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...

Christology and Apologetics

It is important for the essays in this collection that Christological discourse arose not in dogmatics but apologetics.50 I am not wishing to state either 47 For an examination of both his attack on apologetics and yet also the way his own theological thinking cannot seal itself off from the influences and significances of other discourses, see my Cultural Transformation and Religious Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp. 15 57. 48 Democracy in America, tr. Harvey C. Mansfield and...

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...

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...

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...