"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Friday, March 1, 2019

A Theological Comedy about Contemporary Politics

I've previously drawn attention to Marcus Pound's very learned and suggestive study linking Lacanian psychoanalytic thought with eucharistic and liturgical practices.

He has a new book coming out this fall, Theology, Comedy, Politics (Fortress, 2019), 120pp. It sounds very interesting indeed, not least in the Trump era when I've never understood the endless wailing and moaning about him from people who make the mistake of taking him, or any other, politician, seriously. If you regard him and them--of any party, in any country, at any point in history--as absurd figures, as jumped-up monkeys at best, and politics as nothing more than an opéra bouffe, then at the very least you don't need to self-medicate as much when you read the headlines.

About this book the publisher tells us the following:
What relevance has comedy for the global crises of late-modernity and the theological critique thereof? Coming out of the experience of war, a generation of modern theologians such as Donald MacKinnon, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and, more recently, Rowan Williams, in their accommodation to literature, choose tragedy as the paradigm for theological understanding and ethics. By contrast, this book develops recent philosophical, anthropological, and psychoanalytical studies of humor to develop a theology of comedy. By deconstructing secular accounts of comedy it advances the argument that comedy is not only participatory of the divine, but that it should inform our thinking about liturgical, sacramental, and ecclesial life if we are to respond to the postmodern age in which having fun is an ideological imperative of market forces.

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