Cover of Reading Derrida / Thinking Paul by Theodore W. Jennings, Jr.
Reading Derrida / Thinking Paul
On Justice
Theodore W. Jennings, Jr.


240 pages.
from $25.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804752671
Paperback ISBN: 9780804752688


Excerpts and More

This book explores the interweaving of several of Derrida’s characteristic concerns with themes that Paul explores in Romans. It argues that the central concern of Romans is with the question of justice, a justice that must be thought outside of law on the basis of grace or gift. The many perplexities that arise from thus trying to think justice outside of law are clarified by reading Derrida on such themes as justice and law, gift and exchange, duty and debt, hospitality, cosmopolitanism, and pardon.

This interweaving of Paul and Derrida shows that Paul may be read as a thinker who wrestles with real problems that are of concern to anyone who thinks. It also shows that Derrida, far from being the enemy of theological reflection, is himself a necessary companion to the thinking of the biblical theologian. Against the grain of what passes for common wisdom this book argues that both Derrida and Paul are indispensable guides to a new way of thinking about justice.

About the author

Theodore W. Jennings, Jr., is Professor of Biblical and Constructive Theology at the Chicago Theological Seminary. He is the author, most recently, of The Insurrection of the Crucified (2003) and The Man Jesus Loved (2003).

"This remarkably fine book is timely and provocative. It is also one of a kind: a book that advances detailed exegesis of the New Testament, above all Paul's Letter to the Romans, by drawing deeply on Derrida's reflections concerned with justice and law, gift or grace, debt, duty, love, hospitality, and forgiveness."

—Peggy Kamuf, University of Southern California

"Reading Derrida/Thinking Paul: On Justice yields new insights into the ethical and political stakes of Derrida's writings. Jennings shows Derrida and Paul to share a passion for justice and for thinking through the aporias justice's pursuit entails. Jennings' chapters skillfully juxtapose Paul and Derrida on law, violence, gift, faith, hospitality, and pardon. A book-length study of Derrida in relation to Paul is long overdue, and, after reading Jennings' text, reconsidering Derrida's and Paul's implications for contemporary dilemmas of justice becomes a must."

—Robert S. Oventile, Pasadena City College

"A book-length study of Derrida in relation to Paul is overdue, and Reading Derrrida/Thinking Paul: On Justice offers readers of Derrida many new insights."

Postmodern Culture