Mediation and the Kingdom of the Inbetween

The opening of Mark's Gospel draws attention to the fact that it is no beginning at all. The first word, Arche, is anarthrous, and the noun (or its verbal form) recurs throughout the narrative (31 times in Mark compared to 17 in the much longer Gospel of Matthew). One could either say the narrative is always trying to define a beginning (and cannot), or that all beginnings are pragmatic for Mark (i.e. there is no true beginning at all). In the opening 14 verses of the Gospel there are no fewer...

Transcorporality

The Godhead, who makes us in his image, circumscribes all human creativity, human poiesis. This creativity receives its transcendental meaning (truth, beauty, goodness) only in its relation to him. We are makers because we are made 'in the image of', and our making (insofar as it configures God's own making) is redemptive. To be redemptive, to participate in the economy of redemption opened and perfected by Christ the form of God's glory, our making cannot be in our name. Our making cannot,...

Redemption Between Reception And Response

It is through my body that I understand other people, just as it is through my body that I perceive.1 In 1987, Don Cupitt published his book The Long-Legged Fly.2 It was also the year in which Don became my tutor for a paper in the philosophy of religion. The Long-Legged Fly was my introduction to Don's theological thinking, and though we would differ on many issues concerning doing theology and possibly philosophy, aspects of that book remain profoundly embedded in my own thought. In...

Christology after Irigaray

On the basis of Irigaray's remarks about Christ (and the psychoanalytic and philosophical frameworks within which she develops them) let me, then, begin to think through aspects of Christology. The exploration, it seems to me, must cover three aspects of the person and work ofJesus Christ. Irigaray asks why, when we examine the person of Christ, 'is his sexuate incarnation denied' 51 So, first, we must begin to open up questions on the sexuality of this Son of God. Secondly, consequently, we...

Spiritual Exercises A Christian Pedagogy

Wim Wenders's film In weiter Ferne, so nah (Faraway, So Close), which won the Grand Prix du Jury at Cannes in 1993, opens with a quotation from Matthew's Gospel 'if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness' (6.22). The film narrates the story of one angel's experience, Cassiel's. So concerned is he with humankind that he asks to become human, and his wish is granted. Separated from his angelic state and...

The Inbetween and the Economy of Faith

The realm of the in-between concentrates its narrative attention upon what is done rather than on the space itself. In-between is a process before being 22 We arrive here at the portals of Kafka's castle and the auction-room in Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49. Mimesis is established with the crisis of representation, where Jesus's question to the disciples 'Do you still not understand ' (8.12) echoes endlessly, and endlessly cannot be answered. When is something understood When do we know...

Conclusion

Christology is and remains a riddle in Mark's Gospel, just as the parables are and remain a riddle, and the Gospel tout court is and remains a riddle. The riddles play with and emerge from the crisis of representation. The narrative performs the riddle of Christology and representation that involves the reader listener, that forces the reader listener to be alert and watchful. It is a watchfulness and alertness that has to move towards the edge of madness and paranoia, crisis, the cross and...

Kristevas Kenotic Economy

We can legitimately develop Balthasar's work through Kristeva's because they share so much. Let me briefly point to four fundamental parallels. First, there is a common appeal to the primacy of love as an anthropological root. Balthasar develops this through his notion of the imago dei and divine eros, based upon his work on Gregory of Nyssa. Kristeva develops this from the attention given by psychoanalysis to sexual desire and, more specifically, Freud's discussion of narcissism and the...

Christology The Performer and the Performance

Framing the calling of the first four disciples (1.16 20) are accounts of the cosmological importance of Jesus's work the unresolved conflict with Satan in the wilderness and the casting out of the unclean spirit from the man in the synagogue at Capernaum. Framing the ordaining (epoiesen) of the Twelve (3.13 19) are accounts again of the cosmological importance of Jesus's work the unclean spirits reveal that he is the Son of God and the accusation by the Jerusalem scribes that he is the agent...

Development of a Second Theme Gregory of Nyssa Allegoria and the Spiritual Sense

Having examined the association of mimesis, praxis and knowledge, we return to the original focus of this study the reading of Scripture and the nature of God's revelation attested there. In introducing Gregory of Nyssa's work at this point, the intention is not to establish a comparison and contrast between Aristotle and Gregory. It would be important to do such work examining the similarities and differences of their thinking on the pursuit of the good life, their anthropologies, ontologies...

Lukes Gospel

My first example is the account of the circumcision itself in Luke's Gospel (2.21), and my first question about this account concerns why it occurs only in Luke's Gospel. What does it signify 17 Mark's Gospel has no infancy narrative and so the lack of any reference to Jesus's circumcision is readily explicable. John's Gospel contains one reference to circumcision (John 7.22 3), but not an account ofJesus's own.18 Of course, it could be argued that since there is, at best, only a veiled...

The Economy of Response

No commentator has adequately been able to 'explain' it. 'The difficulty about 4.24 still remains Mark must have brought it in, though it is hardly relevant, because he wished to use the latter saying v.25 '.1 Most commentators look outside the text to an alleged source in the scattered sayings of Q in order to expand upon their difficulty in commentating upon it and their difficulty in understanding it within its context.2 A number of commentators have drawn attention to its obscurity.3...

Contemporary Pain and Pleasure

For some time now, at least since the 1960s and 1970s (though their roots lie in Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit), intellectual debates concerned with the economies of desire whether in Deleuze, Lacan, Lyotard, Barthes, Foucault or Zizek have been oriented around the notion of jouissance. Suffering constitutes itself as the lack or absence of jouissance. Bliss, as one translation, is the ultimate human goal. With Lacan and Zizek the lack itself is pleasurable. They would argue that what we...

Balthasars Kenotic Economy

Kenosis is not simply at the centre of Balthasar's theology. Its economy is both the condition for the possibility of theo-logic itself and its very form (Gestalt) 'there is only one way to approach the Trinitarian life in God on the basis of what is manifest in God's kenosis in the theology of the covenant and thence in the theology of the Cross we must feel our way back into the mystery of the absolute'.51 'This primal kenosis Ur-Kenose makes possible all other kenotic movements of God into...

The Schizoid Christ

The term 'Godhead' is significant of operation, and not of nature. (Gregory of Nyssa)1 Despite the allusion to a certain psychopathology schizophrenia this is not an essay attempting to psychoanalyse Jesus of Nazareth. In fact, nothing could be further from the intention of this essay than an investigation into the historical Jesus and what consciousness he may or may not have had of being the Christ. Such investigations assume the autonomy of the liberal individual, that consciousness is a...

B Divine and human eros

Christological enquiry cannot be divorced from a doctrine of creation. Furthermore, desire is both the creator and the creation of space. Only where there is space, where there is distance, where there is difference, can there be love that desires, that draws, that seeks participation. In one of Balthasar's explorations of pneumatology, he writes 'The basis of the biblical religion is the diastasis, the distance between God and the creature that is the elementary presupposition that makes it...

Divinity and Sexual Difference Beyond Irigaray

In conclusion, what then do these economies of response with respect to the sexuate body ofJesus, the Christ, enable us to understand about divinity and sexual difference Let me make three points that, though beginning with Irigaray's thinking, go beyond them. First, we have observed throughout that the notion of difference parallels that of distance. This is partly because difference is always thought relatively, as distance is. There is no pure difference. Difference qua difference is an...

On the Enmattered Soul

We begin then with the soul, a subject that Aristotle claimed was one of the most difficult to investigate yet one of the most valuable entities to be investigated. Aristotle's own analysis, in De Anima, remains important to later Christian conceptions, as Aquinas's large commentary on the text testifies.4 In fact, the text is being revisited today by a number of contemporary moral and analytical philosophers concerned with overcoming the mind body dualisms bequeathed by various Cartesians5...

The Enquiry

It should be no surprise to find throughout the tradition of Christian reflection on the body of Christ that sexual language is frequently employed. Therefore it should come as no surprise to find a number of contemporary patristic and medieval scholars from Virginia Burrus, Kate Cooper and Elizabeth Clark to Caroline Walker Bynum, Daniel Boyarin and Mark Jordan drawing attention to this language.2 The work of queer theorists and the new attention to the different historical and cultural...

Circumcision in Late Medieval and Renaissance Culture

Let us move now to the second example of the cultural politics of the circumcision of Jesus and its representation interpretation. This brings us closer to home historically and geographically and rescues me from troubled waters of New Testament exegesis and the sharks within those waters ready to take lumps out of unwitting theologians who wander in there untrained, unlettered. The circumcision ofJesus, as already mentioned, has been celebrated by the Church since the sixth century, but it...

The Divine Subject

Irigaray starts her examination of the relationship between divinity and human sexuality elsewhere, and that is why we will pursue the alternative avenues for thinking incarnation that her work opens up. Religion plays such a central role in her thinking because of its implications for the psycho-sexual development of the subject. As she writes 'To posit a gender, a God is necessary guaranteeing the infinite If women have no God, they are unable either to communicate or to commune with one...

Kenosis Philippians 2511

Much of what follows rests upon an interpretation of seven verses in this Pauline epistle in the Jewish context of Isaiah's suffering servant . Therefore we begin our exploration of the configurations of the doctrine of kenosis with exegesis. This is not because my exegesis can avoid being any less impartial than anyone else's, but because we need at the outset a detailed map of the kenotic trajectory. In this way we can locate particular emphases placed by theologians on one part of the...

Kenosis and the End of Modernity

The doctrine of kenosis was not a point of intense theological debate until the seventeenth century, but because here my concern lies with the doctrine at the end of rather than the entry into modernity, we will pick up kenosis as it came to be developed in the nineteenth century by Lutheran theologians. The focus of the doctrine is now upon the religious self-consciousness of Jesus. The contents ofJesus the Christ's consciousness as the focus for understanding the man God paradox dominate the...

Irigarays Christ

In her long review article of Schussler-Fiorenza's book In Memory of Her, entitled 'Equal to Whom ', Irigaray declares that she began the book with astonishment and joy only to find she was eventually disappointed. Her joy lay in Schussler-Fiorenza's reconstruction of the women in Jesus's life 'The way in which they are described in the text bears the hallmarks of Aphro-ditism.'24 The text here is the Gospels as Schussler-Fiorenza read them. By 'Aphroditism' Irigaray refers to a female...

Eschatology and the Economy of Desire

Mimesis like allegory and irony always functions through mirroring repetition that creates significances and, by associating one object or event 33 This is a good place to introduce a book whose presence has been, for the most part, subliminal throughout this study Frank Kermode's The Genesis of Secrecy Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press, 1979 . Kermode's fundamental observation about Mark's Gospel 'a good deal of the story seems concerned with failure to understand the story' p. 69 is...

A The sexuate body of the Son of

Can we really speak of incarnation if we castrate the Christ 'What Christ did not take, he did not redeem', Gregory of Nazianzus among other early 52 London Routledge, 2001, pp. 97-116. Church Fathers reminds us.53 By an evasion of his sexuality are we not already setting our feet, if not on some docetic trajectory, then on a path leading towards Apollonian enhypostasis the heresy Gregory is countering There is a need to explore what it is to be sexuate, a person experiencing all the passions...

On the Eros of the Ecclesial Body

Allow me to step back at this point, because in order to develop this argument in terms of Christology and ecclesiology, I need first to define the formation of a Christian 'enmattered soul', since discipleship implies a formation, a following, a disciplining such that the knowledge attained is a knowledge of Christ. In other words, if the 'enmattered soul'is determined by the body's negotiations with other bodies, then what is distinctive about this determination when those negotiations...

C The Trinity and ecclesiology

Difference, thought theologically, is rooted in the difference of hypostasis in the Trinity the operation of God in the world opens up the recognition 77 The wounded body of Christ, even following the resurrection, can perhaps be understood theologically in terms of a love that cannot operate beyond the violences which are the necessary consequence of the forced relations within which all objects and actions participate. Irigaray's insistence on the primordiality of sexual difference, while...

Christology Mimesis and the Economy of the Spirit

It is in Mark's Passion narrative that the complex inter-association of Christology, story-telling, discipleship and a theology of history realised through the working of the Holy Spirit achieves its most profound expression. The movement of the Spirit through historical contingencies, that has governed the sending and now the handing-over of the Christ, is paralleled by the operation of faith in the disciples and in the readers of listeners to the narrative . Both movements or economies...

Flows

Two Greek terms are at the theological heart of understanding motion and flows kenosis and pleroma. These terms are also the theological heart for our third topos, relation. This is a giving of oneself that can only come from the ongoing and endless reception of the other. This outpouring, both divine and human, is only possible, and for human beings only sustainable, in terms of the infinite plenitude of God's ousia. Here lies the basis for a sociality that is the burning vision in all...

Beyond Dogmatic Enquiry

If what I am setting out is a different agenda for Christology today, these essays are only exercises that go towards fulfilling such an agenda. Nothing here is systematic, but the essays written here over the last ten years are trying to clear a space in which a more systematic work can appear. Nevertheless, it would be worthwhile indicating as clearly as possible how, specifically, does the approach to Christology in these essays differ from and supplement the approach found in more...