[iDC] reading list // religious mediated spaces

Gere, Charlie c.gere at lancaster.ac.uk
Fri Sep 8 01:33:13 EDT 2006

Another point while I am thinking about this. One of the great rivals to Christianity was Gnosticism which saw the universe and matter as essentially evil and encouraged the search for a divine spark within each person. St Augustine was originally a gnostic for repudiating it for Christianity. Hans Blumenberg sees the emergence of modernity and science as a failure to overcome gnosticism while Eric Voegelin sees all modernity as gnostic. Erik Davis has written about the gnostic nature of modern technoculture, while Slavoj Zizek has railed against what he sees as the gnosticism in much new age spirituality, western buddhism etc... against which, as a marxist atheist, he proclaims the need to preserve the christian legacy.

I think that digital technology is a product of and a manifestation of this kind of gnosticism, especially in relation to the virtualisation of the self and of community and wonder whether social networks and locative media are an extension of this, or offer the possibility of a return to a stronger sense of the importance of embodiment and physical community, manifested in phenomena such as the eruv or the eucharist, that i think is a prerequisite for a more ethical form of life

-----Original Message-----
From: Elizabeth Goodman [mailto:egoodman at confectious.net]
Sent: Thu 9/7/2006 7:06 PM
To: Gere, Charlie
Cc: idc
Subject: Re: [iDC] reading list // religious mediated spaces
Charlie --

You may want to look at Elliott Malkin's work on Jewish spatial  
constructs called eruvim, which stretch the boundaries of the "home"  
to include carefully bounded public spaces.

"Unlike other religious practices, which usually take place within  
private space, the eruv takes rituals and signs into the public  
sphere. People can, and do, object to being bearers of meanings that  
mean nothing to them, and they express their disapproval in terms of  
the aesthetics of the street. But behind this is the fact that people  
often confuse property rights with rights to signification... It is  
only imperialism which insists that an object can mean only one  
thing, and that a boundary must be observed by everyone. In the  
polyglot, multicultural city, readings of space and place do not have  
to be linked to a territory and urban organization; the act of  
communal interpretation brings to the urban fabric an increase of  
meaning, rather than a reduction... [The eruv] opposes the idea of  
the fundamental equivalence of one function and one object, or of one  
meaning and one object. As such, it represents a contribution to  
contemporary urbanism." -- cited by Elliott from www.eruv.net



On Sep 4, 2006, at 10:55 AM, Gere, Charlie wrote:

> I have been doing some fairly intense reading over the Summer,  
> though more in the area of theology and theologically-inflected  
> philosophy, which has extremely interesting and pertinent  
> connections to questions of media, language etc... This reading  
> will almost certainly contribute to whatever I present in New York  
> in October. Among the books, chapters and essays I have been  
> reading or are about to read are the following
> Reading List
> Religion and Media, edited by Hent de Vries and Samuel Weber;  
> especially the introduction, "Deconstructing Christianity" by Jean- 
> Luc Nancy, "Above All, No Journalists!" by Jacques Derrida,  
> "Religion, Repetition, Media" by Samuel Weber, and "Luther with  
> McLuhan" by Manfred Schneider
> Acts of Religion by Jacques Derrida, edited by Gil Andjar;  
> especially "Faith and Knowledge", "Force of Law" and "Les Tours de  
> Babel"
> The Gift of Death by Jacques Derrida
> After Writing by Catherine Pickstock
> Paul by Alain Badiou
> The chapter on Pascal from Alain Badiou's Being and Event
> Belief and After Christianity by Gianni Vattimo
> I See Satan Fall Like Lightning by Rene Girard
> Violence and Difference: Girard, Derrida and Deconstruction by  
> Andrew McKenna
> Cities of God by Graham Ward
> Barth, Derrida and the Language of Philosophy by Graham Ward
> The Eucharist in the Reformation: Incarnation and Liturgy by Lee  
> Palmer Wandel
> God without Being, Being Given, and In Excess by Jean-Luc Marion
> The Fragile Absolute by Slavoj Zizek
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