Apostrophic Desire and Parousia in the Apostle Paul's Epistles: A Derridean Proposal for Textual Interpretation

In: Biblical Interpretation
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Paul's correspondence encounters the vicissitudes of a postal system that sets in motion several forms of differential experience between addressor and addressee. In Paul's epistles, desire for his own parousia (coming/presence) is given more prominence than the parousia of Christ. This desire is inscribed in the tension between absence and presence to his congregations in his letters, which in turn generates several spectral factors in Paul's assertions of presence, authority, and paternity. Derrida's earlier work on issues of speech vs. writing and presence vs. absence (which continue to be implicit in later works, especially in the variegated performances of iterability), are pertinent to these issues in Paul. What readings could emerge then, if Pauline correspondence is read through a Derridean prism? Does a "Derridean proposal" that, writing "writes itself" out of desire for arrival at a destination yet to come, have value for elucidating an "authority of the text"? This article is a performative engagement with such questions.

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