Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

A genealogy of monotheism: Of secrets, substitutes and supplements

Nolton, Marnie AnneORCID: 0000-0002-9375-1123 (2019) A genealogy of monotheism: Of secrets, substitutes and supplements. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

PDF - Whole Thesis
Download (2MB) | Preview


Jacques Derrida has noted of God that “God contradicts himself already ... only that which is written gives … [God] … existence by naming … [God]. It is simultaneously true that things come into existence and lose existence by being named” (Derrida 1978a: 70). Naming God can lose God. This is a significant insight for examinations of monotheism, drawing attention to its irrecusable contradictions, paradoxes and constitutive aporias. The significance of this insight is heightened when a second recognition is made regarding monotheism’s own discursive practices of exclusion and displacement, practices that are conventionally based on and legitimated by a narrative of presence. Together these points act to frame this dissertation insofar as they open the question as to their possible reconciliation.

In this dissertation, then, I argue that Derrida’s deconstructive notion of supplementarity can support a genealogical analysis of this problematic informing traditional conceptions of God as the One and Only. God and monotheism – as I will demonstrate – are irrecusably haunted by their supplementarity. Hence, in this dissertation, via a genealogical analysis and close textual readings, I trace the supplementarity already present in the Hebrew Bible as well as in the theo-political, historical, theological and philosophical discourses that underpin and comprise the problematic of monotheism. Following Foucault’s and Derrida’s insights that analysis also facilitates a rethinking or an experiment, I conclude this work by sketching the outlines toward what could be called a deconstructed ethical monotheism. I name this thinking stance towards reconciliation of a One and Only thinking – a return to exile.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor(s): Trees, Kathryn and Trotter, James
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year