To avoid these hazards, Christopher Watkin, a scholar of French literature and philosophy, walks in Derrida’s shoes through the landscape of recent thought and culture, seeking to understand the rationale for Derrida’s philosophical moves in light of his assumptions and commitments in philosophy, literature, ethics, and politics. He then sets these assumptions in the wider context of God’s nature and purposes in history, providing biblical critique.
Learn why Derrida says what he does and how Christians can receive and respond to his writing in a balanced, biblical way that is truly beneficial.
The latest P&R catalog also sports an enthusiastic endorsement from Kevin Vanhoozer:
Chris Watkin has done what I thought was impossible. He has explained Derrida’s deconstruction with lucidity, brevity, and charity. Not only that: he has imagined what it would be like for Cornelius Van Til to go toe-to-toe with Derrida in a discussion about language, logic, and the logos made flesh, all of which figure prominently in John 1:1–14. And, if that were not enough, he has done it in less than a hundred pages. Readers who want to know what all the fuss over postmodernity is about would do well to consult this book. This is an excellent beginning to this new Great Thinker series.
The volume is due for release at the end of November. It is currently available for pre-order at Amazon and elsewhere.
Perhaps most interesting—and potentially disturbing—is the dearth of Old Testament references among the 100 most-cited verses. This raises the question of whether the Old Testament is necessary for Christian theology, and whether it should be included in systematic theology more often.
Is such a strong preference for the same key verses, especially those in the New Testament, a problem in systematic theology? CT asked experts to weigh in.
There then follows a paragraph each from Kevin Vanhoozer, Craig Keener, John Stackhause, Michael Bird, Michael Allen, and William Dyrness.
What is immediately striking to me is the frequency of Old Testament references. Systematic theologies had nine OT references in the top 100. In Biblical theologies, seven of the top ten references are from the Old Testament, and 29 of the top 100.
Twenty-nine is markedly larger than nine. But, the still-substantial slant to the New Testament perhaps suggests a tendency to do primarily “New Testament biblical theology” in practice, if not always in title. As a balancing resource, perhaps we need a new sub-publishing genre of “Old Testament biblical theology”?