Title: The canon as a working model of creation: Benjamin and Derrida on the possibility of justice in history
Authors: Dickinson, Colby #
Issue Date: 2009
Conference: LEST conference edition:7 location:Leuven, Belgium date:October 2009
Abstract: This paper seeks to illustrate the manner in which the biblical canon can be understood as a working model for comprehending creation within a Judeo-Christian context. The canon, as a foundational element for the Christian tradition specifically, becomes the creative platform from which doctrines and spiritual traditions spring, an ever-renewing well of creation for Christian practice. Through a closer inspection of the processes which lead to the creation of, and which sustain the importance of, the canon of Christian scripture, it can be shown how creation, in its theological-historical unfolding, must be understood in juxtaposition with an eschatological horizon of hope if it is ultimately to promote a sense of justice. Accordingly, the Christian canon, as both a structure and a structuring of creation, must necessarily be rooted in a tension with its eschatological (messianic) elements, for it is these elements which then serve to interrupt the canon’s ability to provide a total representation of its community members. Using the work of Jacques Derrida on the inter-related structures of messianicity and justice (in his Specters of Marx, The Politics of Friendship) in relation to that of Walter Benjamin on violence and historical representation (in his ‘Critique of Violence’, ‘Theses on History’), this paper seeks to present a theological account of the impulses behind the formation of canons (also known as canonicity), which not only mirrors Christian notions of creation, but also serves to strengthen the commitment to a messianic hope of expectation for God’s justice.
Publication status: accepted
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Research Unit Systematic Theology - miscellaneous
# (joint) last author

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