A critique of The Kingdom and the Glory

Tomorrow, I will be giving a masterclass (PDF flyer) at the University of Auckland, where we will be discussing my Crisis and Critique article (PDF) as well as a paper I gave at a conference earlier this year at Loyola University Chicago, entitled “Agamben and the Problem of Evil” (PDF). I have been reluctant to post the latter, as I was pondering turning it into a proper article, but since it is being distributed for the masterclass, I might as well make it available. It gives an overview of The Kingdom and the Glory‘s argument and its place in Agamben’s project, then critiques it from the point of view of the problem of evil. In many ways, it reflects and expands upon my critique of K&G in The Prince of This World (preorder link), so perhaps you can consider it an indirect preview.

Video of the “Breaking the Manichean Chains” Panel

This past Friday I was on a panel that Mark William Westmoreland organized for the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs conference on Revolutions: Past, Present, and Future. Mark, Melanie Kampen, and myself all delivered papers which were recorded. The video is available to watch and please feel free to use this page for any comments or discussion. I thought Melanie’s and Mark’s papers were truly excellent and was very honored to be included. Some of what I presented comes out of discussions with Daniel Colucielleo Barber towards a paper I’m hoping we write together when we can carve out the time. The research is very much in early stages and very preliminary here.

My AAR paper: Negri and Gutierrez on Job

[I presented this on Saturday, November 19, under the auspices of the Bible, Theology, and Postmodernism group. I admit that my last couple paragraphs are somewhat self-indulgent, but my audience was forgiving.]

Gutierrez and Negri on Job:
Between Theology and Materialism

Adam Kotsko
Shimer College

For those of us who have been following the burgeoning trend of radical philosophical readings of the Bible, Negri’s Labor of Job may represent something of a breath of fresh air, not least because a major philosopher has finally chosen to focus on something other than the letters of Paul. More significant from my perspective, however, is the fact that Negri brings a voice into this dialogue that has often been neglected by recent philosophical interpreters: liberation theology.

Read the rest of this entry »

Presentation: “Agamben, Paul, and the Oath”

This afternoon, I was invited by my friend Virgil (Bill) Brower to give a presentation at Northwestern under the auspices of the Paul of Tarsus Reading Group. The topic is Agamben’s engagement with Paul in The Sacrament of Language, and you can read the text of my presentation here (PDF).

My AAR presentation

This year I was fortunate to be part of a panel on “The Body of Christ” put on by the Bible, Theology, and Postmodernism group at the AAR. Presenters approached this theme from various directions — Mark L. Taylor critiqued Agamben’s category of bare life by arguing that his messianism is devoid of any reference to “crucified flesh,” Shelly Rambo put forward the idea of a “spectral Jesus,” and Jon Berquist discussed the Body of Christ in connection with the work of “the postmodern philosopher Paul.” I have posted my paper, entitled “Zizek and the Excremental Body of Christ,” on Scribd.

Scenes from a Conference

With much-appreciated financial assistance from a few of you here at AUFS and the fine folks who put together this year’s Religion, Literature & Culture Conference at the University of Iowa, a few weeks ago I made my way to Iowa City. First things first: I absolutely love Midwestern college towns. I like college towns in general, but something about in-the-middle-of-nowhere Midwestern college towns are especially delightful. One minute you’re dining at a Long John Silvers in some random highway-exit town, whose denizens actually wore blue overalls, like they knew I was going to be there and had to fulfill the stereotype, taking in the insanely paranoid, but wonderfully narrative, signs that adorn Illinois’ & Iowa’s rural highways; and the next you find yourself surrounded by the soon-to-be-ex-Iowa-residents, the gorgeous corn-fed students of the University of Iowa. Back to the signs real quickly: the ones telling the story of the grandeur of corn were self-serving in a way that I could understand, if not agree with. More interesting, though, were the ones arguing against anti-gun laws that, at least on a national level, to my knowledge anyway, are not even being discussed in committee. Fox News country is, they led me to believe, very dangerous. Unarmed, I kept my doors locked and windows tightly closed. Read the rest of this entry »

Last Minute Conference Collaboration

I will be reading two papers at the Midwest Region AAR meeting tomorrow (at Augustana College, Rock Island, IL), and would love to meet up for lunch with any AUFS lurkers if they will be there, or go see their papers if they are presenting. I would have posted something earlier this week, but I have been fighting a sickness and was not certain I would make it. I will begiving a paper entitled, “Christology After the Death of God: Incarnation and the Rise of Secularism” (Session 3:4, 10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.), in a session on the Incarnation with Even Kuehn and Nathan Crawford giving papers on Kathryn Tanner’s Christ the Key, with Samuel Chambers responding). I will be in another session giving a paper on John Milbank and Jeffrey Stout: “Theopolitics After Secular Liberalism, Theological Traditionalism, and Incomplete Pragmatism: Assessing Jeffrey Stout and Radical Orthodoxy” (Session 2:2, 8:30-10:15 a.m.).