11. Towards a Vulgar Marxist Reading of Christian Origins Today
Critical Theory and Early Christianity - Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, and Judith Butler - Matthew G. Whitlock
James Crossley [+]
St Mary's University, London
James Crossley is Research Professor in Bible, Society, and Politics at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion, and Society, Academic Director of the Centre for the Critical Study of Apocalyptic and Millenarian Movements (CenSAMM), and Professor of Bible and Society at St Mary's University, Twickenham, London. He is author of numerous books and articles on Christian Origins, reception history of the Bible, and English politics and religion, reception history of the Bible, including Cults, Martyrs and Good Samaritans: Religion in Contemporary English Political Discourse (Pluto, 2018). The website John Ball, English Legend provides images and resources discussed in Spectres of John Ball.
James Crossley provides a deliberately anachronistic reading of the origins of Christianity through a comparison with Marxist revolutions, Marxist readings of revolutions, Marxist revolutionaries, and Marxism after the revolution. While the comparison is absurdist, it can still give us an insight into the ways in which political movements survive, adapt, and transform—including the movement that would become Christianity. The essay gives some consideration to the recent political events and the revival (and now fall?) of left-wing movements.