Notes from WTS 2010: Part One

Paul and Twentieth Century Philosophy in the Philosophical Theology Session

I listened to three fascinating presentations on the apostle Paul from a continental philosophical perspective, especially Alain Badiou, Jacques Derrida, and Slavoj Zizek.  I partly blame these three presenters for my current interest in Derrida and Zizek.

Some food for thought from the presentations:

  1. Paul’s thought on salvation: not individualistic.    Justice achieved without the law.  From the book
  2. Reading Derrida, Thinking Paul: On Justice

Justice, not righteousness should be the translation of the Greek word often translated as such. (as an added point, I would like to say the same for the German term for righteousness as justice as well.

Wickedness, then,  should be injustice.

Justice as law is different from Deconstruction is justice.

Derrida says that justice is infinite, rebellious, heterotopic.  Law as stability, calculable.  Justice is the experience.  Law is inherently violent.  Behind the law, there is the death penalty.

The Messiah is the Justice of God.

Both the Law of Rome and Jews is what Paul is protesting.

Paul thinks that the law can make one aware of injustice.

There is a difference between Justice of the Spirit vs. Justice of the flesh

Jesus is the Great Criminal according to Derrida.

  1. Paul and Badiou

Simply:  Badiou badly misinterprets Paul.  Death (crucifixion) all negated by the Resurrection, an ahistorical kernel.

What about hegemony?

  1. Giorgio Agamben: division of division in Paul.  Multiplicity of groups, like the remnant.  Alternative Messianic community.

0 thoughts on “Notes from WTS 2010: Part One

  1. irishanglican

    In my opinion, Derrida simply does “not” understand the Jewish and the judical of the Law of God. Even James can say: “You have condemned and put to death the righteous man; and he does not resist you.” (James 5:6)

  2. Brian LePort

    When it says that Paul oppossed Roman law does it mean he oppossed the current state of their law (in need of reform) or law in general (in need of “freedom”/anarchy?)?

  3. Joel

    I am. Read it in context. James, which is written in the Wisdom method, is talking about his brother, who was the Wisdom and Power of God. Further, James is speaking about the wealth of the world, the ruling classes, which killed Christ.

    It is most certainly an allusion to the Righteous Man in Wisdom.

  4. irishanglican

    Again, I am not so sure? It is obviously wisdom material, but James might be using it in both ways, as to Christ, both righeous and innocent. And of course the rich, etc.
    *I don’t see James as the “blood” brother of Jesus, but as either the son of Joseph (the Orthodox), or as his cousin (Rome and the West).

  5. Joel

    You may see it that way, but that does more injustice to the text than necessary.

    Further, as we note with Luke 23.47 in which Christ is called Righteous as well – and to go further, Luke uses Wisdom as a base as well. Most modern translators use ‘innocent’ instead.

    What is James saying?

    Christ suffered and died without fighting back – lamb led to the slaughter – so too must we be nonviolent.

    I note that the same method of vindication found during this time is prevalent in James as well – which is institutionalized in Wisdom. The death of the Righteous Man and the vindication during the visitation.

  6. irishanglican


    We would agree somewhat. My point is also, that James has a Christological and soteriological thought in verse 5: 7. This would follow the other Apostolic writings, and the Apostles themselves! Christ was rejected and died “innocent”. My line here is also the position of some of the Church Fathers.

  7. Pingback: Wisdom’s Righteous Man as James’ Example of Suffering and Vindication | Joel L. Watts

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