Language, exception, messianism: The thematics of Agamben on Derrida

David Fiorovanti


This paper revisits Giorgio Agamben’s text, The Time That Remains, and through a comparative analysis, contrasts the author’s reading of St Paul’s Romans to relevant Derridean thematics prevalent in the text. Specific themes include language, the law, and the subject. I illustrate how Agamben attempts to revitalise the idea of philosophical anthropology by breaking away from the deconstructive approach. Agamben argues that language is an experience but is currently in a state of nihilism. Consequently, the subject has become lost; or, more specifically, the subject and its object have not disappeared in language but through language. The resuscitation of experience is thus required to defeat this condition: only in language does the subject have its site and origin. Unlike deconstruction, which highlights an inherent paradox within a situation unearthing a questionable foundation, Agamben argues that, by investigating the ‘exception,’ one finds neither a norm nor an inherent truth of the situation, but the confusion which surrounds them both.


Giorgio Agamben; Jacques Derrida; Paul

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391