The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity

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Slavoj Zizek has been called "an academic rock star" and "the wild man of theory"; his writing mixes astonishing erudition and references to pop culture in order to dissect current intellectual pieties. In The Puppet and the Dwarf he offers a close reading of today's religious constellation from the viewpoint of Lacanian psychoanalysis. He critically confronts both predominant versions of today's spirituality—New Age gnosticism and deconstructionist-Levinasian Judaism—and then tries to redeem the "materialist" kernel of Christianity. His reading of Christianity is explicitly political, discerning in the Pauline community of believers the first version of a revolutionary collective. Since today even advocates of Enlightenment like Jurgen Habermas acknowledge that a religious vision is needed to ground our ethical and political stance in a "postsecular" age, this book—with a stance that is clearly materialist and at the same time indebted to the core of the Christian legacy—is certain to stir controversy.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A witty, informative trip... both erudite and accessible...." Rick Mitchell Leonardo Reviews

"His writing is bold, confident and contentious." Julian Baggini The Philosopher's Magazine

" The Puppet and the Dwarf is Zizek"s most compelling and passionate writing on Christianity to date." Erik Davis Bookforum

"Quite possibly the most entertaining philosopher working today. Zizek knows how to think the unthinkable." Jori Finkel Village Voice

"Slavoj Zizek may have the strongest 'brand identity'... of any cultural theorist now in the marketplace of ideas." Scott McLemee The Chronicle of Higher Education

"Zizek is the first Marxist to write theology in a post-marxist,post-secular age." Eugene McCarraher In These Times

"... Zizek mixes Pauline speculations with analyses of everything from G.

K. Chesterton to chocolate eggs." Terry Eagleton TLS

"Zizek rarely fails to entertain...." Charles Seymour Library Journal

Library Journal
Marxism and Christianity, although opposed in so many ways, share an absolutism that appears quaint in these postmodern times. iek (philosophy, Univ. of Ljubljana, Croatia) is thus doubly countercultural, since the Hegelian thesis of this work is that "to become a true dialectical materialist, one should go through the Christian experience." In the first two chapters, the most accessible of the book, iek argues with sarcastic verve against some verities of contemporary liberalism. In the middle chapter, a discussion of ontology, the book rises to its acme of theorizing, a difficult climb for readers not acclimatized to the rarified atmosphere of Lacanian and Hegelian thought. In the remaining chapters, iek penetrates to the Marxist core of Christianity by radically reinterpreting traditional doctrines. His arguments are sometimes far-fetched and his interpretations of Scripture highly eisegetical (i.e., reading ideas into a text, instead of drawing meaning out). But iek rarely fails to entertain with his Nietszchean contrariness and his dazzling facility for illustrating philosophical points with apt pop culture references. Of interest to academic libraries with strong holdings in continental philosophy, religious studies, or liberal theology.-Charles Seymour, Wayland Baptist Univ. Lib., Plainview, TX Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262740258
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 10/12/2003
  • Series: Short Circuits
  • Pages: 196
  • Sales rank: 823,585
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Slavoj Žižek is a philosopher and cultural critic. He is the author of more than thirty books, including Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture, The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity, The Parallax View, and (with John Milbank) The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialect, these four published by the MIT Press.

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Table of Contents

Series Foreword
Introduction: The Puppet Called Theology 2
1 When East Meets West 12
2 The "Thrilling Romance of Orthodoxy" 34
3 The Swerve of the Real 58
4 From Law to Love ... and Back 92
5 Subtraction, Jewish and Christian 122
App.: Ideology Today 144
Notes 173
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