Heythrop Journal 52 (2):234-249 (2011)

A tension runs through the lucidly militant work of Alain Badiou. It takes various shapes, such as the tension between the rigorous ontology of mathematics and the structures of narrative, or between fiction and argument, image and formula, poem and matheme, or Anglo-American analytic rationalism and continental lyricism. However, the shape of that tension that interests me most is between the triumphant banishing of theology via mathematics and its perpetual recurrence in his thought. For all Badiou’s efforts to dismiss theology as the philosophy of the ‘One’, for all his efforts to read Pascal, Kierkegaard or Paul as exemplars of the ‘event’ without buying into the belief system they purvey, for all his dismissals of the pious myth or fabulous core of Christianity, it seems as though he cannot avoid theology. The question then is whether this philosopher who is ‘rarely suspected of harbouring Christian zeal’ may actually provide an insight or two into theology. The texts on which I base my reading are Being an Event, the short book on Paul, Logiques des Mondes, especially the section on Kierkegaard, and parts of the disparate collection, Theoretical Writings. A rather formidable collection, to say the least. In what follows I begin by considering the absolute blockage of theology in Badiou’s philosophy, specifically through his banishment of the One. And yet, despite his best efforts to seal his system against theology, it has an uncanny knack of returning. I am particularly interested in the way theology has a ghostly presence in what appears for all the world like a fifth ‘procedure of truth’ (alongside the four pillars of art, science, politics and love), in his enthusiastic affirmations of Pascal and Kierkegaard, and the play between fable and truth in his engagement with the apostle Paul
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-2265.2010.00641.x
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On Alain Badiou’s ‘Critique of Religion’.Mads Peter Karlsen - 2018 - International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 79 (1-2):36-59.

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