Religious Studies and Theology, Vol 39, No 2 (2020)

Theology Giving Back: A (De)constructive Reading of Jacques Derrida's Philosophy of the Gift

Jean-Pierre Fortin
Issued Date: 19 Aug 2020


This essay lays foundations for a postmodern theology of donation by supplementing Derrida’s philosophy of the gift with Milbank’s theology of reciprocal exchange and Balthasar’s Trinitarian kenotic theology. Derrida’s philosophy of the gift provides normative criteria for the experience of transcendence within human conscious awareness. Milbank nuances Derrida’s unidirectional notion of the gift by demonstrating the asymmetrical and open-ended character of human interactions. Balthasar’s kenotic theology fleshes out Milbank’s communal understanding of donation. Jesus Christ embodies the gift, empowering human beings to bear witness before God and one another as a community able to give and receive unconditional love.

DOI: 10.1558/rsth.41399


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