Some Philosophical Fragments on the Struggles in Tunisia and Egypt

Like many of our readers I’ve watched the recent events in Tunisia and Egypt unfold with a mixture of hopeful expectation and anxious trepidation. It has been a long time since something called a revolution has actually been one. Still, I am one of those on the Left who celebrate every act of resistance, regardless of its subsequent failure, because they serve to remind all of us that the state we are in is always contingent. That there are fissures and cracks dotting the seemingly monolithic entity that is Empire. And so with the same expectation I have watched and tried to understand. I don’t think that I do completely understand, as I’m sure most of us feel, but I felt the need to write down some thoughts on the matter especially since the other big theology blogs yet again remain silent in the face of massive political and social unrest. Preferring instead to continue their usual self-flagellation about their chosen career path or posting links to lectures by yet another conservative theologian espousing a sophisticated form of apologetics. Read the rest of this entry »

On Radical Orthodoxy’s Qutbism

A certain theoretical homology between Radical Orthodoxy and Qutbism hit me this evening while doing some background reading for the Speculative Medevialisms event. The connection was made while reading Bruce Holsinger’s chapter on Derrida’s medievalism in The Premodern Condition, which uses Catherine Pickstock’s polemic against Derrida in After Writing as a foil. It’s been awhile since I’ve read Pickstock, but Holsinger’s criticisms seem to me unassailable and crystallized some misgivings I had with Pickstock’s texts way back when about the flatness of her reading. But, that isn’t surprising since, after all, this was Holsinger’s goal. What is, well, perhaps not surprising, but interesting, was the structural similarity between Pickstock’s “utter lack of rhetorical modesty” (as Holsinger diagnoses her constant use of words like ‘only’, ‘optimum’, ‘alone’, ‘genuine’, ‘real’, and the like) and the same lack of rhetorical modesty in the Islamist theorist Sayyid Qutb. Read the rest of this entry »

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