is also Derrida's name, the name Shatila, the name of a place that like Moriah, then and today, is a brutal and explosive encounter between the three Abrahamic religions? What if this is indeed the name of the Abrahamic?

"Comment ne pas parler"—a text that is at once "terribly autobiographical" and concerned with exploring and deploying language (at) the sources and resources of negative theology, and with reading its languages—raises the question of "how not to speak." In it, Derrida speaks also of avoidance (évitement). The two questions raised in this title, and rendered more acute in the English translations ("how not to speak" and "how to avoid speaking") are distinct questions, and perhaps they are not questions at all, but there is a difference—one that is perhaps hardly tenable, but a difference nonetheless—between them. Recalling some of J. L. Austin's most difficult but also richest titles, "how not to speak" speaks of something other than avoidance, otherwise than avoidance. If it is the case that there is avoidance in "how not to speak," there is also, as Derrida explains, a speaking, an affirmation of the impossibility not to speak, indeed, an obligation to speak ("Comment ne pas parler, how could one not speak?"). How not to speak would then be neither a question nor an order, or both at the same time, as well as a prayer, a plea and a response to an obligation, an obligation to speak—which may be impossible to fulfill-but without avoidance, perhaps beyond or otherwise than avoidance.

In "How to Avoid Speaking;' Derrida takes great care to distinguish between avoidance, specifically Heidegger's avoidance, and his own (not) speaking. Derrida translates his French title with the English "how to avoid speaking" but takes their difference one step further when he asks about Heidegger's relation to avoidance: "with regard to the traditions and texts [of apophatic theologies] that I have just evoked ... does Heidegger stand in a relation of avoidance? What abyss would this simple word, avoidance, then designate?"84 Thus showing the difficulty of reading the word or the notion of "avoidance," in Heidegger as well as in the Greek and Christian traditions of negative theology, Derrida proceeds to open parentheses again: "(To say nothing, once again, of the mysticisms or theologies in the Jewish, Islamic, or other traditions)" (55). Can this italicized and parenthetical saying nothing, this—perhaps—nonspeaking (which was not spoken when asking the question of Heidegger's avoidance ), this naming of Islam and of an other Abrahamic religion in the language of a third ("chretien latin fr an􀍇ais" says "Circonfession" ), be equated with the "abyss" designated by the word "avoidance"? Can it be said to

84. Jacques Derrida, "How to Avoid Speaking: Denials;" trans. Ken Frieden in Derrida and Negative Theology, ed. Harold Coward and Toby Foshay (Albany: SUNY Press, 1992); hereafter page numbers will be cited parenthetically in the text.