Tuesday, March 01, 2005

c'est finis

Deconstruction started in the field of literary criticism. Looks like it may have ended there as well. (My condolences to those who have recently adjusted their theological claims to accomodate it.)

When George Steiner, who not only at age twelve could recite the Iliad and the Odyssey by memory (in Greek), but who according to the New York Review of books has "perhaps read more widely in cognate fields than anyone else alive," asserts that "any coherent understanding of what language is and how language performs must finally be underwritten by the assumption of God's presence" (p. 3), then things have definitely changed.

In a brilliant review of Real Presences, Ronald Sharp writes the following:
"Unlike most other critics of deconstruction, Steiner faces up to its darkest implication without flinching. If he comes out on the other side, it is because he has passed through its corroding fires rather than circumventing them.

'On its own terms and planes of argument,' Steiner says, 'the challenge of deconstruction does seem to me irrefutable'(132). What is required, he suggests, is a recourse no less radical than that of deconstruction: a leap of faith, a 'wager of transcendence'"(214).
And here's the kicker - Real Presences was written over ten years ago. Isn't it about time Christians started catching up... again?

Or better yet, let's stop playing catch-up in the first place. We should not have needed a George Steiner to pull us out of the deconstructionist pit in the first place - we should never have gotten in.