I’m posting this slightly out of order, as we’ve had a bit of a delay on getting a post for chapter 8.
In this, the final meditation on a patristic figure, Carter claims that the theology of Maximus the Confessor provides a model for anti-colonial theology, insofar as he recognizes “tyranny” as a core manifestation of sin. For Carter, this means that he is a subversive theologian, reading against the dominant social order, in a way that he claims is similar to the theological style he has uncovered in the antebellum slave narratives he investigates in part III of the book.
The bulk of his argument is taken up with demonstrating that Maximus’s theology is premised on a mutual openness between God and creation that then issues into a mutual openness among created beings — a logic that is counter to the self-enclosed and self-worshipping logic of modern racial thought, in which white supremacy claims to define all others while remaining self-defined. As an exposition of Maximus’s theology, this is very interesting and compelling and in fact makes me want to return to Maximus and study him further.
There are several weaknesses in this postlude, however, which are symptomatic of some questionable aspects of the larger argument of the book. Read the rest of this entry »