Alain Badiou. St. Paul: The Foundation of Universalism. Tran. Ray Brassier. Stanford: Stanford University Press, pgs. St. Paul: The. Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism: Alain Badiou, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, pp. $ Show all authors. Christopher Morse1. Alain Badiou, Saint Paul-The Foundation of Universalism Reviewed By. The Obliteration of Truth by Management: Badiou, St. Paul and the Question of.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us baddiou the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Saint Paul by Alain Badiou. The Foundation of Universalism by Alain Badiou. In this bold and provocative work, French philosopher Alain Badiou proposes a startling reinterpretation of St. For Badiou, Paul is neither the venerable saint embalmed by Christian tradition, nor the venomous priest execrated by philosophers like Nietzsche: In this work, Badiou argues that Paul delineates a new figure of the subject: Badiou shows that the Pauline figure of apain subject still harbors a genuinely revolutionary potential today: Paperbackpages.

Published May 6th by Stanford University Press first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Saint Paulplease sign up. Lists with This Book. View all 3 comments. Jan 02, Karl Steel rated it really liked it Shelves: My first Badiou, and it would feel as if it were my first Paul, had it not univeraalism for my fundy upbringing. This is a Paul freed from the “religious thaumaturgy[, This is a Paul unkversalism Hell, without any interest in the words or life of Christ, whose only interest in Christianity is in the resurrection, badkou the universal address articulated on the site of Judaism.

Saint Paul. The Foundation of Universalism

foundarion It’s a Paul that would be completely unfamiliar to the church that raised me. It’s still not as atheist as all that, despite Badiou’s claims for his secular bona fides and despite his repeated assertions of his nonbelief in the resurrection. After all, he takes the literal existence of Jesus for granted, and, more to the point, he’s reading Paul, not, say, Rashi or some other figure typically excluded from the so-called Western and especially “French” tradition. Thus he remains French, despite his disdain for “French identitarian fanaticism” as evidenced in Le Pen and French anti-veiling laws.

And He still calls the Hebrew scriptures the “Old Testament”! He takes Paul’s statements about the constraints of the Jewish law for granted and he may be as credulous when it comes to Paul’s attitudes towards Greek philosophyand he engages in what strikes me as special pleading about Paul’s attitudes towards women preachers and note Badiou’s dance with the word “filiation! Badiou’s Paul is therefore an ok Paul, without remainder, but only because Badiou decides not to engage the whole of the Pauline corpus, even within the limits he sets.

So, a few representative bits from this thinker we might call Alain Paul Badiou: It is neither structural, nor axiomatic, nor legal. No available generality can account for it, nor structure the subject who claims to follow in its wake. Failing which, one resorts to observances or particular signs, which can only fix the Good News within the communitarian space, blocking its universal deployment.

Paul’s profound idea is that Jewish discourse univeersalism Greek discourse are the two aspects of the same figure of mastery The result is, firstly, that neither of the two dis courses can be universal, because each supposes the persistence of the other; and secondly, that the two discourses share the presupposition that the key to salvation is given to us within the universe, whether it be through direct mastery of the totality Greek wisdomor through mastery of a literal tradition and the deciphering of signs Jewish ritualism and prophetism Paul’s project is to show that a universal logic of salvation cannot be reconciled with any law, be it one that ties thought to the cosmos, or one that fixes the effects of an exceptional election.


It is impossible that the starting point be the Whole, but just as impossible that it be an exception to the Whole. Neither totality nor the sign will do. One must proceed from the event as such, which is a-cosmic and illegal, refusing integration into any totality and signaling nothing. What the universqlism individual named Jesus said and did is only the contingent material seized upon by the alsin in view of an yniversalism different destiny. In this sense, Jesus is neither a master nor an example.

He is the name for what happens to us universally.

Alain Badiou & Ray Brassier, Saint Paul. The Foundation of Universalism – PhilPapers

Not legality, in any case. The law is always predicative, particular, and partial. Paul is perfectly aware of the law’s unfailingly “statist” character. By “statist” I mean that which enumerates, names, and controls the parts of a situation.

If a truth is to surge forth eventally, it must be nondenumer able, impredicable, uncontrollable. Jul 11, Daniel rated it did not like it. In Saint Paul, Alain Badiou argues that, throughout the apostle ‘authentic’ writings we can find a clear fidelity to a universal and an event an event is something that happens without any anticipation – like a thief in the night. The event, for Paul, is the resurrection of Christ.

The universal, for Paul, is that Jesus rose bdaiou the dead. Unlike conceptual or material universals, Paul’s universal is not opposed to falsehood. There is no way that Paul’s truth – his objective truth – can be cou In Saint Paul, Alain Badiou argues that, throughout the apostle ‘authentic’ writings we can find a clear fidelity to a universal and an event an event is something that happens without any anticipation – like a thief in the night.

There is no way that Paul’s truth – his objective truth – can be countered because it is not in the order of the noetic or the physical. Rather, it exists foundatiin from these two orders. Now, the universal – Jesus rose from the dead – reaches out to the particulars because it applies to kniversalism, irrespective ffoundation any differences. There is badiiou Greek nor Jew, univsrsalism nor woman; and yet, at the same time, there are Greeks and Jews, men and women.

As Badiou argues, the differences between the Greek and the Jew, the man and the women are not of prime importance. What matters first of all is the truth of the universal which is neither conceptual nor historical.

In Badiou’s terms this is the fidelity to the truth-event the resurrection of Jesus. All differences are secondary. In order to proclaim his message, Paul, therefore, becomes “all things to all men” is indifferent to particulars and yet acknowledges that not all men are the same. Hence, Paul is neither a Jewish prophet who provides signs from God nor a Greek philosopher who persuades through reason.

He is, rather, a new kind of figure – an anti-philosopher and an apostle. Why did I give this book only one star? Because Badiou’s lack of thorough research was extremely aggravating. For instance, near the beginning of the book, Badiou simply states that, of all the canonical epistles attributed to Paul “at least six are certainly apocryphal” 32 without providing any references.

Now, I believe that all of the canonical epistles were either written or dictated by Paul and I believe there is a lot of evidence to back up my view. This having been said, I know that most critical scholars still regard II Timothy and Ephesians to be authentic. Badiou, however, does not. This leads me to believe that he’s only relying on a minimal number of scholarly sources the fact that Badiou does not reference his historical statements really bothers me.


Secondly, Badiou simply states that the resurrection was a fable and not a historical event in the colloquial sense of event. Only those who are quite ignorant of recent and historical debates can assert such a claim with this kind of confidence once again, Badiou makes no effort to reference his assertion. There are numerous monographs and debates available showing that there is far more evidence in favour of the bodily resurrection of Christ than the non-resurrection or a merely spiritual resurrection.

Just think of the works by N. Wright and Gary Habermas to name but two. Shimon Gibson, a non-Christian archeologist has, himself, stated in his book The Final Days of Jesus, that “[t]he reality is that there is no historical explanation for the empty tomb, other than if we adopt a theological one, i.

So, once again, the fact that Badiou simply states that the resurrection is a fable, without even acknowledging the controversy, suggests that he hasn’t been doing his homework.

‘Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism’ by Alain Badiou – TheoryLeaks

Thirdly, it is only because Badiou dismisses the book of Acts as ‘ideologically tainted’ a common Marxist tactic – the book, Badiou claims, was most likely written to appeal to Roman society “[Acts] is [probably] an official document, whose function is to provide an account of the first decades of Christianity that would be as uniform, organization, and “Roman” as possible” 26 – that he can assert that Paul avoided using rational arguments and miracles to authenticate his message.

These are but two instances of many others. Badiou, however, does not need to deal with them because he has already eliminated the book of Acts from the ‘authentic and trustworthy writings’. This, for those who are interested, is an easy way to make research and argumentation easier: To be fair, Badiou does discuss Paul’s message to the philosophers on Mars Hill, though only to show that Paul was an anti-philosopher – throughout Badiou makes it clear that he does not believe the Mars Hill-debate really happened.

What do all of these criticisms amount to? Perhaps you will charge me with ‘missing the point’.

Badiou’s argument does not stand or fall because of tje historical details, you might say. Whether the resurrection did or did not happen does affect the status of Paul’s message. If the resurrection did happen there is an overwhelming amount of evidence to support the fact that it did then Badiou’s claim that the truth-event of resurrection is neither conceptual nor historical must be altered. Moreover, if we incorporate the book of Acts as well as the rest of Paul’s epistles into the study, Badiou will have to admit that there were times when Paul reasoned, and other times when he performed miracles.

The most problematic aspect of Badiou’s book, however, is the lack of references used. Were Badiou to acknowledge controversial claims wherever they are, his book would have profited immensely. Nov 17, Thomas Fackler rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Badiou analyzes those texts linked to St. Paul and shows him to be an antiphilosopher in the same vein badioi, but more consistent then, Pascal and Nietzsche.

This consistency stems from the nature of St. Paul’s work – his travels to unify not codify a growing group of believers who are organized around and for St. Paul, in an event that, for him, transcends history.

The event becomes the locus for St.