Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

Back to Saint Paul: The Interaction and Tension Between Contemporary Radical Leftist Theory and Christian Theology

Author: SUN Haiyang, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Marxism Studies, Renmin University of China



In recent years, European and American leftist thinkers have initiated a “Pauline Renaissance” which can be found in the writings of Alain Badiou, Slavoj Žižek and Giorgio Agamben. These thinkers are not theologians or religious scholars, nor are they Christians, but they all have chosen to reinterpret the Letter to the Romans from a political-philosophical perspective, trying to find sources for their thinking in the post-modern context. This “theological turn” in their critical theory actually contains an interaction and tension between these contemporary radical leftist theories and Christian theology proper. Based on detailed analysis of texts, and presenting a brief introduction to the problematic framework of these thinkers as well as their historical circumstances, the author describes the revolutionary implications in this “theological turn” of leftist theorists, which has been the core of western Marxism since Georg Lukas. This is both a study of comparative interpretations of Romans and a study of political subjects in the era of post-politics. The author argues that the main reason why Badiou, Žižek and Agamben turn to St. Paul and reinterpret Romans is that there is an implicit association between subjects of belief and political subjects, through which they can escape the present crisis of identity politics and revolutionary subjects fostered by multiculturalism, and consequently open a space of possibility between objective situation and subjective action. 



Radical Leftist Theory, Paul, Universalism, Subjectivity, Christian Theology


Full Text (International Version):

SUN HaiyangSCN JSCC.pdf


Full Text (Simplified Chinese Version): 

SUN HaiyangSCN JSCC.pdf