The seductive enigma of the word “passion”—and the Christian passion to which it is tied—seems to lie in the way in which it allows the subject at its center to function as subject and object both at once. Anders Nygren wishes to keep separate the active human subject of desire that characterizes his eros type and the receptive or passive human subject of faith that characterizes his agape type. Yet it would seem that to be a subject at all is both to act and be subjected to constraint, in discursive and political contexts where agency is never absolute. This chapter demonstrates that the very structures of narrativity or (divine) emplotment, whether biblical or postbiblical, convey this predicament of subjectivity while also opening up possibilities for an erotic transformation of submission that limits omnipotence, whether human or divine. Behind the crucifixion of Christ looms the binding of Isaac, and in front of it proliferate innumerable inscriptions of mimetic self-sacrifice or self-emptying, where pain and pleasure, loss and gain, mournfulness and joy converge and mingle.
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