Whether this issue of South Atlantic Quarterly succeeds or fails, it will do so on the basis of its core gambit: that the post-Marxist explosion in Pauline literature, by authors such as Badiou and Žižek, and the post-cold war explosion in Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity have, if not some kind of commensurability, then at least enough intelligibly contrasting elements to serve as the crux of a discussion. This is already a dicey proposition, given the gulf between the abstract rigors of philosophy and the populist accessibility of most modes of contemporary religiosity. Perhaps the biggest challenge is not locating the identity and difference between these two conceptual objects, however, but instead agreeing preliminarily that they both have referents of some sort—that we can speak intelligibly of either a “Pauline Turn” or “Global Christianity” in the first place. We must start out then, it seems, with the question of categories, at least as a preliminary grid to be abandoned later.Read the rest of Virtual Christianity.
Jon Bialecki is a lecturer in social anthropology at the University of Edinburgh. He has written on North American neocharismatic Christianity and on the anthropology of Christianity, and he is currently completing a manuscript on the implicit logic of self in the charismatic practices of Southern Californian members of the Vineyard church-planting movement and the effects of that these constructions of personhood have had on these believers' political and economic practices.