By Alain Badiou

In this daring and provocative paintings, French thinker Alain Badiou proposes a startling reinterpretation of St. Paul. For Badiou, Paul is neither the venerable saint embalmed through Christian culture, nor the venomous priest execrated through philosophers like Nietzsche: he's as an alternative a profoundly unique and nonetheless progressive philosopher whose invention of Christianity weaves fact and subjectivity jointly in a fashion that is still correct for us at the present time. during this paintings, Badiou argues that Paul delineates a brand new determine of the topic: the bearer of a common fact that at the same time shatters the strictures of Judaic legislations and the conventions of the Greek trademarks. Badiou exhibits that the Pauline determine of the topic nonetheless harbors a certainly innovative capability this present day: the topic is that which refuses to undergo the order of the realm as we all know it and struggles for a brand new one as an alternative.

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Here again, as always, it is a question of the earthen vessel, of the postevental bearing of weakness, of the destitution of the worldly criteria of glory: "If I must glory, I will glory in the things that show my weakness" (Cor. 3o). Let us propose the formula: in Paul, there is certainly the Cross, but no path of the Cross. There is Calvary, but no ascent to Calvary. Ener- 68 The AntidiaLectic of Death and Resurrection getic and urgent, Paul's preaching includes no masochistic propaganda extolling the virtues of suffering, no pathos of the crown of thorns, flagellation, oozing blood, or the gall-soaked sponge.

It is by consenting to the figure of the son, as expressed by the enigmatic term "sending," that the Father causes us ourselves to come forth universally as sons. The son is he for whom nothing is lacking, for he is nothing but beginning. "So through God you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then an heir" (Gal. 7). The father, always particular, withdraws behind his son's universal evidence. It is quite true that all postevental universality equalizes sons through the dissipation of the particularity of the fathers.

In that case, resurrection is nothing but the negation of the negation, death is the decisive time of the Infinite's self-externalization, and suffering and martyrdom possess an intrinsically redemptive function, which, it has to be said, corresponds to a Christian imagery that has been omnipresent for centuries. If the theme of resurrection becomes caught up in the dialectical apparatus, it must be conceded that the event as supernumerary givenness and incalculable grace is dissolved into an auto-foundational and necessarily deployed rational protocol.

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