Materialism, dialectics, and theology in Alain Badiou

Critical Research on Religion 2 (1):38-54 (2014)
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Abstract

This article examines the relationship between materialism, dialectics, and theology in Alain Badiou's work. The first three sections of the article focus on Badiou's reading of Hegelian dialectics in his 1982 work, Theory of the Subject. The first section accounts for Badiou's splitting of Hegel into an idealist and materialist dialectic, and presents an exposition of the latter. The second section outlines Badiou's critical analysis of the theological model implicit in Hegel's dialectics. The third section investigates the core of this criticism through a discussion of Badiou's reading of the “negation of the negation.” The remaining four sections examine the anti-dialectical interpretation of the Christ-event that Badiou presents in his book Saint Paul. Here the article illustrates how Badiou's insistence on separating the death of Christ from the resurrection is linked to his rejection of the doctrines of Trinity and Incarnation, and how this drives Badiou towards idealism.

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Mads Peter Karlsen
Copenhagen Business School

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