New Books: The Monstrosity of Christ, Evangelicals and Empire, and Lessig's Remix

Here are a few new books on their way out, or already published, that I want to highlight.

The Monstrosity of Christ by Slavoj Žižek and John Milbank. The book is about secularism, politics and the future of Christianity between two unlikely characters: John Milbank, the main proponent of the academically-heady, yet provocative, ‘Radical Orthodoxy’ movement, and the cultural philosopher and Atheist Žižek. Here’s a blurb from the book’s website:

Žižek has long been interested in the emancipatory potential offered by Christian theology. And Milbank, seeing global capitalism as the new century’s greatest ethical challenge, has pushed his own ontology in more political and materialist directions. Their debate in The Monstrosity of Christ concerns the future of religion, secularity, and political hope in light of a monsterful event—God becoming human. For the first time since Žižek’s turn toward theology, we have a true debate between an atheist and a theologian about the very meaning of theology, Christ, the Church, the Holy Ghost, Universality, and the foundations of logic. The result goes far beyond the popularized atheist/theist point/counterpoint of recent books by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and others.

And Žižek’s really excitable quote:

To put it even more bluntly, my claim is that it is Milbank who is effectively guilty of heterodoxy, ultimately of a regression to paganism: in my atheism, I am more Christian than Milbank.

I can’t wait to read this one [ht: RB].

Evangelicals and Empire: Christian Alternatives to the Political Status Quo by Bruce Benson and Peter Heltzel. This edited collection has a wide-range of perspectives from notable theologians like James K.A. Smith, John Milbank, Jim Wallis, and Juan Martinez. These thinkers engage with questions revolving around the role of the church and its interactions with empire. The springboad for the discussion is Michael Hardt and Antinio Negri’s groundbreaking book Empire. From the back cover:

This groundbreaking collection considers empire from a global perspective, exploring the role of evangelicals in political, social, and economic engagement at a time when empire is alternately denounced and embraced. It brings noted thinkers from a range of theological perspectives together to engage the most explosive and discussed theorists of empire in the first decade of the twenty-first century, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. Using their work as a springboard, the contributors challenge evangelicalism’s identification with right-wing politics and grapple with the natures of both empire and evangelicalism.

Finally, Lawrence Lessig‘s new book has me pretty excited as well, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. I’ve been more and more interested in Lessig’s work as I seek to adapt some of the theory behind ‘remix culture’ into missiological reflection. I think this book will be a great text for such a project. From the book’s site:

For more than a decade, we’ve been waging a war on our kids in the name of the 20th Century’s model of “copyright law.” In this, the last of his books about copyright, Lawrence Lessig maps both a way back to the 19th century, and to the promise of the 21st. Our past teaches us about the value in “remix.” We need to relearn the lesson. The present teaches us about the potential in a new “hybrid economy” — one where commercial entities leverage value from sharing economies. That future will benefit both commerce and community. If the lawyers could get out of the way, it could be a future we could celebrate.

You can also read more here.

Any new books you’re interested in currently?

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Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.