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By the Apostle Saint. Paul; the Apostle Saint. Paul; Breton, Stanislas

Newly translated and seriously positioned, this version of a thorough Philosophy of Saint Paul takes a clean method of the philosopher's vintage paintings, reacquainting readers with the extraordinary ways that an historical apostle can reset our knowing of the political. Breton starts with Paul's biography and the texts of his conversion, which problem universal conceptions of id. He broaches the query of Read more...

summary: Newly translated and seriously positioned, this version of a thorough Philosophy of Saint Paul takes a clean method of the philosopher's vintage paintings, reacquainting readers with the notable ways that an historic apostle can reset our realizing of the political. Breton starts with Paul's biography and the texts of his conversion, which problem universal conceptions of identification. He broaches the query of allegory and divine predestination, introduces the assumption of subjectivity as an influence of energy, and he confronts Paul's critique of legislation, which results in an exploration of the good judgment

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48 DISPOSSESSING BEAUTY: THE “CRITICAL INSTANCE” Second, Breton notes with admiration here and elsewhere the absence of “humanism” in the Paulinism of Bultmann. The crucifixion of the messianic figure heralds the impossibility of closing off onto a purely immanent, identitarian sphere, the cosmos or humanity, as if to reduce such things to their recognizable theoretical or practical role (in Heideggerian terms, of the Vorhanden and Zuhanden of a culture). 49 Finally, and in the third twist of the single screw that is the null part, Breton presents Bultmann in a favorable light inasmuch as the biblical scholar opposed the cross to “private property” as a variation of the humanist egocentrism and its world of consumable (or, readily available) identities and actions.

Against such a refusal of comparison and the mutual explications comparison yields, Breton refuses in turn to reduce the expansive labor of thought to a particular, posited moment whose effects are imagined now to be exhausted or fully played out, as if what they were is only what they are—or as if what they are is not itself already haunted by a future in which things may be otherwise. One sees indications of Breton’s refusal of the refusal of thought in his occasional suggestions that Paul has articulated structures or forms of thought without (apparently) working through the implications of these thought-forms, or when Breton suggests that Paul “ignored” various conceptual questions one could uncover in his writings (this is Breton’s judgment on some aspects of Paulinist thought regarding the community).

There can emerge, for example, an obsessive passion to purify “humanity” as if by way of a violent extension of this imperative to “nothing else,” identity becoming resolved only by way of a violent exclusion of what will count as “not” humanity. 23 Ideology, or simply a representable ensemble or cultural setup, finds within itself an irreparable desire to pierce through appearances, the fragile stability of the ensemble’s identity, and this in order to encounter this “void” directly. As Breton puts it, this impulse can result in the demand to sacrifice the ensemble itself for the sake of a pure encounter with the excess “beyond” its limits, and in such instances those within the cultural ensemble may be driven to acts of profound “enthusiasm” in their desire to rid themselves of this minimal voidance within the ensemble, within the heart of their collective project.

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