Postmodern Theology: An Outdated Survey

Postmodern Theology

Žižek, Badiou, Caputo and Eagleton

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In recent decades there has been a surge in both deconstruction-and-religion and secular Christologies. The premise of the following piece is that both of these areas of study have significant insight to offer, but are incomplete without the other. Where deconstruction-and-religion offers a Derridean understanding of a postmodern Christ, the secular interest in Paul (Badiou, Agamben, Žižek) offers an understanding of truth in an age of fragmentation. In order to move beyond the deconstructive Christology as proposed by John Caputo, and the secular interest in Paul, to a more holistic, we must attempt the difficult task of constructing a more cohesive postmodern theology. The following will attempt to provide a ground from which to work on this task, while not presuming to offer any new or original insight. While making this move, the fundamentalism and the foundationalism of previous modern theologies must be stripped away in order to see a more robust postmodern theology that can hold up under the demands of contemporary thought. The following will attempt to (a) move beyond the traditional interpretations of salvation, (b) re-explore Christ’s human and divine natures, and (c) to propose a manner in which to transcend the name of God. This Christology is built upon two major premises which are as follows: (1) God possesses and is beyond both the properties of being (persona) and event (occurrence) and, (2) Christ is the universalize-able finite transport of both the being and the event of God.

The following theology (and Christology) is a generous reading of four philosophers which many would consider to be ‘postmodern’: Slavoj Žižek, Terry Eagleton, Alain Badiou and John Caputo. These four thinkers will form the backbone of the following constructive exercise and an effort will be made to distinguish between what the thinkers themselves write about Christ and what is being constructed. Section 1 will outline the similarities existing between Žižek and Eagleton so far as they inform a demythologized theology of the Being of God. Section 2 will deal with the relationship between Caputo and Zizek and their respective creation narratives. Section 3 will examine Badiou and Caputo’s philosophical theology of the event, and lastly, section 4 will deal with Caputo and Zizek and the non-dichotomized nature of the Being of God.

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Reflections on Anabaptist Mennonite Systematic Theology

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After reading the second section of A. James Reimer’s Mennonites and Classical Theology for a class this past term, and after discussing the theme of Anabaptist Mennonite systematic theology, I feel compelled to reflect on the topic in more detail. My intent in the following is to critically engage with the idea of an Anabaptist Mennonite systematic theology (particularly Reimer) in such a way that may raise more questions than it answers. In this way it is more of a general reflection than an in-depth scholarly essay, although I hope to use the themes and directions present in it in the future.

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Dialectics Unbound (Coming Soon)

It’s been a while since I have posted here, and the last post I made was for my thesis Dialectics Unbound. The thesis is now in the exciting process of becoming a book, and should be out in the next few months with Punctum Books in the Dead Letter Office Series.

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Here’s a description of the book:

Dialectics Unbound re-imagines figures of ontological totality, in and out of writing, first by exploring some lineages of the dialectic, and second by engaging thinkers such as Theodor Adorno and his assertion of nonidentity, Julia Kristeva and her positing of a fourth term of the dialectic, and Fredric Jameson’s treatment of the dialectic as an open totality. By articulating a concept of totalization-without-totality Dialectics Unbound seeks to free the concept of the dialectic from the violence of closure, and then to take this unbound dialectics to the work of writing through a brief examination of parataxis and aphoristics as approaches to writing, both possible and impossible.

And here’s a tentative table of contents:

Introduction

Chapter 1. Lineages of the Dialectic

Chapter 2. The Violence of Closure

Chapter 3. Totalization without Totality

Chapter 4. Adorno’s Immanent Critique and the Assertion of Nonidentity

Chapter 5. A Fourth Term?

Chapter 6. Kristeva contra Adorno

Chapter 7. Aphoristics and Parataxis

Chapter 8. Minima Moralia and Aesthetic Theory

Conclusion

Afterword and Acknowledgments

Stay tuned for more here, as well as at my blog, and these posts for the context of the project: update and outline.

Cheers,

-Max