Give an account of Derrida On forgiveness and the unforgivable.

Essay by sabby87University, Bachelor's April 2010

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While Derrida is perhaps best known among literary theorists and Continental philosophers, the importance of his work to the question of religion has received growing critical attention. Derrida's writings on religion address and question many of the fundamental concepts that inform the three Abrahamic religions and their cultures. Derrida's writings attempt to rethink the logic of religious difference and elucidate its significance for contemporary culture and society. For the purpose of this essay, Derridas' account of forgiveness and the unforgivable will be discussed. The importance of this question is extreme in today's world. Authors such as Ardent and Jankélévitch propose that some acts are just unforgivable. Derridas answer that the only act to be forgiven is the unforgivable. The topic of Derridas' account of forgiveness and the unforgivable will be discussed in the following essay.

This essay will be divided into three sections and finish with a conclusion. The beginning paragraph will discuss the concept of unconditional and conditional forgiveness in relation to their stem from religious tradition.

It will consider opposing authors views on this issue and Derridas response to these authors. The second section will discourse on the 'elements' and criteria for forgiveness. Caputos' interpretation of Derrida will be considered in this section also. The final section will discuss the issues arising from Derridas' take on forgiveness and his reply to these issues. A conclusion will close the essay and will include a summary of the main points discussed and also any additional findings.


Derrida argues that the tradition from which we inherit our ideas of forgiveness, a tradition he names Abrahamic, "in order to bring together Judaism, the Christianities, and the Islam's," is caught in an equivocation, "Sometimes, forgiveness given by God, or


inspired by divine prescription, must be a gracious gift, without exchange...