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A Ride on the Parataxis: Easy Competition

September 16, 2010

Those who have read the following theologian, will know immediately who it is. A footnote in the middle suggests that he has a particular theologian in his sights. Any guesses as to the author and his protagonist? This very parochial competition offers a prize for the first Dunedin based respondent with the correct names. Let’s see if the locals can beat the rest of the world.

“After the violence of crucifixion (which is the last drama totality can enact, its final word, its boundary), the resurrection is aesthetically (which is to say, historically) another thing; he who was dead is – literally – not dead now; this is an act of rebellion. It is not the beauty of the cross, but of the one crucified, that is rescued at Easter; God’s judgement vindicates Christ, his obedience unto death, but not the crucifixion…

…Christ was raised, and so the cross (every cross) is shown to be meaningless in itself; God is not there, and goes there only as the one who violates its boundaries, who disrupts the “hypotaxis” of the totality with the aneconomic “parataxis” of the beautiful, the anarchy (but not chaos) of the infinite. Theology is forbidden to extract any metaphysical comfort from the cross because the violence of crucifixion has been demystified; the crucifixion must not be subjected to the sacrificial logic of speculation, as it is, say, in any “death of God” theology (which recuperates the meaning of his death as the abolition of divine transcendence), or of any theology that makes of the cross a necessary moment for God, a taking into himself of suffering and death (which attributes to suffering and death a primordial autonomy, with which God is obliged to come to terms), because Easter unsettles every hermeneutics of death, every attempt to make death a place of meaning. Rather than seeing the resurrection as a speculative (that is, dialectical) tension that eternalizes the cross, theology must recognize it as a reversal of the narrative of violence that makes crucifixion seem meaningful. In the self-oblation of Christ (which is the entire motion of his life) God indeed comprehends suffering and death, but only as a finite darkness exceeded – and conquered – by an infinite light; God’s infinity embraces death by passing it by as though it is nothing at all and by making it henceforth a place of broken limits.”

9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 16, 2010 10:52 pm

    DB Hart, and Nicholas Lash.

  2. ann permalink
    September 16, 2010 10:59 pm

    No, I don’t agree with the last phrase about God’s infinity embracing death by passing it by as though it is nothing at all.
    Instead, let’s say that God takes ownership of death by dieing, and in owning it, it becomes a place for contact with God, for the next step, rather than a dead end.
    But death is not to be trivialized, for if it is that trivial, would God have Christ undergo death?

  3. September 17, 2010 12:16 am

    @jason: nearly but not quite

    @ann: I guess Christ underwent death to undo its power over us, in this sense to take its sting and as dbh puts it reverse the narrative of violence that the sting of death creates. In this sense death is put in its place. I’m not sure that this is a trivialisation of death. It is certainly a rebellion against taking death too seriously.

    • September 17, 2010 12:17 am

      oops I’ve given away half the answer

    • ann permalink
      September 17, 2010 2:24 pm

      dbh: I wouldn’t want to miss the significance of what Christ did regarding death by only ‘not taking it too seriously.’ I think that neglects the tranformative act from taking death as something to be feared, something outside of control of God, so to speak, into something that God now owns, and thus is not to be feared because God has annexed the realm of death.
      On the other hand, death should still be respected, for the reminder that we have only a set of successive ‘present’ moments to be disciples or lukewarm hobbyists. But yes, the sense of not taking death too seriously does resonate, as it shouldn’t be the center of ones focus anymore.

  4. September 17, 2010 12:28 am

    Please don’t tell me it’s MacKinnon. Perhaps Jüngel?

  5. September 17, 2010 12:30 am

    I mean, DB Hart and Jüngel?

  6. Deane permalink
    September 17, 2010 1:22 am

    Google Books is cheating, Jason.

  7. September 17, 2010 1:38 am

    Jungel and D B Hart is correct. It comes from the critique of ‘tragedy’ as a theological category in MacKinnon, Lash and Jungel.

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