One of the most important thinkers of our time, Jacques Derrida continues to have a profound influence on postmodern thought and society.
Christopher Watkin explains Derrida’s complex philosophy with clarity and precision, showing not only what Derrida says about metaphysics, ethics, politics, and theology but also what assumptions and commitments underlie his positions. He then brings Derrida into conversation with Reformed theology through the lens of John 1:1–18, examining both similarities and differences between Derrida and the Bible.
Learn why Derrida says what he says and how Christians can receive and respond to his writing in a balanced, biblical way that is truly beneficial to cultural engagement.
Christopher Watkin (MPhil, PhD, Jesus College, Cambridge) researches and writes on modern and contemporary French thought, atheism, and religion. He lectures in French studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, blogs at christopherwatkin.com, and can be found on Twitter @DrChrisWatkin.
“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 1:1–18. And if that were not enough, he has done it in just over a hundred pages. Readers who want to know what all the fuss over postmodernity is about would do well to consult this book.”
—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“Philosopher Stanley Fish once declared, ‘Deconstruction is dead in the same way that Freudianism is dead. . . . It is everywhere.’ Christopher Watkin’s remarkable book explains better than any other the nature of Derrida’s program and the reasons for its persistence. Watkin corrects misunderstandings and caricatures. Derrida is easy to dismiss when one takes a few of his thoughts out of context. But a great deal of importance must be highlighted. The author engages in a biblical and Reformed critique, one that ‘hold[s] fast what is good,’ while identifying its evils (1 Thess. 5:21–22). Complete with helpful diagrams, the book is a tour de force. I wish I had possessed it while in graduate school.”
—William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics, Westminster Theological Seminary
“The Reformed community has long sought to stage a dialogue between Jacques Derrida and Karl Barth, but no one before Christopher Watkin has ever considered initiating a dialogue between Derrida and Barth’s Reformed critic Cornelius Van Til. Watkin explains Derrida’s fundamental ideas very clearly; more, he shows Calvinists some things that might be gained if they read Derrida with sympathy. Not least of all, the Bible might disclose more of its meaning.”
—Kevin Hart, Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Christian Studies, University of Virginia