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Finding Lacan : St Paul and the Paradox of Jouissance

Dyck, Jordan Paul (2017) Finding Lacan : St Paul and the Paradox of Jouissance. Doctoral thesis, Staffordshire University.

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Over the last few decades there has been a renewed interest in St Paul by continental philosophers, many of them from Lacanian traditions. This has arisen independent of the revolutionary developments in Pauline theology over the same period. This thesis bridges the gap between them, as a Lacanian study of Paul that is faithfully Lacanian and faithfully Pauline. Lacan’s thesis that the unconscious is structured like a language, and some of the accompanying structures he discovered, are found in Paul’s theology.
Finding Lacan in Paul poses new solutions to many of the dilemmas facing both Lacanian readings of Paul and Pauline scholarship itself. A more faithfully Lacanian (and less Hegelian) version of Slavoj Žižek’s Paul loses none of his political usefulness, without requiring atheism. The Pauline ‘event’ as Alain Badiou describes it is described again through Lacan, in a way that fits better with Pauline scholarship, allowing equal importance to both the death and resurrection of Christ. Refusing to sacrifice an authentically Lacanian understanding of ‘alienation’ forces a more nuanced reading of Paul than some other similar attempts; but it also reframes what some Paul scholars mean when they claim that in Christ the believer undergoes an ontological transformation.
Inserting a Lacanian Paul into the modern philosophical discourse reveals a Paul who can be politically meaningful beyond his relation to ‘Empire.’ Interwoven in this is a reading of Paul opposed to Stoicism, revealed by qualifying Stoic ethics as obsessional neurotic in structure. This reading of Paul against Stoicism helps to demonstrate Paul’s relation to the ‘master signifiers’ of his time, which also helps to clarify what happened in Pauline Christian ‘conversions,’ and provides another way to theorise about what Paul might mean for today. This thesis demonstrates that Lacan’s concepts are helpful to Pauline scholarship, and that they are not irreconcilable with the historical critical method, in the hope that many more Lacanian Pauls might emerge in the future.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty: School of Creative Arts and Engineering > Humanities and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Jeffrey HENSON
Date Deposited: 16 Jun 2017 14:10
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2017 14:10
URI: http://eprints.staffs.ac.uk/id/eprint/3464

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