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Book: Critical Theory and Early Christianity

Chapter: 6. The Deleuzioguattarian Body of Christ without Organs

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.30150


This article argues that each Pauline Christ group can be interpreted as a Deleuzoguattarian ‘body of Christ without organs,’ which is to say, as a self-organizing system, without reference to a transcendental plane (1 Cor 12:27, Rom 12:4-5). While this body of Christ did indeed possess organs (Christ followers), the connections between them and Christ, and between them and the ‘organs’ (or ‘desiring-machines’) of other bodies, were just as significant as the connections between the ‘organs’ themselves. Scholars can better understand the dynamics of the historical emergence of Christ groups by investigating what ‘desiring-machines’ the first Christ groups were plugged into, and what symptoms were produced in them by being plugged into other desiring-machines. Such an analysis requires an appreciation of the three stages of the emergence of a ‘body without organs’: namely, 1) connective synthesis, 2) disjunctive synthesis, and finally 3) a conjunctive synthesis. Taken together, these three passive syntheses, which form a body without organs, provide a functional analytic for theorizing the emergence of early Christianity in the first century CE.

Chapter Contributors

  • Bradley McLean ( - bmclean) 'University of Toronto'