10. Christianity Appears First, As Itself

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

Bruce Worthington [+-]
University of Toronto
Bruce Worthington is a PhD Candidate at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, where he also teaches part-time. Bruce is the editor of two volumes, Reading the Bible in an Age of Crisis (Fortress, 2015) and The Visible Shape of Christ’s Life in Us (Wipf and Stock, 2019). In addition to his academic work, Bruce is an accomplished touring musician and has charted two successful radio singles on Canadian country radio.


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.

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Worthington, Bruce. 10. Christianity Appears First, As Itself. 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=30154. Date accessed: 20 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30154. May 2022

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