Stanislas Breton's A Radical Philosophy of Saint Paul, which focuses on the political implications of the apostle's writings, was an instrumental text in Continental philosophy's contemporary "turn to religion." Reading Paul's work against modern thought and history, Breton helped launch a reassessment of Marxism, introduce secular interpretations of biblical and theological traditions, develop "radical negativity" as a critical category, and rework modern political ideas through a theoretical lens. Newly translated and critically situated, this edition takes a fresh approach to Breton's classic work, reacquainting readers with the remarkable ways in which an ancient apostle can reset our understanding of the political. Breton begins with Paul's biography and the texts of his conversion, which challenge common conceptions of identity. He broaches the question of allegory and divine predestination, introduces the idea of subjectivity as an effect of power, and confronts Paul's critique of Law, which leads to an exploration of the logics and limits of agency and power.
Breton develops these and other insights in relation to Paul's subversive reflections on the crucified messiah, which challenge meaning and reason and upend our current world order. Neither a coherent theologian nor a stable humanist, Breton's Paul becomes a fascinating figure of excess and madness, experiencing a kind of being that transcends philosophy, secularity, and religion.
Stanislas Breton (1912-2005) was a renowned French theologian and philosopher who taught at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris and the Institut Catholique of Paris and Lyon. His books in English include The Word and the Cross. Ward Blanton is senior lecturer in the School of Critical Studies at the University of Glasgow. His first book, Displacing Christian Origins: Philosophy, Secularity, and the New Testament, was shortlisted for best first book in the history of religions by the American Academy of Religion. His second book is A Materialism for the Masses: Paul and Radical Philosophy. Joseph N. Ballan is a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Dispossessed Life: Introduction to Breton's Paul Ward Blanton A Radical Philosophy of Saint Paul Preface 1. Biographical Outline 2. Hermeneutics and Allegory 3. Jesus the Christ: Faith and the Law 4. The Pauline Cosmos 5. The Church According to Saint Paul 6. The Cross of Christ Notes Bibliography