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Critical Theory and Early Christianity

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This volume aims to create—in Walter Benjamin’s terms—dialectical images from early Christian texts and the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It blasts the past and the present into one another, creating new constellations of thought, ones connected with tensions and mediated by theory (mediation being what Theodor Adorno adds to Benjamin’s concept of the dialectical image). Our ancient images derive from the Gospels, the Apostle Paul, Revelation, Irenaeus, Origen, and Augustine. Our modern images and theories derive from Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, and Judith Butler. Together these images and theories challenge the way we think about gentrification, progress, early Christianity, revolutionary movements, history, the body of Christ, canonicity, language, gender, and bodies, both human and non-human.

Eleven international scholars contribute to this volume. These scholars are experts in the fields of Biblical Studies, Early Christian Studies, Philosophy, and Critical Theory.

Published: Oct 28, 2022


Section Chapter Authors
Dialectical Images and Critical Theory Matthew Whitlock
Chapter 1
Introduction: Making Early Christian Texts Strange (Again) Matthew Whitlock
Part I Walter Benjamin
2. Walter Benjamin and Early Christian Texts Matthew Whitlock
3. Reading, Libraries, and Urban Change in the Shadow of Capitalism and Apocalypse: Reading Walter Benjamin and John of Patmos Robert Seesengood
4. “On the Concept of History”: St. Augustine and Walter Benjamin Carl Levensen
Part II Gilles Deleuze
5. Gilles Deleuze and Early Christian Texts Matthew Whitlock
6. The Deleuzioguattarian Body of Christ without Organs Bradley McLean
7. The Many Acts of the Apostles: Simulacra and Simulation Matthew Whitlock, Philip Tite
8. Face-ing the Nations: Becoming a Majority Empire of God - Reterritorialization, Language, and Imperial Racism in Revelation 7:9-17 Sharon Jacob
Part III Alain Badiou
9. Alain Badiou and Early Christian Texts Matthew Whitlock
10. Christianity Appears First, as Itself Bruce Worthington
11. Towards a Vulgar Marxist Reading of Christian Origins Today James Crossley
12. Recapitulating the Event: Reading Irenaeus with Badiou Hollis Phelps
Part IV Judith Butler
13. Judith Butler and Early Christian Texts Matthew Whitlock
14. Paul Exposed: Reading Galatians with Judith Butler Valérie Nicolet
15. Mattering Bodies: Animacy and Justice in Origen’s On First Principles Peter Mena
End Matter
Index of Biblical References Matthew Whitlock
Index of Classical References and Authors Matthew Whitlock
Index of Early Christian Writings Matthew Whitlock
Index of Jewish Writings Matthew Whitlock
Index of Modern Authors Matthew Whitlock
Index of Subjects Matthew Whitlock