Displacing Christian Origins: Philosophy, Secularity, and the New Testament

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $20.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 31%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $20.00   
  • New (4) from $26.75   
  • Used (5) from $20.00   


Recent critical theory is curiously preoccupied with the metaphors and ideas of early Christianity, especially the religion of Paul. The haunting of secular thought by the very religion it seeks to overcome may seem surprising at first, but Ward Blanton argues that this recent return by theorists to the resources of early Christianity has precedent in modern and ostensibly secularizing philosophy, from Kant to Heidegger.

Displacing Christian Origins traces the current critical engagement of Agamben, Derrida, and Žižek, among others, back into nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century philosophers of early Christianity. By comparing these crucial moments in the modern history of philosophy with exemplars of modern biblical scholarship—David Friedrich Strauss, Adolf Deissmann, and Albert Schweitzer—Blanton offers a new way for critical theory to construe the relationship between the modern past and the biblical traditions to which we seem to be drawn once again.

An innovative contribution to the intellectual history of biblical exegesis, Displacing Christian Origins will promote informed and fruitful debate between religion and philosophy. 

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth A. Clark
“Ward Blanton asks in this innovative study, who has the property rights to the early Christianity legacy? The recent interest exhibited by Continental theorists in early Christianity, Blanton argues, has a  pre-history in the engagement of Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger with Christian origins, the backdrop against which they attempted to ground modern secularity. Examining the critical and philosophical engagements that deeply informed New Testament scholars D. F. Strauss, Adolf Deissmann, and Albert Schweitzer, Blanton uncovers a largely unrecognized strain in the making of modern biblical studies. Displacing Christian Origins is a call for a radical historicization of historical criticism of the Bible, as well as for a more theoretically-aware crossing—or breaking down—of disciplinary boundaries.”
Halvor Moxnes
“In this academic tour de force, Ward Blanton drags early scholarship on Jesus and Christian beginnings out of the closet of a history of an academic sub-discipline where it has been safely hidden. In a surprising but convincing move, he puts 19th and 20th New Testament scholarship in the context of the expansion of modern technology in the production and dissemination of literature. Thus, the construction of history becomes part of the production of modernity. Blanton shows in brilliantly sharp readings of Strauss and Schweitzer how they interacted with Hegel and Kant in a common search for Christian beginnings as a paradigm for identities of modernity. In a book that is intellectually challenging Blanton also manages to create in the reader a desire to engage in dialogue with history as a way of working through one’s own identity.”
Kenneth Reinhard
"In establishing a series of insightful conceptual and textual links between modern historical and theoretical New Testament studies, Ward Blanton’s remarkable book, Displacing Christian Origins, opens up a new possibility of post-secular critical thinking.  Blanton establishes unexpected and illuminating alliances between such key historical-hermeneutical Biblicists as Schleiermacher, Deissmann, and D.F. Strauss, on the one hand, and philosophers such as Hegel, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, on the other. Blanton’s thinking is informed throughout by questions of the relationship of religion and media—questions that derive in part from Heidegger, but take on compelling new forms in the light of recent work by Derrida, Weber, de Vries, Agamben, Badiou, and Zizek.  Blanton’s book is a rigorous project of interdisciplinary reading, attuned to the nuances that both distinguish biblical and philosophical thinking and allow for their mutual illumination."
The Bible and Critical Theory - Richard Walsh
"Blanton's work nicely underlines the importance of interdisciplinary work, particularly, between philosophy (theory) and biblical criticism. . . . Such historically chosen engagements may prove enlightening and enlivening for biblical criticism."
Journal for the Study of the New Testament - Alan Le Grys
"A penetrating study of aspects of the interaction between philosophy and biblical studies."
The Bible and Critical Theory
Blanton's work nicely underlines the importance of interdisciplinary work, particularly, between philosophy (theory) and biblical criticism. . . . Such historically chosen engagements may prove enlightening and enlivening for biblical criticism.

— Richard Walsh

Journal for the Study of the New Testament
A penetrating study of aspects of the interaction between philosophy and biblical studies.

— Alan Le Grys

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226056906
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 9/15/2007
  • Series: Religion and Postmodernism Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ward Blanton is lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Glasgow.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Interdisciplinary Maps of Religion and Secularity: Toward a Critical Present
Chapter One
Escape from the Biblical Aura: Hegel and Strauss on “Modern” Biblical Criticism
Chapter Two
The Mechanics of (Dis)Enchantment: Nietzsche and D. F. Strauss on the Production of Religious Texts in the Age of Industrial Media
Chapter Three
Paul’s Secretary: Heidegger’s Apostolic Light from the Ancient Near East
Chapter Four
Reason’s Apocalypse: Albert Schweitzer’s “Fully Eschatological” Jesus and the Collapse of Metaphysics
Displacing Christian Origins as Displacements of Religion and Secularity

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)