Resurrections. The Politics of Paul’s Afterlife

Ort: ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, 3. Et., Seminarraum 303
ZfL-Projekt(e): Text- und Religionskulturen


Yael Almog, Caroline Sauter (ZfL): Opening Remarks and Introduction

Session 1 – Chair: Daniel Weidner (ZfL)
Elad Lapidot (Berlin): How do You Call Readers of Paul?
Luca di Blasi (Bern): Split and Conversion in Pasolini’s San Paolo

Caroline Sauter: Agamben, Paulus und der Rest
Session 2 – Chair: Stephan Steiner (ZfL)
Micha Brumlik (Frankfurt a.M./Berlin): Das »Ereignis«! Alain Badious gnostischer Umbau der paulinischen Lehre
Yael Almog: Boyarin and Paul’s Afterlives

Session 3 – Chair: Elad Lapidot (Berlin)
Ward Blanton (Kent): Paulinism Terminable and Interminable
Itzhak Benyamini (Jerusalem/Haifa): »... not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified«. Paul and the Western Subject

Chair: Caroline Sauter

Book Presentation

Yael Almog: Introduction/ Overview

Elad Lapidot: Response

Ward Blanton: Response

This workshop will provide a critical diagnosis of the engagement with Saint Paul in contemporary philosophy, psychoanalysis and cultural studies among such thinkers as Agamben, Badiou and Žižek. It will particularly address the recurrent attempts to construe the political agenda of contemporary critical theory through allusions to Paul’s writings. The intersection of psychoanalysis, secularism critique, and Marxist thought in the works of the above-mentioned thinkers will serve to deepen our understanding of the contingent nature of Paul’s afterlives, and scrutinize the motives behind their respective political projects.

Two recent volumes that provoke this inquiry are the collection Paul and the Philosophers edited by Ward Blanton and Hent de Vries (New York: Fordham 2013), and Itzhak Benyamini’s Narcissist Universalism. A Psychoanalytic Reading of Paul's Epistles (London u.a.: T&T Clark 2012) that has recently appeared in German (Narzisstischer Universalismus, Berlin: Merve 2013). Paul and the Philosophers grounds the current engagement with Paul in the return to religion in contemporary philosophy. The volume points out the engagement with Paul as a potential challenge for identity politics and the critique that it informs. Defining Paul’s reappearance in Lacanian terms, Benyamini has argued that Paul’s notion of a universal community puts in its centers around a community of »fatherless sons.« Paul’s legacy thus promotes a narcissistic eschatological model whose repercussions are to be found in such movements as Marxist communism and post-Christian liberalism. These two works will be assessed not only as diverging accounts on the political agenda behind the engagement with Paul’s figure, but also as active agents in this linage.

Paul’s reception, the workshop proposes, demonstrates the biases and presumptions of recent theory with regard to its political project. How does Paul inspire contemporary understandings of materialism? What does the renaissance of studies on Paul tell us about the theological turn of philosophy? How do psychoanalytic approaches to Paul’s legacy shape such political visions as global community and neighborly love? How does the engagement with Paul configure the so-called dialogue between Jewish and Christian theologies?