The Split God: Pentecostalism and Critical Theory

SUNY Press
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 Offers a critical Pentecostal philosophy of God that challenges orthodox Christianity.
Although Pentecostalism is generally considered a conservative movement, in The Split God Nimi Wariboko shows that its operative everyday notion of God is a radical one that poses, under cover of loyalty, a challenge to orthodox Christianity. He argues that the image of God that arises out of the everyday practices of Pentecostalism is a split God—a deity harboring a radical split that not only destabilizes and prevents God himself from achieving ontological completeness but also conditions and shapes the practices and identities of Pentecostal believers. Drawing from the work of Slavoj Žižek, Jacques Lacan, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Giorgio Agamben, among others, Wariboko presents a close reading of everyday Pentecostal practices, and in doing so, uncovers and presents a sophisticated conversation between radical continental philosophy and everyday forms of spirituality. By de-particularizing Pentecostal studies and Pentecostalism, Wariboko broadens our understanding of the intellectual aspects of the global Pentecostal and Charismatic movements.

“Not since the early work of Thomas J. J. Altizer has a theologian/philosopher opened such a radical new vision of reality with new language as Nimi Wariboko does in The Split God. Through an analysis of Pentecostalism, Wariboko creates a vivid, shocking theology that self-consciously repeats classical Christian orthodoxy (in some of its modes) while transforming it so as to make new sense of Pentecostal beliefs and practices. He mines the language of contemporary continental critical theory of the psychoanalytical and Marxist sort for resources to express his claim that God is split, not whole, reality both spiritual and material is split, not whole, society is split, not whole, and persons are split, not whole. What Pentecostalism does, he claims, is to unite these split parts into vital ways of living in the face of God without making them holistically coherent, just alive and vital.” — Robert Cummings Neville, author of Defining Religion: Essays in Philosophy of Religion
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About the author

 Nimi Wariboko is Walter G. Muelder Professor of Social Ethics at Boston University.

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Additional Information

SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 20, 2018
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Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Religion / Christianity / Pentecostal & Charismatic
Religion / Theology
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Eligible for Family Library

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