Derrida and Negative Theology

Harold G. Coward and Tobey Foshay (eds), Derrida and Negative Theology (Albany: SUNY Press, 1992).

This book explores the thought of Jacques Derrida as it relates to the tradition of apophatic thought — negative theology and philosophy — in both Western and Eastern traditions. Following the Introduction by Toby Foshay, two of Derrida’s essays on negative theology, Of an Apocalyptic Tone Newly Adopted in Philosophy and How to Avoid Speaking: Denials, are reprinted here. These are followed by essays from a Western perspective by Mark C. Taylor and Michel Despland, and essays from an Eastern perspective by David Loy, a Buddhist, and Harold Coward, a Hindu. In the Conclusion, Jacques Derrida responds to these discussions.


“So we could say that, rather than measuring deconstruction as a negative theology, we are attempting to gauge the degree to which the modern in its negativity is prefigured by the classical tradition in its own characteristic search for autonomy, to better appreciate the genealogy and disjunction of our era.”

SUNY Press