What does it mean to be called human? How does this nomination affect or effect what it means to be called divine? This book responds to these related questions in intertwined explorations of the passionate trials-examinations, tests, and ordeals-of Antigone and Jesus. Impelled by her love of the impossible, Antigone crosses uncrossable boundaries, transgresses norms of kinship and mortality, confounds distinctions of nature and culture, and, in the process, unearths and critiques the sexism implicit in humanism. Antigone thus disrupts humanist traditions stretching from Sophocles to Martin Heidegger-traditions that would render her subhuman or inhuman. She survives these exclusions and engenders a new mode of humanity, one that destabilizes classic oppositions of life and death and affirms mortal finitude in the face of the future's unforeseeability. This new mode of humanity offers a new way of considering Jesus, whom Christianity identifies as human and divine. Building on his reading of Antigone, the author, through a close reading of Mark's gospel focused on Jesus' cry of abandonment from the cross, shows that to refigure humanity is also to refigure divinity and their relation. In the first extended treatment of Jean-Luc Nancy's Corpus in English, the author draws on the theoretical insights of Jacques Derrida and Nancy to propose an innovative account of Jesus' humanity and divinity-one that can contribute to religious understandings of embodiment and prayer and can open avenues of inquiry into tragedy, sexual difference, posthumanism, and politics.By pairing Antigone and Jesus and engaging the work of Judith Butler, Simone Weil, Jean-Louis Chrtien, and Dominique Janicaud, this book constructively participates in interdisciplinary conversations at the nexus of religious, philosophical, literary, and gender studies.
WILLIAM ROBERT is a Humanities Postdoctoral Faculty Fellow in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University.
Explores a new mode of humanity engendered in the tragedy of the Greek heroine and applies it to a consideration of Jesus, as he is seen by believers as both mortal and divine.
In wonderfully resonant language, William Robert has written a book that deserves to be read carefully and attentively by students of Religious Studies, Philosophy, Classics, and anyone interested in the inheritance of two figures that have shaped Occidental life and thought in countless ways: Antigone and Jesus. Jesus and Antigone emerge as models of survival, of living on after being forsaken by God (Jesus' My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?) and abandoned by Man (Antigone's living death or death in life). Informed by a deep understanding of Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, and other important continental philosophers, Robert puts to the test two tries at a postdivine humanity and a posthuman divinity anticipated by Antigone and Jesus.-Jeffrey L. Kosky
In this provocative, highly readable pairing of the trials of Sophocles' Antigone and Mark's Christ, William Robert makes innovative use of well-known theorists, notably Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy. The juxtaposition allows for the emergence of intriguing and sometimes unexpected parallels as the author theorizes trial, tragedy, the nature of human subjectivity, and the complex relation of human to divine.-Karmen MacKendrick