13. Introduction: 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 [+]
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.