TOWARD A MESSIANIC POSTMODERNISM: DECONSTRUCTION AND RELIGION Deconstruction is a philosophy that emphasizes the productive role of difference, as opposed to the “modern” or Enlightenment predilection for universality and consensus. There are (at least) two different varieties of this philosophy of difference, depending on which of its two nineteenth-century predecessors, Nietzsche or Kierkegaard, one favors, which I call “Dionysian” and “messianic” postmodernism. Most of the objections that are made against postmodernism have in mind the Dionysian version, but they fall wide of the mark of the messianic version. The line of objections raised against postmodernists, relativism, subjectivism, skepticism, anarchism, antinomianism, anti-institutionalism, nihilism, and despair, takes its lead from the highly Nietzscheanized face of the first version of postmodernism. But as regards the second or messianic version, it is false on its face and very likely betrays the critic’s unfamiliarity with the religious and even biblical provenance of a good deal that is going on in deconstruction.

John D. Caputo