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Number and the imagination of global Christianity; or, mediation and immediacy in the work of Alain Badiou

By Matthew Engelke


Studies on religion in philosophy and the human sciences have been focusing increasingly on the relationship between religion and media. In much of this work, a key concern has been to understand what constitutes mediation and, concomitantly, the lure of immediacy that drives some types of religiosity. In this essay, I link Alain Badiou's philosophy to this concern, examining in particular how his approach to number and appreciation for Saint Paul are fueled by a similar lure of immediacy. To illustrate this claim, I juxtapose Badiou's work to the ways in which nineteenth-century British evangelicals (who had their own, distinct reverence for Paul) used numbers and statistics to imagine what we might understand today as a "global Christianity.

Topics: BR Christianity
Publisher: Duke University
Year: 2010
DOI identifier: 10.1215/00382876-2010-018
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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