The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity

Series: Short Circuits

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One of our most daring intellectuals offers a Lacanian interpretation of religion, finding that early Christianity was the first revolutionary collective. 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.