Response to Downing: Police at Play

Mea culpa.  How else could I respond to Crystal Downing’s gracious, rightly-critical engagement with The Fall of Interpretation?  In what was a moment of (rather Caputo-an?[1]) flourish, I seem to have blamed an entire discipline for mis-readings of Derrida. And this despite the fact that, as Downing rightly points out, there are plenty of professors of philosophy and religious studies who are equally to blame, and plenty of professors of English who offered astute readings... Read More

The Ghost in The Fall

Unlike Jacques Derrida, who was haunted by specters of Karl Marx, I am haunted by specters of JKA Smith. My first glimpse of Smith’s ghostly presence came in 2005, when an anonymous reader for my soon-to-be published book on postmodernism berated me for never mentioning The Fall of Interpretation. As I checked Smith’s text out of my college library, planning to include it in my last-minute revisions, I noted how well worn it was, as though, like Hamlet’s ghost, it had wandered... Read More

Response to DeRoo: Whose Church? Which Ecclesiology?

I love it that each of my interlocutors has homed in on quite different themes and issues in The Fall of Interpretation.  And as you’ll have guessed, it’s a special treat to engage Neal, one of my star students about whom I regularly brag, taking way more credit than I deserve.  (We also both share a common teacher, Jim Olthuis, whose fingerprints are all over The Fall of Interpretation.)[1] And I love it that Neal has homed in on just the question I think he should be asking... Read More

“I am the Church, you are the Church, we are the Church together…”

I first read The Fall of Interpretation (FoI) in the Fall of 2002. I had learned shortly before the semester had begun that the Philosophy of Language class I had signed up for was going to be taught by a new prof, some young guy who looked like he belonged in an Old Navy catalogue rather than in the Ivory Tower (when all you’ve got to go by is a headshot on the department homepage, you make these kind of characterizations, fair or otherwise). As it turned out, he was a pretty... Read More

Response to Bowald: Sins of Omission

I’m profoundly grateful to these scholars for taking time to carefully, critically, and charitably engage the second edition of The Fall of Interpretation—and in the summer, of all things!  This kind of constructive engagement is a real gift to an author, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to continue the conversation by replying to each. As I’ve come to expect, Mark Bowald has taught me things about myself by bringing my younger self into conversation with my older... Read More