Postmodernism and the Revolution in Religious Theory
Toward a Semiotics of the Event
Publication Year: 2012
While the academic study of religion has increased almost exponentially in the past fifty years, general theories of religion have been in significant decline. In his new book, Carl Raschke offers the first systematic exploration of how the postmodern philosophical theories of Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, and Slavoj ?i?ek have contributed significantly to the development of a theory of religion as a whole. The bold paradigm he uses to articulate the framework for a revolution in religious theory comes from semiotics—namely, the problem of the sign and the "singularity" or "event horizon" from which a sign is generated.
Published by: University of Virginia Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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In the evolution of this manuscript I have been blessed with many assistants and contributing âtheoristsâ who have played both crucial and occasional roles. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the following: the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University...
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The question of the âreligiousâ today continues concomitantly to haunt, fascinate, and discomfit us. Ever since Jacques Derrida and Gianni Vattimo announced the âreturn of religionâ as an âauto-immuneâ reaction to secularism in the early 1990s, scholars have wallowed in their own confusion, not only about whether it is really...
Part I. THE REVOLUTION OF THE SIGN
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1. Religion and the Semiotic Revolution
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After the postmodern turn seems to have come full circle and we find ourselves yearning to know what âcomes next,â we continue to be confronted foursquare with the aporia of the religious. Postmodern philosophy has exfoliated in hundreds of different directions,...
2. Theory and the Deus Evanescens: Can There Truly Be a âScienceâ of Religion?
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Postmodern philosophy has tirelessly and for way too long been accused of being reckless and contrary to the ârational,â including the various templates of rationality that often go by the name of âscience.â It might be assumed that the postmodernist movement has...
3. Postmodernism and the Return of the âReligious â
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For Derrida, the religious amounts to the spectralâwhat is ethereal and shadowlike. It is a fill-in-the-blank sort of phenomenality. As Richard Kearney observes, Derrida âprefers ghosts to gods.â He is more enamored with spacing rather than with holy radiance. He is...
4. Radical Religion in the âDesert of the Real â
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Since that fateful day in September 2001, a vast and tenebrous mist has suddenly spread out over the horizon of Western thinking in general, and the theory of the religious in particular. The sentiment was summarized in the title of Å½iÅ¾ekâs well-known set of essays published...
Part II. SOURCES
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5. Bataille and Altizer: The Sacrificial Background of Postmodern Religious Theory
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For decades the âpostmodernâ has been defined as indefinable, but that lack of definition is more a sophistical dodge than a commitment. Let us define it as the lightning storm of the twentieth century that at last became lyrical....
6. Levinas and the Final Ã-dieu to Theology
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It is the âproper name âSinai,â â which Derrida says is âas enigmatic as the name âface,â â which is âuntranslatable.â1 The death of Levinas called forth this peculiar âspiritâ for Derrida. But it is a spirit that does not allow us to simply say âfarewellâ to the celebrated postmodern...
7. Deleuze and Nomadology
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A shadow is skulking through the borderlands of religious thought. It is Deleuzeâs ânomad.â The nomad is more than a sign of impermanence, or what Deleuze understands as the permanently âdeterritorialized.â The nomad signifies the errant and global movement of...
8. Å½iÅ¾ek and the Failure of the Subject
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The somewhat recent claim of Å½iÅ¾ek to speak to the religious academy as a âtheologian,â more precisely as a Christian thinker, has unsettled traditional practitioners of the profession. Å½iÅ¾ekâs exchanges with John Milbank, the would-be guardian of orthodox Christianity...
9. Badiou and the Prospects for Theory
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Badiou would seem to be a genuinely bizarre source of inspiration for âreligious theory.â While most of our present-day celebrity postmodern thinkers, including even Deleuze, have been amenable to God-talk or religion-speak in some fashion, Badiou has resolutely...
Conclusion. Toward a Revival of Religious Theory
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But if in considering the religious we find ourselves in such a strange âplace,â seeking to peer over the generative rim of events, we must ask the question: how do we think at, and across, this horizon? How do we theorize the infinite, or illimitable, horizon of the event...
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Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2012
Series Title: Studies in Religion and Culture
Series Editor Byline: Gary Ebersole