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By the Apostle Saint. Paul; the Apostle Saint. Paul; Breton, Stanislas

Newly translated and significantly positioned, this variation of a thorough Philosophy of Saint Paul takes a clean method of the philosopher's vintage paintings, reacquainting readers with the extraordinary ways that an old apostle can reset our knowing of the political. Breton starts off with Paul's biography and the texts of his conversion, which problem universal conceptions of id. He broaches the query of Read more...

summary: Newly translated and severely positioned, this version of a thorough Philosophy of Saint Paul takes a clean method of the philosopher's vintage paintings, reacquainting readers with the striking ways that an historical apostle can reset our realizing of the political. Breton starts off with Paul's biography and the texts of his conversion, which problem universal conceptions of id. He broaches the query of allegory and divine predestination, introduces the assumption of subjectivity as an impact of strength, and he confronts Paul's critique of legislations, which results in an exploration of the common sense

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Against such a refusal of comparison and the mutual explications comparison yields, Breton refuses in turn to reduce the expansive labor of thought to a particular, posited moment whose effects are imagined now to be exhausted or fully played out, as if what they were is only what they are—or as if what they are is not itself already haunted by a future in which things may be otherwise. One sees indications of Breton’s refusal of the refusal of thought in his occasional suggestions that Paul has articulated structures or forms of thought without (apparently) working through the implications of these thought-forms, or when Breton suggests that Paul “ignored” various conceptual questions one could uncover in his writings (this is Breton’s judgment on some aspects of Paulinist thought regarding the community).

13 Breton is no historian of Paul, but I wish all historians could teach us so much, and so efficiently, about the intractably politico-theological history of Western thought within which Paul and Paulinism have lived, moved, and had being in and through our own time. With Breton, one does not always learn what some of the best recent historiography is able to tell us about the apostle. Above all, it seems to me, Breton generally has no inkling about a possible way to historicize Paul more radically than Lutheran interpretations did for centuries.

Of course, by wiring ancient metaphysical (and, I am quick to note, sometimes anti- or post-metaphysical) axioms into the apocalyptic and mystical world of Paulinist insurgency, metaphysics (as well as the limits of metaphysical reasoning) lights up with a strange new hue as well. 9–12 imagines a teleological movement of divine intention, planning, and effective carrying through of an action to gather into God, by way of a cosmic Christ (Breton’s “copula of the universe”), ta panta (all things).

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