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Revolution, paradox and the Christian tradition

11 November 2008

Another interesting discussion over at The land of unlikeness.

GK Chesterton has been staging something of a comeback in the last few years. While he has always been popular among Catholic thinkers who value his fresh formulations of their tradition, and also, over the past 20 years or so, with thinking Evangelicals, who have been turning to him as proof that one can keep one’s faith without losing ones mind; its only recently that his voice has been heard among the philosophers and the critical theorists, mainly through his influence on two of the most interesting representatives in these fields. One, Slavoj Zizek is a Marxist and strict Lacanian, who has annoyed his audiences by saying that he is a Christian atheist and by claiming that Lenin got it all right. The other, John Milbank, is British, a member of the Anglican church, who has become well known as the most articulate defender of a philosophical and theological movement that goes by the name Radical Orthodoxy, and emphasizes a rediscovery of patrisitic and medieval theologians while at the same time being well read in Jacque Lacan and Karl Marx. Zizek and Milbank have appeared at conferences together as well as edited volumes, and are even co-writing a book. Though they come from radically divergent points of view both Zizek and Milbank see the necessity of philosophy and theology being in close discussion with each other and both have seen Chesterton as a good way to do that.

The land of unlikeness recently presented a very good series of postings on the 20th century theologian Sergei Bulgakov, which I haven’t finished reading yet, and the Chestertonian Debate between John Milbank and Slavoj Zizek promises to be equally interesting.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 11 November 2008 11:08 pm

    I didn’t know Chesterton was a Catholic. They never tell you that when they quote him in protestant circles. Apparently we remake historical figures in our own image….thanks for the quote.

  2. 12 November 2008 5:21 am


    I thought it was fairly well-known that Chesterton joined the Roman Catholic church, and was one of three fairly well-known 20th-century British authors to do so, the other two being Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh.

    One of Chesterton’s best-known books, Orthodoxy, however, was written when he was still an Anglican.

    I wonder the the Protestant circles (especially the American ones) also hide the fact that he was a Liberal?

  3. 12 November 2008 5:30 pm

    Thanks for this…

    I’ve read a bit of Zizek and, when I managed to understand him, found his thinking wonderful and it has influenced both my art and my perspective of God.

    I have never read any John Milbank but will be investigating this.

    Be blessed

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