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Gil AnidjarBlood: A Critique of Christianity

Columbia University Press, 2014

by Hillary Kaell on June 28, 2015

Gil Anidjar

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Blood. It is more than a thing and more than a metaphor. It is an effective concept, an element, with which, and through which, Christianity becomes what it is. Western Christianity – if there is such a thing as "Christianity" singular – embodies a deep hemophilia (a love of blood) and even a hematology (a theology of blood) that divides Christianity from itself: theology from medicine, finance from politics, religion from race, among many other permutations. This is the claim of Gil Anidjar, Professor in the Departments of Religion and Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. His recent book, Blood: A Critique of Christianity (Columbia University Press, 2014) is a wide-ranging, challenging monograph that is both searing and poetic, taking the reader on a journey through biblical texts, medieval controversies, and contemporary critical theory. It asks what Anidjar calls "the Christian Question" in order to destabilize taken for granted assumptions about the naturalness of certain categories related to blood and contextualize them instead within the particular history of post-Medieval Christianity.

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Adolf Hitler famously (and probably) said in a speech to his military leaders "Who, after all, speaks to-day of the annihilation of the Armenians?"  This remark is generally taken to suggest that future generations won't remember current atrocities, so there's no reason not to commit them.  The implication is that memory has something like an […]

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