Acts of Religion

Acts of Religion, ed. Gil Anidjar (London: Routledge, 2002).

This collection of Derrida’s essays is entitled Acts of Religion, not “thoughts,” “essays,” or “writings” on religion. It is an appropriate title. These works, selected from Derrida’s oeuvre from 1980 to 2001 by Gil Anidjar of Columbia University, constitute an endeavor to clarify and re-think the terms and critical techniques used in philosophical discussions of religion. As Anidjar puts it in his introduction, they “do not merely constitute an exploration of familiar theologemes,” but rather consist “of a manifold and powerful effort to situate and raise again questions of tradition, faith, and sacredness and their relation to the premises of philosophy and political culture” (3). This effort is a combination of three separate but interrelated “acts”: an act of remembering, an act of looking forward, and an active defense of the ongoing project of linguistic critique itself.

Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies (Fall 2005)