Zizek review in PW’s Religion Bookline

Zizek review in PW’s Religion Bookline

April 2, 2012

Juxtaposing essays by Žižek (Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic?), renowned social critic and philosopher, with those of Gunjević (Crucified Subject: Without the Grail), a priest and professor, this dense and provocative theoretical assessment of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism seeks to explore the revolutionary potential of religion and to offer a critique of capitalism by drawing on the work of Lacan, Levinas, Hegel, Augustine, and others. The book is appealing for its scope of theological and political references even if the essays don’t always appear to be in dialogue with each other. Elucidating topics ranging from the sacred, cybersex, the Qur’an, Dante, paganism, the Islamic umma, Dostoyevsky, Christianity’s demystification of the sacrifice, redemption, and the necessity of an apocalyptic stance, both argue that “every theology is inherently political,” and that reference to religion “can enable political agents to break out of the ethico-legal entanglement” into what is possible. Even from their differing vantages of social critic and theologian, the authors rely on the work of Jacques Lacan and psychoanalysis as an interpretive key for religion, especially the assertion, “If God doesn’t exist, then everything is prohibited.”

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