The Divinanimality of the Logos and the Curse of Human Uniqueness

by Eric Daryl Meyer

I’ve been working today, editing my essay for the Divinanimality volume, coming out later this year through Fordham University Press. Here is a favorite paragraph from the essay—one of the most explicitly theological paragraphs I’ve written in years. In context, I’m making an argument for rethinking the significance of the Incarnation for thinking about the human-animal distinction:

On this understanding, the Logos of God is no longer the Master Signifier, the keystone that anchors the logos of self-reflective human thought and speech in a stable economy of meaning. Instead, relative to the logos of humanity, the Logos of God is negatively transcendent. God’s Logos is the charged silence over which humanity finds itself interminably babbling. The logos of humanity can find no entryway into the Logos of God; it tries to speak its way over a communicative abyss rather than being immersed in the silence of divinanimality. The unsettling eyes of animals—whose gazes have so little regard for human discourse—are unsettling not because they lack meaning but because they convey an excess of meaning that cannot be borne in language; they are icons of the mystery of the zōē of God. The living silence of the divinanimal Logos offers (or threatens) to swallow whole the logos of humanity—and no one can guess what kind of new zōē might emerge from this end

The paragraph and the paper in which it lives grew out of this post from a few years ago (see mom, blogging is good for something!). One of the broader contributions that I hope to make through the essay is the argument that despite their many differenced and disagreements, Derrida’s and Agamben’s texts on animality and politics are not only mutually illuminating, but have a kind of convergence. So, it’s an effort to read The Open and Homo Sacer alongside The Animal that Therefore I am and The Beast and the Sovereign—all in the context of John’s prologue.