13. Judith Butler and Early Christian Texts

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.


This chapter discusses the life and work of Judith Butler in the context of critical theory and early Christianity. The chapter begins by delineating Butler’s approach to bodies and their fluidity, both individual and corporate. The former is found in her early work, the latter in her most recent. The chapter then outlines Butler’s life, providing context for her concepts, especially focusing on gender performativity and the performativity of assembled bodies. Finally, the chapter summarizes the two essays in this section by Valerie Nicolet and Peter Anthony Mena, bringing Butlers concepts into conversation with Paul and Origen. The chapter ends by suggesting further research on Butler’s writings on precarity and assembly, and how they bring light to early Christian presentations of assemblies, that is, how bodies assemble to “speak” often before they speak vocally.

Notify A Colleague


Whitlock, Matthew. 13. Judith Butler and Early Christian Texts. 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=30157. Date accessed: 27 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30157. May 2022

Dublin Core Metadata