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Book: Critical Theory and Early Christianity

Chapter: 10. Christianity Appears First, As Itself

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.30154


In this article, Bruce Worthington applies Alain Badiou’s theory of the event to account for the emergence of early Christianity as a distinct political body within a cultural set. The article rejects the idea that Christianity authorizes itself on the basis of 4th century institutional creeds or ecumenical conferences; instead suggesting that early Christianity—like all radical groups—emerges rather quickly, in relationship to an event that has happened. The article highlights, at greater detail, Badiou’s notion of the “evental site” and what this might mean for early Christian historiography, reintroducing the link between events and subjectivity in the study of Christian Origins. The article concludes by suggesting that, of course, there is great diversity in early Christian subjectivity; but this diversity is related to an event (Jesus’ death and resurrection) that serves as an organizing principle in early Christian historiography.

Chapter Contributors

  • Bruce Worthington ( - worthib) 'McMaster Divinity College'