Contents

Preface xi

Introduction xv

Chapter One Bloch's Detective Work 1

Argument and advocacy 4

From the Bible to sentence production, and back again 7

Method: class conflict as a hermeneutical key 14

Vagaries of writing 14

Oral and written texts 15

Forces of redaction 17

Biblical criticism 18

The politics of interpretation 20

The critique of myth 26

Exegesis 36

The Hebrew Bible 37

New Testament 45

The return to theology 47

Atheism 48

Teleology 50

Transcendence 51

Faith, hope, sin and death 52

Conclusion 55

Chapter Two Benjamin's Perpetuation of Biblical Myth 57

Trauerspiel 63

Demons, allegory and flesh (allegorical level) 65

Fall and Eschaton (moral and anagogic levels) 67

Passagenarbeit 70

Method: collector as allegorist 70

Passages 72

The double allegory of Marxism and theology 74

Myth and history 79

Appropriation of the maternal function 82

Genesis 86

Language 86

Ursprung 90

Salvation history [Heilsgeschichte]: the return of biblical myth 96

Conclusion 103

Chapter Three The Ecclesiastical Eloquence of Louis Althusser 107

Ecclesiastical form: theological writings 109

From absent cause to philosophy of religion 128

The logical necessity 129

Elements of a materialist philosophy of religion 132

Ideology 133

Myth 143

Conclusion: the terminus of (auto)biography? 159

Chapter Four The Heresies of Henri Lefebvre 163

Threshold 164

Exploration 169

Worship 177

Archaeology 178

Heresies 187

Blondel 189

Joachim de Fiore and mysticism 192

Jansen and the Albigensians 194

The Devil 197

On religion: reading Lefebvre against himself 198

Everyday life 200

Space 204

Women 209

Conclusion 214

Chapter Five The Ecumenism of Antonio Gramsci 215

Ecumenism 219

Politics: the 'Eighteenth Brumaire' of the Holy See 228

Catholic Action 228

Internal conflict: integralists, Jesuits and modernists 234

Bewilderment? External alliances 239

Intellectuals 245

Reformation 258

Counter-Reformation and Reformation 260

The Italian Luther 267

Conclusion 273

Chapter Six The Apostasy of Terry Eagleton 275

Wit and the encyclopaedia, or the tensions of style 278

Orthodoxy and orthopraxis 283

Asceticism 285

Evil and the humble virtues 287

The absence of sin, or, the politics of forgiveness 294

Radical christology 301

Theology redivivus? 309

The desire for a historical Jesus 313

Christological metaphors 315

The problem of the personality cult 321

An intrinsic Eagleton? (The question of ecclesiology) 324

Chapter Seven The Conversion of Slavoj Zizek 335

The darkness of Lacan: the challenge of Butler and Laclau 338

Of truth-events and sundry matters: the challenge of Badiou 343

Materialist grace? 359

A glimpse 360

The cul-de-sac of ethics and love 364

The Protestant turn 372

Badiou, or militant gratuitousness 372

The grace of V.I. Lenin 377

Kierkegaard's snare 383

Revolutionary grace 387

Conclusion 389

Chapter Eight Adorno's Vacillation 391

Theological suspicion 395

Demythologisation 399

Faith: inwardness and history 402

Christology 409

Sacrifice 412

Cosmology: the spheres 415

Secularised theology 422

Judaism and the ban on images 430

The possibilities of theology 439

Love 440

Grace 442

Conclusion 443

Conclusion 447

References 453

Index of Biblical References 463

General Index 465

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