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Saint John's Apothecary: Differance, Textuality, and the Advent of Meaning

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image of Biblical Interpretation

The Book of Revelation can be analyzed in much the same terms as those used by Jacques Derrida to deconstruct the Phaedrus in "Plato's Pharmacy." The Apocalypse is read as polemicizing against the written word (the mark of the Beast) on behalf of the Living Word whose Parousia (Presence) will sweep away every signifier so that the Transcendental Signified may be seen face to face. And yet it may be read as subverting this very polemic by virtue of its own inescapable textuality. This textuality is deemed so sacrosanct that any would-be redactor is threatened with damnation, and once one deconstructs it, its illusion of Present Truth is dispelled and deferred. Precisely as in the Phaedrus, writing is the pharmakon, both the hated poison and the needful remedy: it substitutes for the desired Presence/Parousia while pretending to convey it. The same potent potion is dispensed from both Plato's Pharmacy and St. John's Apothecary.

Affiliations: 1: Bloomfield, New Jersey

10.1163/156851598X00246
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1998-01-01
2016-12-11

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