[Audio] Post-Marxist Slavoj Žižek plays theologian and listen to what he says



zizek pixels

Post-Marxist critic Slavoj Žižek elaborates on theology- a great inspiration to listen to.

■ To say salvation is from our good works like an economic exchange is an OBSCENITY! No, it [salvation] has to be predestination [by God]- « this I totally agree with, » says Žižek.

■ It is a mystery that a Protestant ethics on « active work, » rather than a passive hedonism, was spawned by this belief in predestination.

Zizek’s take on this, to much of my delight, is close to the one advanced by Teilhard de Chardin, Jenson, Derrida and Barth. Predestination is not determinism; as an extremely refined dialectic, we understand it as being decided chronologically backwards: thing happened now retroactively decides the past. (And the history is predestined by and in the eschaton.)

« Every great work of art retroactively changes its entire past. » – T. S. Eliot
« A great writer create his or her own precursors. » -Jorge Luis Borges

■ True freedom is found in faith in the postliberal sense (free for others, such as a loving act): We are free to constitute our very predestination, to choose our necessity.

■ The deification (theosis) tradition in Eastern Orthodox Church is very problematic to Zizek. It turns Christ into somewhat an idol.

■ Calvinism is the purest form of Christianity.

■ We are part of God’s history. Using a nice Hegelian dialectic formulation, only through Protestantism does Christianity become what it always is through history. Protestantism does not elevate meditation or some kind of inner orgasm. Rather, it is principled by Sola Scriptura (Bible alone) and it does not mean it’s only you and God; it means you cannot bypass the Logos. Church as an institution- the essence of Gemeinde (community)- means precisely that.

■ What Zizek opposes is the Feuerbach understanding of religion, aka a soft religious humanism. True religion is more than man in man. Even in psychoanalysis, « death drive » is not a pursuit of Nirvana; it is an insistence for more life and death. Here Zizek claims himself to be a strict Kierkegaardian (!). What Kierkegaard jettisoned at his time is also the mundane coin with its two sorry sides without a portrayal reflective of Jesus’ lordship: soft religious humanism and state conformism.

■ Man has to be de-centered with regard to God. But there must also be a gap between God and the Godhead (?). In order to fully account men, you must accept that God is de-centered in Himself with regard to Himself. (This sounds Jenson-ian and Moltmannian)


[文摘] Intellectual Profile: Zygmunt Bauman

Source Link: Zygmunt Bauman

Conclusion: An archetypal Post-Marxist!

[文摘] Eerdmans 100 Interview Series: Anthony Thiselton

Cover of "Hermeneutics of Doctrine"
Cover of Hermeneutics of Doctrine

Source Link: Eerdmans 100 Interview Series: Anthony Thiselton

Matthew: Hermeneutics is a complex discipline that cannot be performed with an overly reduced concept of the term. Indeed, it draws on many fields for its practice and coherence. Will you, briefly, outline what hermeneutics is and explain its relationship to other disciplines both scientific and artistic?

Thiselton: Although it entails, first, biblical hermeneutics, it is vital that Biblical Studies is not isolated from Systematic Theology. This occurs all too often, to the impoverishment of both. Hence the second discipline is Theology. Third, Linguistics has to be studied for a serious Hermeneutic. Fourth, because modern Hermeneutics since Schleiermacher is “the art of understanding”, it must involve epistemology, or the theory of knowledge. The fifth essential discipline is sociology of knowledge, since all interpretation is not purely “objective”, but depends on pre-understanding, or what Habermas calls “interest”. Preliminary understandings (English, rather than German!) can be negotiated like “horizons”; they are not fixed like “presuppositions. Nowadays, sixthly, Literary Studies are indispensible, both for an understanding of genre (as in Umberto Eco), but also on “intention” and Reader Response Theory.

We might add, seventh, Reception History or Reception Theory, which has now become a sub-discipline in Biblical Studies, Theology, and Literary Theory. I cannot think of any of these eight which we can easily omit. It is tragic that some relegate Hermeneutics only to a branch of Biblical Studies or oh Church History. I have explored more on the Hermeneutics of Doctrine in my book, The Hermeneutics of Doctrine (Eerdmans, 2007).

Matthew: Postmodern thought has been preoccupied with the task of hermeneutics and the relationship of readers to texts. Yet, many in Christian circles have had a difficult time recognizing the value it might add to our reading of texts generally or to the Bible specifically. What positive contributions (if any), in your view has postmodernism made to hermeneutics?

Thiselton: I must confess that I suspect all “-isms” as overgeneralizations.  I speak to my students only specifically about Lyotard, Derrida, Rorty, Foucault, and others.  For the most part, I am grieved that many Evangelicals retreat from robust, rational discussion because many postmodernists say that I can say only how it is with me, i.e. testify to what has worked for me. But there are some positive features: (1) an attack on the standardization of knowledge, especially making everything correspond to technology (especially Lyotard); this applies to what is said above about “science”. (2) I share their dislike of generalities; but we need caution about rejecting all “meta-narratives”, of which the Bible may be one. (3) Roland Barthesearly work “Mythologies” is fascinating, and assists Ricoeur’s “Hermeneutic of Suspicion”, although this may be too early to call it “Postmodern”. (4) Jean Baudrillard exposes fantasy and simulacra, together the idolization of utility and media-created, and media-centred “celebrities”. But specifically on Hermeneutics I have some sympathy with Vanhoozer’s exposure of Derrida as too near to atheism, and I would add Lyotard on incommensurability and the plurality of “paganism” as negativeIn the U.S.A., I find it difficult to find merits in Rorty and Fish.

The First Epistle to the Corinthians

[書摘] The Time that Remains: Hans-Georg Geyer in the Intellectual Debate about a Central Question in the Twentieth Century

The Resurrection from Grünewald's Isenheim Alt...


Gerrit Neven, ‘The Time that Remains: Hans-Georg Geyer in the Intellectual Debate about a Central Question in the Twentieth Century’ in Theology as Conversation: The Significance Of Dialogue In Historical And Contemporary Theology: A Festschrift For Daniel L. Migliore, Bruce McCormack and Kimlym J. Bender eds., Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2009, pp. 67-81

My Summary:

Whereas initially Nietzsche and Marx only proclaim the death of God, Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze proclaim with equal force the death of a man (cf. Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, 1994, esp. the last chapter, and Gilles Deleuze, The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque, 1993).

Following Barth, Geyer gives the Parousia the determinative role concerning various theological aspects of reconciliation. The Messiah’s having drawn near is the precondition of a future-oriented and therefore a dialogical mode of thinking. The Parousia points to a nearness of salvation that does not supernaturally demolish time and history, but rather breaks open time and history from within [messianically] by turning to the risky expectation of the Messiah, for whom each moment in time is an open entrance.

This expectation leads to intensive forms of discussion and debate with not just  theologians but also with [critical and phenomenological] thinkers like Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger , Horkheimer, Bloch, Sartre, and so on. The focus is the humanity of Christ.

(Hans-Georg Geyer [1929-1999]  studied in Frankfurt during 1950-1954 with Hans-Georg Gadamer, Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, and Wolfgang Kramer before he turned to the study of systematic theology (at Gottingen, Berlin, Wuppertal, and Bonn.)

As early as 1962, Geyer declared his agreement with Walter Benjamin’s Theological-Political Fragment. According to Benjamin, only the Messiah himself will consummate all that is happening historically, in the sense that only he himself will redeem and consummate the creation in its relation to the messianic.[1] Therefore, nothing historical can relate itself to something messianic on its own account. With this, he distanced himself from the idea that historical convictions, scientific achievements, or political opinions have in themselves the potential to make “the jump-ahead” to a time which is qualitatively new and different. Our knowledge is determined by economic and political factors. The desire to know is driven by a force consisting only of what can be [pragmatically or in a utilitarian manner] calculated. This [social/structural] force and the history of freedom contradict each other (analogous to the tension between poststructuralism and structuralism/rationalism).

Geyer here introduces the topic of faith in the post-liberal sense. He says, “faith, getting involved with and trusting upon the message concerning Christ, is at the same time radically renouncing the desire to discover the truth of the proclamation and past history”.

This criticism of metaphysics (of absolute certainly) is also part of the thinking projects of Moltmann and Pannenberg, for whom the future became the paradigm of transcendence. But both of them have felt that they have to leave Barth behind for they deem Barth’s system closed and ahistorical. Geyer does not share this view.

Geyer inherits early Barth’s dialectical theology. He is convinced that our time is an implication of the Parousia of Jesus Christ. His intensive debate with Moltmann and Pannenberg  is concerning the epistemology of hope. That is to say, if God’s new coming in the Parousia is an implication of the concrete identity of Jesus Christ, then how do we find his identity? He doubts whether for Moltmann and Pannenberg “the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ” are constitutive–and as opposed to merely illustrative— of the exegesis of biblical texts and of the practices of the Christian community. For according to Geyer, Moltmann and Pannenberg’s definition of history and Parousia did not clearly distinguish “the future as an end that we should strive for” (the anthropocentric) from “the future as the goal of God’s exclusive act” (the theocentric). His ultimate criticism is that the theology of Moltmann and Pannenberg is enclosed by a metaphysical correlation between God and the world. Transcendence is devoured by immanence.

To solve this problem, Geyer here uses Husserl’s concepts of protention (the succession of the historical accordance and its end) and retention. The protention in Jesus denotes the continuity between the character of Jesus’ conduct and his fate—death. According to Geyer, this historical fate can undergo an intensification or an ontological deepeningonly by the event of the meta-historical resurrection in Easter” [out of theological necessity].

By retention, it means when we look back, the attempts to ignore this fact or to place this death within an unduly higher framework can only lead to an idealization of his death or a degradation of it to an empirical fact (which is an unduly anthropologized theology full of liberal residues). Namely, the declaration that this historical death implies a [whether phenomenological, hermeneutic, or ontological] jump-ahead should be fiducially rooted only in the meta-historical domain, in [the post-Easter] remembrance, which runs backwards. This solution does not have to leave behind the aporia of this [historical] death. For at any rate, doctrinal or impersonal statements are not possible in the face of this death. Anamnesis and commemoration of this death can only give us non-metaphysical and personal truth. The redemptive history is inherently incomplete if all we have is this death of Jesus.

On the other hand, knowledge concerning the identity of this Jesus can only be acquired by participation in the process of the actuality of this meaning question in the medium of human language. That is why the question concerning the meaning of the cross is characterized by an infinite openness— as opposed to the enclosure of totalitarian metaphysics. For Geyer, the hope is the qualitative feature of faith, which is a prerequisite for new non-metaphysical mode of thinking.

In accorance with the nature of hope, Parousia concerns the future of which no one has sure knowledge of the time and the hour— it is beyond human calculation: Although we are vitalized by images of the future (e.g., Luke 21:7-33), these do not lead us into the future itself.

rhızomıng ındεxatıon dıs-choıcεs . .

There is a remarkable parallelism in the thinking of Geyer and Badiou about metaphysics. Badiou establishes that « the death of God » and « the death of man » go hand-in-hand in the ethos of 20th century philosophy and theology. He calls them “the joint disappearances of Man and God”.

On one hand there is in the 20th century philosophy the movement that radicalizes Kant’s approach by enslaving man in his own emancipation (i.e., German idealism: our [finite] subjectivity creates our world). This line runs from Kant via Fichte and Sartre (man is condemned to freedom; man is programmed to be a man and cannot be freed from this program). On the other hand, there is the way of the radical anti-humanism of Nietzsche and Foucault: the absence of God is one of the names for the absence of man.

As Foucault (he criticizes Levinas and Derrida’s anthropology as religion or theology), Badiou does not think this either or situation leaves room for postmodern thinkers like Levinas or Derrida. For Levinas’ appeal to God’s radical otherness in order to safeguard the otherness of the human other falls short to attest to a radical alterity. (This means that in order to be intelligible, ethics requires that the other should be in some sense carried by a principle of alterity which transcends mere finite experience. cf. Badiou, Ethics [2001], 22). As for Derrida’s deferral of presence (différance), a sort of religion of messianic delay, Badiou sees something too artificial in its ramification upon the relation between philosophy and religion (cf. P. Hallward, Badiou: A Subject to Truth [2003], 157). Postmodernity has become boring.

Badiou searches for what is empty and open in a time when the [human and divine] subject has disappeared. There is no other possibility than to accept this aporia, this emptiness, and to retain a prospect to point beyond death. For Geyer, this means the resurrection and the coming of the Messiah— within the perspective of time. Biblically speaking this is the time that remains, a time of intense expectation (cf. Isa 21:11). [2]

Giorgio Agamben, Benjamin’s disciple, in The Time That Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans declares “what remains is what separates us from the Messiah”. More than the Messiah’s coming close is the Messiah himself.

Giorgio Agamben descubre el limbo

[1] The polemical context which Geyer (and possibly Benjamin) set out to argue against includes the following features (i.e., wrong assumptions):

1)       non-realism,

2)       post-structuralism,

3)       the totalitarian features of modernity in the 1960s (for which Geyer thinks Horkheimer’s treatment in the 1930s is exemplary. He lost faith but has not abandoned the project of human transformation of the society into a utopia).

4)       reciprocal freedom: the promises that somebody gives to someone else are ruled by a relationship of absolutely free reciprocity and by a reciprocal freedom.

[2] Here one may become somewhat apologetical over against Badiou. Badiou teaches with Nietzsche that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is dead. According to Nietzsche, faith in God as a supernatural power in general will no longer have any real influence, since God is not ascribed any power anyway. There is no such metaphysical God. However, it is precisely this faith that would be necessary to determine the convictions and the actions of man. This may be the case, Geyer answers Nietzsche. But even if God has lost his power over man and that super-sensual heaven has no meaning for the sensual earth, it does not necessarily follow the death of Christian theology.

Through Barth, Geyer has found a way forward: Christian theology has the task to lead faith out of its dogmatic identification with the concept of religion that is still metaphysically determined. Geyer rejects Nietzsche’s analysis that lumps together the God of metaphysics and the God of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Unlike the metaphysical God, the God of the Bible can die.

On the basis of this God’s death, people in faith received the power to be really earthly finite and to be able to die. In the Christian faith, God’s identity can only be thought of appropriately when we take as point of departure the view that the death of Jesus Christ on the cross is God’s act on behalf of all.

The occurrence of cross in history demands remembrance and mimesis: the imitation of God in the praxis of love for one’s neighbor. God is a name that has to be continued in a passionate plea to practice love, as opposed to a concept that asks for ideological representation. Remembrance implies mimesis, through which we anticipate the coming of God in the Parousia.

[靈修筆記] 以賽亞書32章 Reflection on Isaiah 32

CNV5  Isaiah 32:1 看哪!必有一王憑公義執政,必有眾領袖按公平治理。

 2 必有一人像避風所,和避暴雨的隱密處,像乾旱之地的溪水,又像疲乏之地的大磐石的陰影。

 3 那時,能看見事物者的眼睛,必不再昏暗;能聽到事物者的耳朵,必然傾聽。

 4 性急者的心必明白知識,口吃者的舌頭必說話清楚。

 5 愚頑人不再被稱為高尚,惡棍也不再被稱為大方。

 6 因為愚頑人說的是愚頑話,他心裡所想的是罪孽,慣行褻瀆 神的事,說錯謬的話攻擊耶和華,使飢餓的人仍空著肚子,使口渴的人仍無水可喝。

 7 至於惡棍,他的手段是邪惡的,他圖謀惡計,用虛假的言語毀滅困苦的人,即使在窮乏人講公理的時候(even when their cause is just),他也是這樣。

 8 高尚的人卻籌謀高尚的事,他也必堅持這些高尚的事。

 9 安逸的婦女啊!你們要起來,聽我的聲音;無憂無慮的女子啊!你們要側耳聽我的話。

 10 無憂無慮的女子啊!再過一年多,你們就必受困擾,因為沒有葡萄可摘,收禾稼的日子也沒有來。

 11 安逸的婦女啊!你們要受震驚。無憂無慮的女子啊!你們要受困擾了,脫去衣服,赤著身子,以麻布束腰吧。

 12 你們要為美好的田地和多結果子的葡萄樹搥胸哀哭。

 13 也為那些在我子民的土地上長起來的荊棘和蒺藜而哀哭,為那歡樂的城和所有快樂的房屋,也是這樣。

 14 因為宮殿必被丟棄,熱鬧的城市也被撇下,山岡和守望樓必永遠成為洞穴,作了野驢喜歡的地方和羊群的草場。

 15 等到聖靈從高處傾倒在我們身上,曠野變為肥田,肥田被看為樹林的時候,

 16 公平就必居在曠野中,公義必住在肥田裡。

 17 公義的果效必是平安,公義的效驗必是平靜與安穩,直到永遠。

 18 那時,我的子民必住在平安的居所,安穩的住處,不受騷擾的安息之處。

 19 但在敵人的國土中,必有冰雹降下,打倒他們的樹林,他們的城必被夷平。

 20 你們這些在各水邊撒種,又使牛驢隨意走動的,是多麼有福啊!

via Flickr »]2008-03-16 False prophet (by H&M)

以賽亞書32章佳句連連,意象優美。開頭幾節提到那彌賽亞君王變革下的國度榮景:「能看見事物者的眼睛,必不再昏暗;能聽到事物者的耳朵,必然傾聽。 4 性急者的心必明白知識,口吃者的舌頭必說話清楚。 5 愚頑人不再被稱為高尚,惡棍也不再被稱為大方。」重點不是軍事和經濟的強盛,而是公義的彰顯、智慧的遍傳,展現Jürgen Habermas 現代性理論中「溝通理性」、「公民理性」被復興的願景。

願景當中,卻描述一群原先處在利益集團中的人—惡棍、愚頑人,必須失勢而無法在彌賽亞國度中共融。vv.5-7 轉而著重在為這點做出補充說明和解釋:原因是愚頑人褻瀆神、又苦待困乏人。至於惡棍,甚至無法講理,自然在推崇「互為主體性」和「溝通理性」的彌賽亞國度中無法站立。

這裡有趣的是「即使」這個字,因為這似乎假定了窮乏人在大多數時候是不講理、甚或無法講理的。用左派的角度來講,當代所謂的「法制」和「公理」都是擁有教育資源、知識權力的人所定下,「法律只保護懂法律的人」就是這麼說的。這本身是一場不公平的遊戲,因此Karl Marx 主張階級鬥爭、Che Guevara 組織武裝游擊隊作為窮乏人聲援自身權益的手段。

但經文彷彿奇妙地在說,窮乏人是有辦法講公理的(דַבֵּ֥ר מִשְׁפָּֽט׃),也就是非暴力、理性和平、訴諸認知手段的抗爭一方面可行,然而一方面他遇上惡棍、獨裁者、政客卻是無益。解放神學在遇到這種情況下時,手段出現分歧。一種轉向一種同屬現代化進程(modern project)的馬克思主義,攫取更多的屬世權力以達成抗爭目的,無論是暴力、統攝力、傳播影響力;,另一種則投向後自由神學的耶穌政治(Jesus politics):「我的國不屬這世界」。


Vv. 9-14 似乎針對著那些在安定城市文明下才能孕育出的一個特殊群體發話:安逸的婦女們。雖然這裡形容使用葡萄樹和田地的意象,然而她們並不像是真正務農的人,而是負責收割與宴樂的一群人。「歡樂的城、快樂的房屋、宮殿、熱鬧的城市,山岡、守望樓」這些才是她們寄居以及或得物質和生存安全感的空間。這種城市文明在法國左派馬克斯學者Henri Lefebvre的觀念看來製造了許多「異化的空間」。這些舒適和能製造安全感的空間是刻意被建構的社會空間,從真正的自然生活中區隔出來使人遠離自然:日光燈、霓虹燈、人工色彩、空調與除濕、人工庭園造景或盆栽…等等,從視覺、觸覺、嗅覺、聽覺、甚或味覺,空間中已經沒有一項是自然原始的。而這樣的生活特徵特別涵蓋了中產城市文明下的我們看做「貴婦」、「公主」的時尚女性群體。她們或可能還是有自己的勞動習慣,如減肥鍛鍊、逛街購物、保持儀態、美容保養等等,也是要花許多心力。就像我們說「當女人真辛苦」時,常常指得是這些社會壓力賦予這些當代女性的「義務」而言的。

然而重點是都會女性與這個社會空間掛勾時,結構面的代價是人與自然的異化。我們以那些限制我們行動的衣服為美、開無法越野的車子、穿只能走在水泥或磁磚地面上的嬌貴鞋子、被馴化後的胃吃野果會拉肚子、被馴化後的身體不在柔軟床墊上會睡不著。不僅如此,這一個個項目,從設計過後的衣服、鞋子,到精緻過後的料理,居住舒適的公寓別墅及其沙發、床墊、浴室等等,都被資本主義的貨幣價值給標籤,內化成為我們的價值以及人生追求的標的。照Jacques Derrida 和 Jean-Luc Marion 「禮物的現象學」,這是將上帝的恩典變質為一種資本的交換。而缺少這些社會資本的窮人自然人,甚至連享受上帝自然恩典的渠道都被剝奪:土地被剝奪,享用乾淨飲水和新鮮空氣的權利被[工業污染]剝奪、狩獵打魚開採礦產的權利都被剝奪與受限。