Unspeakable: James W. Douglass, non-violence, and political murder

Eric Wilson

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When Slavoj Zizek made his “scandalous” (skandalon) claim that Gandhi was more violent than Hitler, he may have only dimly perceived the full eschatological implications of his tireless self-promotion. Zizek’s meaning is that violence against the symbolic order (Gandhi), no matter how “otherwordly,” is of vastly greater transformative potential than any physical war against the Real (Hitler), no matter how materially destructive.2 Zizek’s deployment of Gandhi here—with all of the obvious parallels with Jesus of Nazareth—cannot be a coincidence. Apart from the Resurrection itself, the greatest scandal of Apostolic Christianity is the endlessly subversive juxtaposition between the symbolic order of the Kingdom of God as against the tyrannical violence of the Real; for Christ, the Roman Imperium. The supreme moment of political subversion within the New Testament—“Render unto Caesar…”—may, within Zizek’s terms, be understood as a clandestine strategy of the asymmetrical deployment of a transformative symbolic order against the violence of the Real.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Directions for Catholic Social and Political Research
Subtitle of host publicationHumanity vs. Hyper-Modernity
EditorsGuido Giacomo Preparata
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9783319338736
ISBN (Print)9783319338729
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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