18. Early Christian Texts in the Age of Technological Reproducibility
Critical Theory and Early Christianity - Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, and Judith Butler - Matthew G. Whitlock
Matthew G. Whitlock [+]
Using Walter Benjamin’s “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility” and “The Storyteller: Reflections on the Works of Nikolai Leskov” as springboards, this volume ends with a chapter considering Critical Theory’s role in navigating the rapidly changing landscapes of studying early Christian texts in the twenty-first century. In “The Storyteller,” Benjamin describes the early twentieth century as a world that “overnight has undergone changes which were never thought possible.” Now in the technological and information age of the twenty-first century, the world changes not simply overnight, but at an exponential rate overnight—a rate even Benjamin’s foresight could not capture. When reading early Christian texts in this age, we are not only faced with growing distance of their “origins,” but also the exponentially growing webs of information by which we interpret these texts. Hence, this chapter argues for a broad, interdisciplinary approach to theses texts, a broad approach akin to what the Frankfurt School and later critical theorists espouse, including topics drawn from the theorists and scholars in this volume (and not simply from traditional, biblical theology).