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Political TheologiesPublic Religions in a Post-Secular World$
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Hent de Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226443

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226443.001.0001

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Automatic Theologies Surrealism and the Politics of Equality

Automatic Theologies Surrealism and the Politics of Equality

Chapter:
(p.617) Automatic Theologies Surrealism and the Politics of Equality
Source:
Political Theologies
Author(s):

Kate Khatib

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823226443.003.0032

This chapter explores the question of whether there is a place for theology in the post-secular age. It focuses on 20th-century surrealism in the context of Mircea Eliade's notion of the “hierophany”—the manifestation of the sacred in everyday reality—in an attempt to resituate surrealist thought within a new, post-secular narrative of redemption. It recasts surrealism as a philosophy of immanence, in which surreality appears as a redemptive potential found in the objects of the everyday world. Walter Benjamin's 1929 chapter “Surrealism” provides the guiding framework for this argument, which seeks to elucidate the political-theological dimensions of both Benjaminian and surrealist thought through an investigation of the temporality of Benjamin's “profane illumination” and to demonstrate why surrealism's central concept of automatism might best be seen as a strategy for engendering mystical encounters with objects in the everyday world. The surrealist politics of equality is dependent upon a notion of communicability that transcends all human boundaries while allowing the distinctions between concepts to continue to exist.

Keywords:   Mircea Eliade, theology, surrealism, politics, equality, hierophany, sacred, Walter Benjamin, automatism, profane illumination

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