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Material SpiritReligion and Literature Intranscendent$
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Gregory C. Stallings, Manuel Asensi, and Carl Good

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823255405

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823255405.001.0001

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Impossible Confessions

Impossible Confessions

(p.35) Impossible Confessions
Material Spirit

Karmen Mackendrick

Fordham University Press

In a roundtable presentation from 1944 entitled “Discussion on Sin,” Georges Bataille accused Christianity of being boring. However, there have always been other strains in Christianity, and some of those strains have been interesting in very Bataillean ways—cruel, sacrificial, or perverse. It is in its refusal of comfort, and especially its deliberate discomfort, that Christianity is least boring, and this chapter focuses on one mode of such discomfort—confessional obedience—which can only occur where the body meets language. In confession is a particular kind of obedience, one that emerges through the sacrifice of language and, with it, of the will of the subject obedient to the pastoral imperative of (narrative) self-construction. The language of confession turns language against itself, at once obeying and undoing its imperatives.

Keywords:   confessional obedience, Christianity, discomfort, Georges Bataille, obedience

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