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J. Kameron Carter on the Politics of the Visual

J. Kameron Carter has recently posted an extremely interesting piece on the roots of the modern racial and political imaginary in Christian iconography. He draws on Mondzain’s Image, Icon, Economy: The Byzantine Origins of the Contemporary Imaginary, which looks to me to be a must-read. Of course, taking on icons is certainly not an enterprise that quasi-Catholics and Christian Hipsters (also now receiving some renewed attention around the interwebs) will much care for, but it seems to me to be very persuasive. A segment:

To put the central objective of the book in terms of my own work on the origins and unfolding of the racial imaginary that our world yet remains in the throws of (claims to post-raciality notwithstanding) and how the racial imaginary arose from within a certain kind of Christian theological and ecclesial practice, Image, Icon, Economy examines how the economy or logic of the icon entails a logic for the conquering of space and from here time and history. This logic works through the visual, which then gives rise to thought or power as knowledge.

In Mondzain’s own words:

To attempt to rule over the whole world by organizing an empire that derived its power and authority by linking together the visual and the imaginal [or the notion of the ‘image’] was Christianity’s true genius. (151)

Or to put it yet another way, the theology of the icon, as it arose out of late patristic Christological formulations founds an “iconocracy,” an “empire of the gaze and vision ” (152) or what may otherwise be called a political theology of and through the visual. Within this theo-political regime of the visual, according to Mondzain, we find the basic structure of “the Universal,” that is to say, the structure of “Catholicism.” It is this structure that would provide a framework for the modern/colonial world, as founded in European imperialism, and that arguably continues to provide the inner structure of the global/postcolonial present.

Carter goes on to note how the fundamentally ideological move that is created in the icon is the carving out of a visual imaginary of the beautiful that cannot ever lapse into idolatry. The contemporary sentimentality about icons (especially as I’ve observed it among non Eastern Orthodox Christians, though I think the implications are broader) certainly needs a chastening of the sort that Carter offers via Mondvain.

In the same article, Carter has some choice critiques of John Milbank and David Bentley Hart as well, with which, as you might guess, I am in significant sympathy. Carter is very helpful in reminding us of what the recent comments Milbank made about Islam and “lamentably premature” collapse of Western colonialism made quite clear: the deeply Eurocentric and racist logic of the political project offered by radical orthodoxy:

We must remember that it was a form of theology that called itself orthodox (in fact, it was in significant measure Thomist in structure) that gave birth to the modern/colonial/racial world in the 15th and 16th centuries, which then perfected itself in the 19th and 20th centuries when modern knowledges were consolidated as Wissenschaften. How do we explain the rush, then (and this is the real issue confronting theology today), mainly among theologically minded young white males for the most part, to return to this stuff vis-a-vis what Radical Orthodoxy is peddling?

Again, the question isn’t my dear teacher, John Milbank, as such. It’s what he socially signifies at this moment of Empire and what the attraction to him on the part of many who are struggling with all their intellectual might to retrieve “the Christian tradition,” socially and theologically signifies at this  moment.

That is the question indeed.

28 Comments

  1. Rod wrote:

    “Again, the question isn’t my dear teacher, John Milbank, as such. It’s what he socially signifies at this moment of Empire and what the attraction to him on the part of many who are struggling with all their intellectual might to retrieve “the Christian tradition,” socially and theologically signifies at this moment.”

    To answer Carter’s question, I must quote Frantz Fanon (Wretched of the Earth):

    “Seeking to stick to tradition or reviving neglected traditions is not only going against history, but against one’s people. When people support an armed or even a political struggle against a merciless colonialism, tradition changes meaning.”

    Personally, I think it is a waste of time to “retrieve” the beliefs and practices of the early Church since we risk taking both out of historical context and setting them up as idols. I think the purpose of studying early Christian theology should be to comprehend what the church mothers and fathers were saying and using their doctrines and practices for the purpose of liberating the oppressed.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 4:15 pm | Permalink
  2. David wrote:

    I’m entirely unconvinced by the argument, well, the series of claims, Carter makes about a Thomistic basis for modern racism and colonialism in his book on race. Milbank himself offers a more coherent account of the development of racism in the Kantian turn to the phenomenal as the key to the nature, in so much as it can be ascertained, of the real. So the accusations of racism against RO are something I can’t buy.
    I do buy the imperialist critique as the counter cultural orientations of early RO have been trumped by Milbank’s modernist conflation of Christian theology with something called the West (so many theologians in the 80′s tried to use Habermas and Ricoeur toward this end and it’s precisely the kind of schtick MIlbank emerged reacting against!). This critique is however a critique of the political developments of Milbank’s own work. The fear of pro-Nicene creedal orthodoxy and the silly claim it, domino like, leads to all the problems that happened in modern nation states in which the majority professed forms of Christianity, is to be avoided in the current turn against MIlbank’s theopolitics.

    What I’m saying is that while I agree with the critique of MIlbank’s current theological cultural conflation I lament the growing embrace of theological liberalism in opposition to it, as if its idiocies and simplistic modernist retellings of theological history haven’t been exposed. Apart from Reuther’s own essay, ” Interpreting the Postmodern: Responses to Radical Orthodoxy” is a testimony to the how trite critiques of RO can be when they are based on the outdated and flawed narratives of the theological liberalism that dominated the final third of the last century.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 5:23 pm | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    For what its worth I don’t see Carter rejeceting Nicea. Here or in anything else he’s written.

    And the rejection of theological liberalism also seems pretty explicit in his piece.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm | Permalink
  4. David wrote:

    I tend to see in pro Nicene theologians such as Augustine and the Gregorys the kind of catholicism/universalism that Carter has problems with in Race. You’re right that he doesn’t reject “Nicaea” per se. I do have fears (hopefully irrational ones) that the radicality of many patristic insights, heralded by RO, might be clouded with the proper attack on Milbank’s political development. The Christendom (Augustine at the forefront) to Imperialism perspective is something I fear may reemerge. Yes there are big problems with Milbank’s recent surrender of the radicality of the Gospel to the stasis of an institution or, worse, a social order. But he called BS (Haldenesquely!) on many simplistic metanarratives against tradition, orthodoxy and even “the Church” that shouldn’t be wholly forgotten and were not wrong. I’m not saying Carter is re-igniting such metanarratives, or Rod is nor certainly are you. I’m just voicing a, hopefully irrational, fear :)

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Permalink
  5. Gene McCarraher wrote:

    Halden, as much as I sympathize with Carter’s critique of Milbank, I have to agree with David — I found this essay unconvincing. I didn’t see much of anything in the way of connective tissue, which is why “series of claims” aptly describes the piece.

    The thing is, I don’t doubt that there probably is some sort of connection between Thomistic thought and modern racism and imperialism. It’s certainly true that it was Thomist theologians who provided much of the early modern ideological basis for colonialism, dispossession, and slavery. (David buys the critique of Milbank and RO as imperialist but rejects Carter’s assertions about Thomism — but aren’t the two connected?) Carter just hasn’t made a very careful argument.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6:05 pm | Permalink
  6. Halden wrote:

    I suppose that I didn’t take the post as an “argument” per se, but rather as a gesture towards the argument he has encountered in Mondvain’s book. I’ve ordered the book and look forward to seeing how that argument unfolds. But I definitely think a reconsideration of iconography and its role in theology is a needed thing.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink
  7. Brad A. wrote:

    Of course, what do we do with iconoclasm as imperial policy? The policy was implemented at the end of a century-long movement toward emperors having greater and greater sacerdotal status over the church, and those in defense of the icons (esp. John Damascene) countered that move directly.

    I think Gene’s right about this particular piece; Carter’s first paragraph in the section on “The Iconic Invention of Whiteness” reads like little more than guilt by association.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink
  8. Hill wrote:

    I have a hard time seeing how “iconography” in the technical sense could have much purchase here, given that it really is an Eastern phenomenon. In other words, there isn’t really a role for “iconography” in western theology. That isn’t to say that there isn’t an interesting argument to be made towards this end regarding colonialism and “the visual,” but we should be careful about trying to set up some continuous line from the origins of ikons proper through imperialism to hipster Christianity. Most people in the west who are “in” to ikons don’t really believe anything like a traditional eastern theology of the ikon, and I think you could make an argument that the conditions of possibility for their believing it don’t even exist.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6:31 pm | Permalink
  9. Hill wrote:

    I need to clarify a sentence: What I mean is that there isn’t really a thing called “iconography” in western theology.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6:32 pm | Permalink
  10. Theophilus wrote:

    Most of these arguments look to me to be targeting any and all forms of catholicity, that is, the notion that the Gospel and the Church are intended for all people. Is this in fact the problem, or is a non-imperialist/racist/patriarchal/etc. Christian catholicity even conceivable? If catholicity itself is the source of these Bad Things, I don’t see why we should stop at iconography. There’s an absolutely transparent case for pushing the catholicity problem back to Paul, and depending on how you read the Gospels, to Jesus himself.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6:35 pm | Permalink
  11. Brad A. wrote:

    Agreed.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
  12. David wrote:

    Hi Gene. I do buy that Milbank is imperialist. I do so because he has, in his recent work, moved toward a concept of reason that is meta-traditional and so assumes that Christianity and the Enlightenment project have more in common that Christianity and Islam! This is precisely the kind of Church and empire perspective that fuelled imperialism. I don’t, however, see RO as inherently imperialist in its most basic form, although, maybe you could help me see the error of my ways here. For example, I don’t see Pickstock, in my opinion the most Thomistic voice in RO, as imperialistic at all. Does she see the identification of sign and signifier in the Eucharist as the basis of all meaning in the world? yes. But unless one holds the post Enlightenment illusion (as flagged in Cavanaugh’s Myth of Religious Violence) that thinking a is right and b is wrong is the basis for imperialism, then I don’t see the clear link. Pickstock reads Thomas, as I’m sure you know, against Cajetan, Suarez and others who are starting to make the moves in terms of how reason is understood that I can see fuelling imperialism. Milbank, in my opinion, get’s his Aquinas from Catherine and his Augustine from Lewis Ayres and isn’t a particularly good interpreter of either. But I don’t see RO (in terms of it’s basic early catch all assertions as opposed to Milbank’s more recent turn) as imperialistic or, contra Carter’s suggestion, racist.
    I fear, I think, what Theophilus intuits about some arguments against RO below, that it’s simply a liberal critique of all catholicity, theological particularism and truth claims. I buy that Milbank is imperialist, I don’t buy any identification of theological particularism with imperialism and fear it because I was ghettoized as a grad student before Milbank changed the theological landscape and fear being so again :)

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  13. I’m glad for the conversation that my piece has generated. I should say what the piece and what it wasn’t meant to do.

    On the one hand, it was meant to stir conversation (which it has) by giving a sense of what Mondzain’s provocative book is about, and inside of giving a sense of what the book is about, making a “digression” about Milbank’s theological program.

    At the heart of my digression on Milbank was a claim: what Mondzain narrates about the empire of the gaze or how vision has been constituted through “iconocracy,” clarifies the aspects of Milbank’s theological program, particularly those aspects that continue to echo imperialism.

    Now for what the piece wasn’t meant to do: It wasn’t meant to offer a full account of the problems just mentioned.

    And so, @McCarraher, you’re absolutely right that all the connective tissue isn’t in place in this piece. I fully agree with you. But I would only say in response I couldn’t begin to do that here. I was offer a suggestive digression, that’s it.

    I should say, however, that I’ve started to do some of the very connective work you recognize the need for, for example, in my AAR presentation last year in which I analyzed the significance of Samuel Taylor Coleridge to Milbank’s theology, and how the Coleridgean vision and the Milbankian vision converge in a “colonial theoloigy” rooted in analogy, trinitarian orthodoxy, and a platonized appropriation of Thomas Aquinas. I’m revising and refining this material for future publication.

    I’ve also probed other dimensions of RO, especially the significance of the aesthetic within it. All of this is the connective issue work that I think you want more of, and that admittedly I don’t begin to touch on here.

    All I can say for now is: it’s on the way as part of a wider narration of late 20th century theology that I’m working on.

    @David: as for you’re concern about liberalism, Halden is correct: theological liberalism is not the alternative, at least for me, either. This isn’t because I have a knee-jerk prejudice against theological liberalism. Indeed, I reject the orthodoxy/liberalism binary as inadequate to explaining the current situation of Christianity and Christian theology today. Indeed, that these alternatives appear as the only viable ones is symptomatic of the pathology within Christian existence today, the very pathology I was talking about in my blog post.

    Put more plainly, the Christian will to rule the planet as it emerged from Europe and Euro-America was both theologically orthodox and theologically liberal. The disagreement between the two (how to narrate Christian righteousness) was within a greater agreement (the righteousness of Christianity and thus its rightness, as coterminous with ‘the West’, in planetary rule). This is the pathology, which has historically been racially coded through a particular way of organizing social space.

    This is what Mondzain has her finger on in what may be termed as her genealogy of the present condition. The brilliance of her book is that she sees that this problem is theoretically anterior to the problem of “logocentricism.” She sees that the problem of the logocentric stability of metanarratives are tied to how the “image” has worked through the “icon” (i.e., that which is declared similar to the image) to exceed the boundaries of the ecclesial so that from the ecclesial there may be a conquering of all of space. This is the logic of the universal, of “the catholic”.

    Now of course, I’m critically adding to Mondzain to say that the collision of this basic 8th/9th framework with 15th-17th century age of discovery yielded an anthropological innovation or invention, the invention of racial Man (homo racialis never before existed on the planet) centered in the birth of the European Masculine as the iconic similitude of the image of God. And as a (false) God-Man, the European thus accrued (false) divinity to himself even as he place the non-European in a negative relation to himself. This negative relation made the non-European “appear” as the demonic, and thus to be warred so as to be conquered (possibly killed) or converted.

    What I like about Mondzain’s book is that in it she helps us see how all of this works vis-a-vis the economy of the image and the icon and thus through the empire of the gaze, which at the theoretical level was crystallized in the second phase of the iconoclasm controversy of the 8th and 9th centuries.

    One last point, and this is shout-out to @Rod, who is on to something with his invocation of Fanon, for me, especially the Fanon of the Black Skins, White Masks (BSWM). Fanon’s observation in the BSWM is that the great terror in modern imperialism/colonialism is that colonialism was a massive system for the management of loves and affections and friendships. It functioned through “love” as that “love” functioned through the mediation of the “White Man”. Moroever, Fanon also suggests that the management of love, affections, and friendships–in short, of belonging–operated quintessentially through the gaze, through vision, through the look. For it is the gaze that fixes one in place, like the dye drop that gets fixed into a garment. This is what Fanon is after is his “phenomenology of the look” which is unfolds as an analysis of his experience in Paris as a little white pointed at him and said to her mother, “Look, A Negro!”

    This being fixed in place or being put in place happens through a system of evaluations by which the non-white is evaluated to “see” to what degree he or she measures up to what is declared normal, the true citizen, etc. But what is the normal? In Mondzain’s terms, it is the image which the icon discloses, which in the modern situation was nothing less than the Western Masculine.

    Fanon’s quest in BSWM is for a new humanism. His was a cry to escape this gaze and its “iconocratic” logic that fixes like the dye. If there is to be love the imperial icon which establishes an economy of similitudes, likenesses and unlikenesses to the image, must be destroy so that a new humanity may arise.

    For me there is something theological in Fanon’s cry, something theological that interestingly echoes the cry of Karl Barth, Fanon’s continental contemporary, for the new humanity that only God can deliver as God’s humanity.

    Anyway, I’ve probably spoken too much. I’ll stop here because I really do want the conversation to continue.

    Peace always, and may the conversation continue.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Permalink
  14. After reading Halden’s post I immediately went out and pried the Jesus fish off of my SUV. But, after reading Carter’s (unconvincing) article I balked at tossing my extensive collection of Icons (those I have collected and those that I have written) onto a bonfire of Qu’rans and books on ‘radical orthodoxy.’ I will leave it to y’all to give Milbank a well-deserved thumping and I haven’t read Mondzain (I will wait for Halden’s review, and, I am really busy with a new piece of art; a Virgin of Guadalupe made from multi-lens, holographic and transparent vinyl, and delaminated dvd’s, I will post the finished piece on my website later). I won’t re-argue the whole iconoclast hulabaloo here, but Carter’s reducing of Icons to what might be called ‘Kataphatic machines of imperial domination‘ get’s my hackles up. It’s seems a bit like blaming the war in Iraq on the inventor of the box cutter. obliged.

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  15. David wrote:

    Thank you so much J. Kameron Carter for your very helpful comments :)

    What worries me is the seeming identification of “the Christian will to rule the planet” with “to exceed the boundaries of the ecclesial so that from the ecclesial there may be a conquering of all of space. This is the logic of the universal, of “the catholic”.

    The Church for Augustine is that brought into being by the presence of God. It is a city whose walls are fluid and so has no boundaries. The work of the Spirit in us does, for Augustine, seek to call ALL into relationship with the Father in conformity to Christ. This is mission, something Christ, for Augustine, charged the apostles with. This is Augustine’s understanding of the Church catholic, universal.
    The “Christian will to rule the planet” is, as well as a sloppy and unnuanced choice of language, a reference to what must be seen as a diseased version of this Augustinian model. It is to the Augustianian model what a cancerous limb is a mutation of the limb. It’s growth is directly proportional to the death of the limb it destroys. Some imperialist voices utilized the lingua franca of Christianity, some Christians supported it for a variety of complex reasons, I fear the way this fact is being connected to the proper missiological call to the Church. This is the reason for my mentioning the fears I felt in my earlier posts.

    Thanks again so much for the really helpful and fascinating comments :)

    Monday, October 4, 2010 at 8:12 pm | Permalink
  16. I take this point and criticism. Admittedly, were this a full article making trying to make this case, all of the connective tissue would need to be there.

    My point under the section called “the iconic invention of whiteness”, building on Mondzain, is not to make a case for or against icons as such. I’m not calling for doing away with icons — nor for that matter is Mondzain. Nothing in her book suggests this.

    One way to get our minds around her provocative book for of us who care about theology, as obviously I do and the folks on this blog do, is to think in terms of vol. 1 of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s theological aesthetics, *Glory of the Lord*. Vol 1 is called, “Seeing the form”, and is built on vB’s notion of the “form” as a key concept for reckoning theologically with the transcendental, beauty.

    All Mondzain has done is probe the icon as a form and its structural logic in relationship to the economy of the “image” and how the icon organizes vision toward the universal. The iconic economy aims toward the universal because because, she say, the image aims towards it as well.

    The figure who theorized this and that she tracks very closely with in making this case is the 8th century Patriarch Nicepherous, contemporary of Theodore the Studite and leader of iconophile cause. Nicepherous along with Theodore might be understood as the heirs of the theological work of John of Damascus. Nicepherous especially was building upon and expanding John’s work.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that the great iconoclasm/iconophile crisis was executed, on the ground, in the heat of massive political changes, chief among them, and importantly, was the rise of Islam.

    What Nicepherous did, among other things, was expand on John of Damascus’ work to theorize from a christological perspective the icon so as to clarify from within the economy (oikonomia: with all of the christological and trinitarian freight of this term) that the icon institutes an understanding of the relationship of sacred or ecclesial to profane or extra-ecclesial space. Nicepherous, again, theorizes this relationship as internal to the christo-logic of the icon or the economy it institutes.

    Thus, Mondzain’s concern was not just with this or that icon but (following closely Nicepherous’ arguments in his massive yet untranslated Antirrhetics) with the icon as a “form” (to use Balthasarian speak) that organizes gazes, or looks, within a system of similarities and dissimilarities, likenesses and unlikenesses, to the image that it, as icon, give flesh or materiality to.

    Mondazain is clear that she’s opening up a field of inquiry, not resolving all questions. Given my work in patristic thought (Irenaeus, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor: see my book, *Race: A Theological Account*), I am stepping into the field of inquiry she’s opening because it’s ripe for extension into the era of the dawning of the modern world and the dawning of modern theology.

    So, when I invoke Milbank in relationship to this (and this is @Brad), I was simply saying that a logic similar to what Mondzain has spied out is discernible in how Milbank’s imperialist universalism, if I can put it this way, works.

    “True dat,” as they say, I’d need to do more work to sustain this claim, but one surely can’t expect me to do that in a blog.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink
  17. Brad A. wrote:

    Thank you for this gracious and interesting reply, Dr. Carter. I also appreciate your response to Dan on your site. You won’t find much sympathy for Milbank directly around here, so any resistance you might perceive is probably not on his account. However, what I was merely pointing out – and doing so because I have not read these works (although I’m quite interested in your book you mention here) is that there are contested narratives at play. If the empire was at one point attempting to stamp out icons, and if defenders of icons were in part pointing to some inherent problems with the reigning theology of empire (certainly within the context of the political changes you mentioned), how might this affect Mondazain’s case (or yours)? Can we conceive of anti-imperial iconodule arguments as, in fact, imperialistic? How so, and might it be a different form of imperialism than the iconoclasts? How might such varied forms of imperialism operate today, and how might we need to attend to them in a properly nuanced manner rather than grouping them together monolithically as “imperial”? I’m not accusing you of this per se, and these questions may be far afield from what you’re arguing here, but I could not help but ponder them as I read your quite interesting piece.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 11:02 am | Permalink
  18. Adam Kotsko wrote:

    I have ordered the Mondzain book through interlibrary loan and very much look forward to reading it. It strikes me as a study somewhat in the same vein as what Agamben is trying to do in The Kingdom and the Glory (see my reading notes on the book while we all patiently wait for the English translation) — doing the increasingly important work of tracing the theological genealogy of modernity.

    As I haven’t read the book, I can’t comment on whether the genealogy is as simplistic as people seem to assume it is (i.e., “Byzantine ideas directly caused modernity!!!”), but it seems to me that if we take seriously the idea that the iconodule position — which is enshrined in one of the Big Seven ecumenical councils officially recognized by the Orthodox and Catholic Churches, even if the Catholic Church doesn’t have the same theology of the icon — is a working out of Christology, then it’s not implausible that a similar pattern of thought would emerge “independently” in another Christian setting.

    I also find all these remarks implying that the ideology a particular empire endorses must automatically be imperial to be really simplistic and implicitly dismissive. Why do we expect some individual emperor to be a perfect arbiter of what ideological forms best fit with the imperial project? In the long run, after all, the Byzantine empire obviously endorsed the iconodule position — why does the fact that one particular emperor set off the initial controversy prove anything at all? Does the existence of Julian the Apostate single-handedly prove that Christiantiy was incompatible with the Roman Empire?

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink
  19. Brad A. wrote:

    You’re absolutely right, Adam, but that wasn’t my point (presuming you were thinking in part of my comments). Iconoclasm was the culmination of a century of moves by the Byzantine emperors toward greater sacerdotal power and theological self-justification. I was merely pointing out that such suggests there are multiple moves at work, not merely one that monolithically equates icons with imperialism. I’ll take Dr. Carter’s word that that’s not what he and Mondzain are doing, but I was merely airing my concerns.

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink
  20. Andy Rowell wrote:

    Two little things you might want to know:

    At the Christian Century cover story, “Essential theology books of the past 25 years” posted online yesterday (Oct 04, 2010), a Amos Young and George Hunsinger mention Dr. Carter’s book Race: A Theological Account, in their lists.
    http://www.christiancentury.org/article/2010-10/essential-theology-books-past-25-years

    Carter is also on Twitter:
    http://twitter.com/#!/jkameroncarter

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
  21. Tony Hunt wrote:

    Indeed, Race was second only to…Theology and Social Theory! The irony.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  22. Adam Kotsko wrote:

    It’s ironic that one highly-regarded theologian would be critical of another one? Or…?

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm | Permalink
  23. Tony Hunt wrote:

    That two such different books, the one often critical of the other, should both be considered of such importance for a given period.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink
  24. Tony Hunt wrote:

    Perhaps irony is the wrong word, I’m not too good on its proper usage. My primary point is more clearly demonstrated in my first reply below.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 4:39 pm | Permalink
  25. Bobby Grow wrote:

    That was weird, when I first glanced at the title for some reason I thought you were quoting James K.A. Smith (it must’ve been the “J” and “K”), then I started reading the post, saw that you were giving a positive review of the quote, and realized that this couldn’t be James K.A. Smith you were referring to here . . . weird :-).

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Permalink
  26. Adam Kotsko wrote:

    It’s almost as though theology is a diverse field.

    Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink
  27. Tony Hunt wrote:

    Do you just get pleasure out of making people feel stupid, or…?

    Friday, October 8, 2010 at 12:14 pm | Permalink
  28. Adam Kotsko wrote:

    My goal was not to make you feel stupid.

    Monday, October 18, 2010 at 8:21 am | Permalink

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