Chôra: Tracing the Presence

Nicoletta Isar

Abstract


Challenging the scholarship of the chôra, and what has been thought to be a space of absence and différance that cannot reach presence – an idea advocated by Jacques Derrida – John Sallis takes an important turn in his chorology and explores the possibility of manifestation of chôra. Unlike Derrida, for whom “il y a khôra” (there is chôra), Sallis keeps the definite article (the chôra) as an index of certain differentiation in chôra. This article takes as a point of departure Sallis’ thesis regarding the manifestation of the chôra, grounded in the manner in which the chôra is apprehended, that is, as in a dream. Sallis’ interpretation opens up the possibility for a new reading of the dialogue, and offers a tool to examine phenomena occurred in the aftermath of the Platonic cosmogony. One of the most fascinating episodes of the afterlife of the Platonic chôra is the Byzantine chôra, presented in the article as a chorographic performative inscription in the visible, where the iconic inscription/graphê is instrumental in revealing the sacrosanct presence of the Incarnation. Finally, in trying to assess the manifestation of the presence of chôra, the article takes into account the obscure phenomenon of the “replication of the chôra” in the human body. This I will call the “hepatic inscription” of the presence of chôra. A brief assessment will be made around the mantic subjects (the seers), apparently the only human subjects having access to some hidden truth and intimation with the presence of the chôra through divination or inspirational creation.

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Review of European Studies   ISSN 1918-7173 (Print)   ISSN 1918-7181 (Online)

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