Introduction: Making Early Christian Texts Strange (Again)

Critical Theory and Early Christianity - Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, and Judith Butler - Matthew G. Whitlock

Matthew G. Whitlock [+-]
Seattle University
Matthew G. Whitlock (PhD, The Catholic University of America, 2008) is Associate Professor of New Testament at Seattle University. His research focuses on Acts of the Apostles, the Apostle Paul, New Testament Poetry, Critical Theory, and Science Fiction. His publications have focused on topics ranging from New Testament poetry in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly to the Body Without Organs and Christianity in Deleuze and Guattari Studies. He is currently working on a book of dialectical images from the science fiction of Philip K. Dick and from the letters of the Apostle Paul.

Description

Drawing from critical theory, Stephen Eric Bronner notes: “The extent to which a work becomes popular—regardless of its political message—is the extent to which its radical impulse will be integrated into the system.” Critical theory, when in dialogue with early Christian texts, points out the inevitable: the extent to which an early Christian text becomes popular—regardless of its political message—is the extent to which its radical impulse will be integrated into the system. This inevitability not only applies to the texts themselves, but also scholarship about them, and yes, even critiques of scholarship about them. But are there ways to move beyond this inevitability? Can religious literature avoid assimilation into the status quo? In this introductory chapter, Whitlock argues that the critical theories of Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, and Judith Butler help counter this inevitable integration of early Christian texts into the status quo. While their theories do not claim save or renew texts, they do claim to estrange them, continually making them strange again.

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Citation

Whitlock, Matthew. Introduction: Making Early Christian Texts Strange (Again). Critical Theory and Early Christianity - Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, and Judith Butler. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. May 2022. ISBN 9781781794135. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=30144. Date accessed: 27 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30144. May 2022

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