Archives For Slavoj Zizek


Slavoj Zizek

Watch this video, the first ever biographical interview of Slavoj Zizek.

The interviewer is George Elerick, author of [easyazon_link asin=”1846945100″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Jesus Bootlegged[/easyazon_link]

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Slavoj Zizek

Today is the birthday of Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek…

His latest book is:

Žižek’s Jokes
(Did you hear the one about Hegel and Negation?)

Hardback: MIT Press, 2014.
Buy now:   [ [easyazon-link asin=”0262026716″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]   [ [easyazon-link asin=”B00ININ3YQ” locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]

Zizek on John Howard Yoder

Here are two of my favorite short videos in which he explains his economic theory:


[easyazon-link keywords=”Slavoj Žižek” locale=”us”]Other Books by Slavoj Zizek[/easyazon-link]

IMAGE CREDIT: “Slavoj Zizek in Liverpool” Creative Commons License via Wikimedia Commons.


An excerpt from the new book:
God in Pain: Inversions of the Apocalypse.
Slavoj Žižek and Boris Gunjevi?.
Watch for our review by Tripp York
(author of the delightfully-titled The Devil Wears Nada) in our next print issue…

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A Brief Reflection on
Slavoj  Žižek’s use of John Howard Yoder
In his New Book:

Living in the End Times.
Hardback: Verso Books, 2010.
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]

By Chris Smith

[ Watch a video of Žižek talking about this new book… ]

This will not be a full review, as I am taking my time working through Slavoj Žižek’s new book Living in the End Times; I’m only about a third of the way through the book and savoring every word as I go.  However, since the book has been out for a few months, I thought that a reflection on Žižek’s brief reference to the work of John Howard Yoder in this new volume might fit well with the content of the current issue.   Before I get to Yoder, however, allow me first to summarize the project that Žižek is undertaking here.   Starting with the premise that global capitalism is in the last days before its collapse (a premise based on the evidence of ecological crisis, widening social and economic divides and the biogenetic revolution), Žižek makes a pointed and convincing case that humankind’s collective response to the reality of the imminent collapse of capitalism parallels the traditional five stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, withdrawal and finally, acceptance.  His work here demonstrates as clearly as any of his previous works that he is – as I have argues before in these pages – one of the keenest critics of global capitalism, to whom the Church must lend an ear as we seek to discern the signs of the times.

Žižek uses Yoder to critique some of the “anger” response to the collapsing of capitalism, the (very) basic line of his argument is that such anger is rooted in despair, but he offers Yoder’s work as a counter-example of hope that a different non-capitalist form of society is possible:  i.e., the Church.  He offers a sympathetic reading of Yoder, saying:

Yoder did not reject Constantinianism on behalf of an ascetic withdrawal of believers from social life:  aware of the limitations of democracy, he understood “being Christian” as involving a non-reconciled political standpoint.  The primary responsibility of Christians is not to take over society and impose their convictions and values on people who do not share their faith, but to “be the church.”  By refusing to repay evil with evil, by living in peace and sharing goods, the church bears witness to the fact that there is an alternative to a society based on violence or the threat of violence (129).

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“That Most Reluctant of Critical Theorists

A review of
Paul, Philosophy, and the Theopolitical Vision.
Douglas Harink, editor.

Reviewed by Matthew Kaul.

Paul, Philosophy, and the Theopolitical Vision.
Douglas Harink, editor.

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2010.
Buy now: [ Wipf and Stock ]

Paul, Philosophy and the Theopolitical Vision - Harink, ed.As with the last volume I reviewed on this subject, Saint Paul among the Philosophers, this volume is a compilation of essays originally given as talks at a conference. As with any compilation of conference papers, the challenge the editor of this volume faces lies in covering the greatest possible breadth of material from the conference while at the same time maintaining some sort of coherent, logical organization, some sense of the book as a coherent whole rather than a series of only tangentially related chapters.

Unfortunately, too frequently the price of coherence is repetition: essays cover the same ground in setting up and making their arguments, seemingly unaware that other chapters have already done their work for them. This volume does not entirely escape that difficulty; at the end of the book, the reader will have read enough paraphrases of Agamben and Badiou to make her feel right at home in an English department grad student lounge or an emerging church pub-and-theology night. Nevertheless, the volume is in many ways a great success, particular in opening up suggestive new insights into how theology and philosophy might more fruitfully interact regarding that most reluctant of critical theorists, the apostle Paul.

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A Brief Review of

St. Paul among the Philosophers.
Ed. John D. Caputo and Linda Martín Alcoff
Paperback: Indiana University Press, 2009.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Matthew Kaul.

The problem of Paul’s relationship to the Christian tradition is long-standing that has generated particular attention recently with the rise of the so-called “New Perspective on Paul” and the debates this movement has generated. Most notable, perhaps, has been the interchange between Anglican scholar and bishop N.T. Wright and neo-Reformed pastor John Piper. To simplify matters greatly, should Paul be understood as a Jewish theologian who intended not to found a new religion but rather to incorporate Gentiles into Judaism? Or is Paul rather a founder, whose thought represents a break from the Jewish identity in which it was formed, and who provided a theological structure around which the event of Christ’s death and resurrection could be understood?

These questions represent the core of the contemporary discussion, and they have been taken up by philosophers and historians, including many who have no involvement or interest in institutional Christianity. Saint Paul among the Philosophers, a collection of papers first given at a 2005 Syracuse University conference, brings together many of these thinkers for a discussion of Paul’s legacy and the value of his thought today. The value of the collection lies primarily in its clear outlining of the stakes of the debates surrounding Paul, more than any particular solutions its confluence of scholars offer.

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Slavoj Zizek gives a talk at the Harvard Book store related to his recent book The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic? (a conversation with John Milbank).

Part 1/8:

Part 2/8:

Click here for Parts 3-8


“Whither Violence?”

A Review of
Six Sideways Reflections
by Slavoj Zizek.

By Chris Smith.

Violence: Six Sideways Reflections.
Slavoj Zizek.
Paperback.  Picador. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $11 ] [ Amazon ]


Zizek - VIOLENCEFor some time now, I have wanted to dive into a book by the iconoclastic philosopher and cultural theorist, Slavoj Zizek.  I have read a number of pieces online by or about him, but hadn’t gotten around to reading one of his books.  So, when his newest book Violence was released by Picador this summer, I jumped at the chance to read and review it.

            Before I examine the content of the book, allow me a few words about Zizek’s style which I had heard was fast-paced and eccentric.  There was hardly a page of this book on which Zizek’s arguments weren’t punctuated by an illustration from history, philosophy, literature or film.  At one point in the book’s epilogue, he flows from an examination of the Stalinist revolution in Russia to an example from an Agatha Christie story to an analogy from quantum physics.  Zizek also has an uncanny ability to find unexpected points from which to view the subject at hand – which is undoubtedly why this book was sub-titled “Six Sideways Reflections.”  A prime example of Zizek’s peculiar perspective is the anecdote with which he begins the book:

 There is an old story about a worker suspected of stealing. Every evening as he leaves the factory, the wheelbarrow that he rolls in front of him is carefully inspected.  The guards can find nothing.  It is always empty.  Finally, the penny drops: what the worker is stealing is the wheelbarrows themselves (1)”

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Halden Doerge reflects on
Slavoj Zizek’s new book Violence 


“I’m currently reading Slavoj Žižek’s latest book, Violence: Six Sideways Reflections. The book it vintage Žižek, going off on somewhat related tangents frequently that are always thought-provoking and often entertaining. What is helpful about the book is the way in which it rightly complexifies talk of violence and peace. Žižek delineates three forms that violence takes, one which we are familiar with, and two which tend to happen below the surface of our perceptions about society. The first form of violence that Žižek describes is what we commonly think of as violence: the event of one person perpetrating harm on another. This Žižek calls “subjective violence.” It is clear and visible and it is always perpetrated by a guilty subject. The central thing to note about how we perceive this form of violence is that it is always an interruption into a prior background of tranquility and peace. First things are in a state of peace and then that peace is disrupted by an act of violence.  … ”


Read the full review: 

Slavoj Žižek.

Paperback. Picador. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $11 ] [ Amazon ]

Books and Culture reviews
Kathleen Norris’s newest book
Acedia and Me.

If Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett had waited a few years to perform their chart-topping hit so that they could first read Kathleen Norris’ new book Acedia & Me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer’s Life, they might have described more insightfully the “half-past twelve” tedium they were escaping for a “five-o’clock somewhere” drink. And country music aficionados like me might have understood better why we seek diversions from the daily tasks that seem so mind-numbingly routine.

Ever since Norris first encountered the word acedia in early monastic writings twenty years ago, she has been mulling it over, wiping the dust off this forgotten concept. In the book that grew out of that preoccupation, she examines her life—and her marriage in particular—in order to illustrate acedia’s characteristics, dangers, and cures, contemplating the many facets of this vice with the help of monks, psychologists, philosophers, poets, novelists, and pharmacologists.  …”

Read the full review:

Acedia and Me.
Kathleen Norris.
Hardcover. Riverhead. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $21] [ Amazon ]
Neal Stephenson’s newest novel

“A telling moment comes early in Anathem, Neal Stephenson’s latest mind-bogglingly ambitious epic saga. On the planet Arbre, mathematicians and philosophers have been segregated from the rest of humanity for a very, very long time. They live in “concents” — an intentional conflation of the words “concentration camp” and “convent.” As the story begins to unfold, our hero, Fraa Erasmus, is giving an outsider a tour of the concent’s main attraction, a magnificent clock that depends on the sun for daily synchronization.

In practiced tour guide patter, Erasmus casually observes: “But even during a nuclear winter, when it can be cloudy for a hundred years, the clock doesn’t get too far out of whack.”

The concent’s residents organize their lives according to a time scheme in which not just seasons, but nuclear winters, come and go. Outside the concent’s walls, the rest of humanity goes about its business like so many fast-food- and video-game-obsessed mayflies.


Read the full review:

Neal Stephenson.

Hardcover. Wm. Morrow. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $24 ] [ Amazon ]


Slavoj Zizek reviews Damming the Flood,
a new book on recent politics in Haiti.

“Noam Chomsky once noted that ‘it is only when the threat of popular participation is overcome that democratic forms can be safely contemplated.’ He thereby pointed at the ‘passivising’ core of parliamentary democracy, which makes it incompatible with the direct political self- organisation and self-empowerment of the people. Direct colonial aggression or military assault are not the only ways of pacifying a ‘hostile’ population: so long as they are backed up by sufficient levels of coercive force, international ‘stabilisation’ missions can overcome the threat of popular participation through the apparently less abrasive tactics of ‘democracy promotion’, ‘humanitarian intervention’ and the ‘protection of human rights.’

This is what makes the case of Haiti so exemplary. As Peter Hallward writes in Damming the Flood, a detailed account of the ‘democratic containment’ of Haiti’s radical politics in the past two decades, “never have the well-worn tactics of ‘democracy promotion’ been applied with more devastating effect than in Haiti between 2000 and 2004”. One cannot miss the irony of the fact that the name of the emancipatory political movement which suffered this international pressure is Lavalas, or ‘flood’ in Creole: it is the flood of the expropriated who overflow the gated communities that protect those who exploit them.


Read the full review:

Damming the Flood:
Haiti, Aristide and the Politics of Containment.
Peter Hallward.
Paperback. Verso. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $24 ] [ Amazon ]

The Law and Politics Book Review reviews
The Importance of Being Honest:
How Lying, Secrecy and
Collide with the Trust in Law

by Steven Lubet

The beginning of August means I read a book on teaching, and my pick this year has been all and much more than I expected. It is by Ken Bain and is called What the Best College Teachers Do. This book deserves to be in the library of every pastor and church educator; parents would do well to let it shape parenting. There are two basic approaches to education:


Some think it is “information download.” Teacher knows; teacher informs; student doesn’t know; student absorbs. Student answers tests; teacher grades. This is the teacher model.


Others think it is about “motivating students.” The teacher may be the knower, but the student is a learner. The teacher’s task is to design an environment that puts students in learning situations so they can learn, the teacher can give feedback, and then assess or evaluate the student. This is the learner model.


Questions for the teaching dimension of church ministry: Is the role of the pastor a teacher? Is preaching teaching? What happens if churches reshape their “educational” programs according to the “learning model”?

… “

Read the full review:

The Importance of Being Honest:
How Lying, Secrecy and
Collide with the Trust in Law

Steven Lubet
Hardcover. NYUP. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $23] [ Amazon ]

The Book Nook of The Dayton Daily News
Reviews Gene Logsdon’s newest novel:
The Last of the Husbandmen.

Gene Logsdon lives at what he describes as a ‘small-scale experimental farm’ in north-central Ohio. He raises sheep, cultivates a variety of crops and writes books — more than two dozen thus far.


He imparts his wisdom in memoirs like “You Can Go Home Again” and “Adventures of a Contrary Life.” A passion for farm ponds led him to write “The Pond Lovers.”


A real Renaissance Man, Logsdon even writes fiction, most recently “The Last of the Husbandmen: A Novel of the Farming Life.” Set in an Ohio farming community, it traces the lives of two young men, Ben and Emmet. In 1940, as the story begins, they are embarking on very different paths.


Ben’s life is the central focus here. He is a husbandman, a follower of the old ways. He loves farming. His character is clearly a mouthpiece for the author’s viewpoints on agriculture. Ben’s family is poor. His father, Nat, a German veteran of World War I, came to this country after the war and scraped together the money to buy a farm by distilling moonshine whiskey.


Emmet, Ben’s best friend, is a spoiled rich kid. His family owns a huge farm and the bank. Their town bears his family name. WWII changes his luck. Emmet goes to war and experiences horrors.

“The Last of the Husbandmen” reads like a parable. Emmet is the grasshopper, fiddling with crazy schemes that lead to disaster. Ben is the ant, steady and industrious, storing away the fruit of his labors to keep him happy and warm all winter. Logsdon addresses his readers through Ben.


This uplifting book had a few surprises. A scary episode with the Ku Klux Klan morphs into slapstick. A murder occurs during a land dispute, and Logsdon pulls out all the stops for a drunken funeral that would do Lake Wobegon proud. …”

Read the full review:

Gene Logsdon.
The Last of The Husbandmen.

Paperback. Ohio Univ. Press. 2008.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $14 ] [ Amazon ]