Zizek and Theology by Adam Kotsko

Adam Kotsko’s recent book, Žižek and Theology, is a great addition to the growing library of commentaries, introductions and appropriations surrounding Slavoj Žižek‘s philosophical work. It was only recently published in the States by T & T clark and it comes in the series “Philosophy and Theology,” which promises to be a pretty good series with upcoming titles covering Nietzsche, Derrida, Wittgenstein, Hegel, Heidegger and Badiou. I was pretty excited (and a bit surprised) to see “Žižek and Theology” this on the shelf of our local bookstore (Vroman’s) in Pasadena so I grabbed the last copy while I had the chance.

The book gives a general overview of Žižek’s work starting with Sublime Object of Ideology and moves all the way up to The Parallax View offering a stunningly thorough, yet never bogged down, tour of the key arguments and development of Žižek’s thought since 1989. Continue reading Zizek and Theology by Adam Kotsko

The Imagination of Politics – William Cavanaugh's Theo-Politics

I’m currently working through Catholic theologian William T. Cavanaugh‘s book ((here is a listing of his bibliographic works), “Theo-Political Imagination: Discovering the Liturgy  as a Political Act in an Age of Global Consumerism,” for a lecture I’m doing later this quarter. I cannot recommend this book enough to those of you who are doing work in the area of theology and politics. First, he suggests that politics in America requires a disciplined imagination, one where citizens respect borders, and contracts that don’t actually exist. He then traces out the historical development (in true genealogical fashion) of the nation-state as a competing soteriology to Christianity. Third, he moves on to deconstruct the idea that civil space is a neutral, or religion free, space within society, instead he makes the compelling point that civil space, or the public square (a la Neuhaus), is itself a secular theological construct. Finally, in the last chapter Cavanaugh looks to globalization not as the end of the nation-state (where the local gives way to a perceived diversity) but rather, he argues that globalization is an extension of the nation-state project which seeks to dominate the universal. Here globalization can be read as a secularized “catholicity.”At the end of every chapter Cavanaugh returns to the church and mines liturgical and sacramental resources for responding to this counter-theology. Continue reading The Imagination of Politics – William Cavanaugh's Theo-Politics

Douglas Gwyn and the Convergent-Covenant

Just came across these two quotes from Quaker historical-theologian Douglas Gwyn’s book “The Covenant Crucified,” and it got me thinking about some of the work I did in a previous project I’d never written about:

Given its biblical frame of reference, the religious Right retains a more explicit covenantal self-awareness.  But because the biblical code is metaphorical, not analytical, the religious Right (indeed, all biblically based groups) often struggles over how to live a biblically faithful life in our present social grid, how to address a modern, scientific, and technological society using this code.  Under these conditions, fundamentalist groups shift decisively toward the purity/pollution code of covenant consciousness.  Here, questions of private morality, sexuality, family relations, and devotion to church life are foreground, and wider, structural dimensions of covenant faith – a just and peaceful society (the gift/debt code) – recede into the background.

Douglas Gwyn, Covenant Crucified, 366

For Gwyn, the “Religious Right is puritanical??? because moral standards “become fetishes, detached from evolving patterns of life,” and operates out of a desire to reinstate Christendom, often at whatever cost. While the left holds onto contraction philosophy, over against the early Quaker and biblical notion of covenant, which ultimately, “reduces covenant faith to constitutional rights” (367). Continue reading Douglas Gwyn and the Convergent-Covenant

Ben Pink Dandelion Interviewed on OUPBlog

Ben Pink Dandelion, Quaker professor at the University of Birmingham (UK) and one of my tutors has recently (as in this week) published, The Quakers: A Very Short Introduction with Oxford University Press. It’s a perfect book for someone who knows little about Quakers and doesn’t want to work through his much larger introduction (though I must say it is really good). This shorter intro is the kind of book that will cover all the really important bases: some belief and practices, a little history, key figures and what the Quakers are up to now. If you can’t wait to get your hand then I suggest downloading Dandelion’s lectures he recently did at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Center on the same subject.

To announce his new book Oxford University Press Blog did a (very short) interview with him, which can be read here. It’s a great interview, it is short but contains some worthy gems, like when he is asked whether the Iraq War has helped to increase Quaker membership: Continue reading Ben Pink Dandelion Interviewed on OUPBlog