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Extra info for Derrida, Africa, and the Middle East

Sample text

This is also why images cannot be fashioned of the prophets, and why mosques are adorned with calligraphy from the Quran, but not images of Muhammad, Jesus, Moses, and other important figures. Later, Protestant reformers restore the second commandment in opposition to the Christian orthodoxy, which is also why the sanctuaries of Protestant churches tend to be plainer than Catholic and Orthodox churches. Paul’s reasons for eschewing the veil are similar to the Catholic church’s reasons for eliminating the second commandment: Jesus is God, and humanity now knows what God looks like.

The heart [is] . . wherever you save real treasure, that which is not visible on earth, that whose capital accumulates beyond the economy of the terrestrial visible or sensible . ” (The Gift of Death 98). In Specters of Marx, Derrida would like his readers to believe that he offers a political alternative that is more materialist than Marx’s; that is, if Marx finally succumbs to a “Greco-Christian” ontology, Derrida insists that the maternal debt that constitutes spirit remains real but invisible; it is also real but inaudible when manifest as specter, or the silent word for the eyes.

From this fluid comes silk, a substance from which beautiful fabrics can be woven. Derrida speaks of a childhood experience during which he collected silkworms (Veils 87–91). Against Platonic, Aristotlean, and Pauline metaphors, Derrida therefore poses the metaphor of the silkworm as a feminine penis that emits a feminine semen, seed, or bodily fluid. Derrida deconstructs Platonized and Pauline conceptions of the Logos, weighing against them the notion of a feminine word-seed. However, Derrida claims that he does not seek to create a new female-centered hierarchy, or champion the phallic mother against the Logos-wielding man, but to move beyond binary thinking altogether, to the extent that this is possible.

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