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Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism (Cultural Memory in the Present) Paperback – May 6, 2003


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Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism (Cultural Memory in the Present) + The Time That Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics) + The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity (Short Circuits)
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Product Details

  • Series: Cultural Memory in the Present
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (May 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804744718
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804744713
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Badiou introduces the reader to the notion that philosophy stands somewhere beyond the commonplace . . . [and] illustrates the way in which during [St. Paul's] time Paul decided that for God particularities such as nationality or sex are unimportant and therefore everybody is (compared to God) just a human being."—Peter Takac, Human Affairs: Postdisciplinary Humanities & Social Sciences

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Lost Lacanian on February 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
This fantastic little book is one of Badiou's best. The US was first introduced to Badiou with his book "Ethics"--and I believe it would benefit any reader to go to that book first before reading "Saint Paul." But for those who are aware of Badiou's overall project, this book will provide fascinating reading. Here, Badiou goes into why he thinks Universality is an important and indispencible concept for politics. He goes into how Global Capitalism has thrived off fractures and splinters in identity, and how constructing a universal community is necessary for any struggle against capitalism. He also goes into a detailed analysis of the subject through the figure of Saint Paul. If you are looking for an actual commentary on Saint Paul, then, this is not the book for you. If you already dislike, or do not understand what Badiou's is trying to accomplish, then, this book will do little for you. But, if you are truly intrigued by this philosopher, and if you are quite aware of his prose and dependence upon set theory and mathematical concepts, then, Saint Paul will be of great interest to you.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Neckar on November 13, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book provides a very novel insight not only on Paul but on Christian theology as well. One of the most interesting reflections is the differentiation between the philosophical discourse of wisdom (Greece), the prophetic discourse of signs (Israel) and the testimony of the event (Christianity). There is no pagan conformism to the laws of the universe nor a cryptic awaiting for a promise, but an event that concerns us all in terms of placing ourselves in a place beyond the automatism of the Law, in a world of Life. The main figure is not of the prophet or the philosopher but of the apostol, the one who testifies of a universal truth where there is no difference between I and the Other. Badiou's interpretation of Saint Paul does not compromise itself with received scholastic theology where there is a continuity of God with Being (analogia entis) nor with a postmodern theology where the promise is something to be kept differing forever in order to "do justice" to the Other.

Badiou provides a universalist theory that includes the difference but where there is no difference and boundaries for the sake of the ethical. No Jew nor Greek, no men nor women, to be all to all men.
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46 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Tron Honto on October 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
Badiou's extended essay on Paul may be a bit amateurish and crude from a theological and/or historical perspective [his intents and aims, he admits, are solely subjective], but despite this, it achieves a noteworthy amount of novel philosophical insight using the texts of Paul as a launchpad.
There are two sides to this book. On one hand, Badiou appears as a sort of atheist apologist for Paul, whom he seeks to clear of common insults against his person popular since Nietzsche and others (such as being a mysoginist, a despiser of earthly life, etc.) Badiou wants us to view Paul not in the popularized polemic distortion that pervades atheists in academia but rather as the prototypical 'poet-thinker of the event'.
On the other hand, in so far as one can say this of Paul, Badiou wants to extract from his portrayal a revolutionary philosophy of 'the event' and its founding of universiality. Here, the argument becomes complexly interwined with the words of Paul and Christian discourse; however, it brings with it a certain uncanny lucidity as the revolutionary universiality of the Resurrection in Paul's discourse sets the scene to disolve and overcome the particularities of the Judaic and Greek status quo.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By W. Jamison VINE VOICE on November 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is the first review I am doing as part of an attempt to become familiar with Alain Badiou despite having about twenty or so of his books to wade through since midsummer. The reason I have selected this one is because it has seemed the most interesting one so far even though the general theme of his work is certainly intriguing. How would Paul be interpreted as the foundation of Universalism? AB says that "Paul is an antiphilosophical theoretician of universality". P. 108 this is interesting when reading the works of Jonathan Edwards (see Jonathan Edwards and Justification edited by Josh Moody) since the nature of universality in justification by faith and who is a Christian are topics for him. "Paul is a poet-thinker of the event." P. 2 Perhaps this seems like a requirement. For every great painter must do a picture of Judith, for every writer must be a book dealing with Paul. "Paul's unprecedented gesture consists in subtracting truth from the communication grasp." P. 5 and "Without Paul's texts, the Christian message would remain ambiguous." P. 33 AB sums up Paul's teaching: "1. Faith is what saves us, not works. 2. We are no longer under the rule of law, but of grace." P. 74 (Notice this tie in with Moody on JE).
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