The Self-Emptying Subject Book Event: Angels and Flies

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Beatrice Marovich is an assistant professor of theological studies at Hanover College. She works at the intersection of philosophy and theology and is currently working on a book called Creature Feeling: Political Theology and Animal Mortality.

Gilles Deleuze was no great proponent of theology. But he did recognize a kind of potency that was present, at least historically, in the concept of God. In a lecture on the early modern work of Spinoza, Deleuze posed that, prior to the 17th century, the figure of God gave philosophers a kind of creative freedom. This is not to say, of course, that these thinkers weren’t constrained in many ways by church authority. But, Deleuze suggests, philosophers were nevertheless able to work with these constraints in order to render them, instead, “a means of fantastic creation.” Working with the figure of God offered these thinkers a kind of conceptual opportunity—to think right alongside a figure that was, itself, entirely free of constraints. “With God,” Deleuze suggests, “everything is permitted.” Concepts, when pushed up against the figure of God, became free of the task of representation. Concepts could take on “lines, colors, movements” they would never have had “without this detour through God.” There was, Delezue suggests, a kind of joy in this intellectual labor.

For Deleuze, the creative joy of thinking with God was essentially a thing of the past. But in The Self-Emptying Subject: Kenosis and Immanence, Medieval to Modern Alex Dubilet seizes upon this old conceptual opportunity like it’s a live wire. Alex is not particularly interested in doing theology, at least not in the manner that contemporary academic theologians tend to self-consciously understand their intellectual labor. But Alex is invested in, as he puts it, “deactivating the battlefield of disciplinary polemics” that draws and re-draws the methodological boundary lines between religious and philosophical discourses over and over and over again. “Before we are philosophers or theologians, we are readers and thinkers,” Alex writes. And so, against these embittered polemics, Alex confounds the disciplinary boundaries between philosophy and theology, refusing to allow his project to be contained by either normatively religious or secular discursive limits. He takes some of his own detours through the figure of God. And he seems to find a contemplative but irreverent joy in this intellectual adventure. Yet he doesn’t stay on those roads, either. Instead he charts a winding footpath along the edges of philosophical and theological thought that is much more enticingly odd, and singular.

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God: The Autobiography

This is not a recommendation, as I know neither the book nor the author. But, I just got word of it via email, and thought it might interest some of you. (It also gave me occasion to create, after years of avoidance, “God” as a post category.)

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In the month of July we are pleased to offer you God: The Autobiography, a selection from our summer crop of Chicago Shorts.
Franco Ferrucci’s God: The Autobiography begins the story of his creation. But, says god, “I admit, right from the start, that it was foolish to create winter … for all my love of the light I still have my dark side. Winter wasn’t my only half-baked idea.” Ferrucci’s god is, in the words of Umberto Eco, “a supreme but imperfect entity” and the “extraordinary” story Ferrucci concocts is “religiously enlightened and orthodoxically heretical.” The god of this autobiography is a tender and troubled soul, in need of understanding companions—and readers.
Get your free e-book of God: The Autobiography during the month of July. Enjoy!
God: The Autobiography is a DRM-free EPUB, readable on a wide range of devices. All titles in the Chicago Shorts series are DRM-free with no artificial ingredients or preservatives.