Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Alain Badiou and the truth of the Christian legacy

“In terms of recent theory, … the insistence on the superiority of Christianity (a very Hegelian claim) is peculiar to Badiou and Slavoj Žižek. Such a position clearly flies in the face of liberal pluralism; either you accept the truth that can be extracted from the Christian legacy, or you are wrong…. The doyens of difference start to hear alarm bells at this point. In my view Badiou’s defense of this argument is unassailable: what is at stake in reclaiming the truth of the Christian legacy is the very status of the universal itself; it is not a question of asserting the superiority of a closed coterie of true believers, for the Christian claim is precisely what challenges the closed community.”
—Liam A. O’Donnell, “St. Paul: Apostle, Militant, Communist,” Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy 2:1-2 (2006), p. 347.

“The fundamental question is that of knowing precisely what it means for there to be a single God…. Here Paul confronts – but also renews the terms of – the formidable question of the One. His genuinely revolutionary conviction is that the sign of the One is the ‘for all’, or the ‘without exception’. That there is but a single God must be understood not as a philosophical speculation concerning substance or the supreme being, but on the basis of a structure of address. The One is that which inscribes no difference in the subjects to which it addresses itself. The One is only insofar as it is for all…. Monotheism can be understood only by taking into consideration the whole of humanity. Unless addressed to all, the One crumbles and disappears.”
—Alain Badiou, Saint Paul (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), p. 76.

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