Iconoclastic Theology

Iconoclastic Theology: Gilles Deleuze and the Secretion of Atheism

F. LeRon Shults
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt9qdr95
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  • Book Info
    Iconoclastic Theology
    Book Description:

    French philosopher Gilles Deleuze was vehemently opposed to the idea of the transcendental, yet still found value in religion - in its ability to 'secrete atheism'. F. LeRon Shults explores Deleuze's fascination with theological themes throughout his entire corpus. He brings Deleuzian concepts into dialogue with insights derived from the bio-cultural sciences of religion in order to increase the flow of a productive atheism.

    eISBN: 978-0-7486-8414-4
    Subjects: Philosophy, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. viii-x)
  5. 1 Hammering Theology
    (pp. 1-24)

    The impact of Gilles Deleuze’s philosophical corpus resounds within and resonates across disciplines as diverse as physics, psychology, political science and the performing arts. Theoreticians and practitioners in these and other fields have been discovering what his literary body can do – and what can be done by extracting the revolutionary force of his massively energetic texts. My project is the extraction of resources for the production of aniconoclastictheology. I will argue that Deleuze’s whole oeuvre is atheologicaliconbreaking machine that liberates thinking, acting, and feeling from the repressive power of Images of transcendence. His work is not...

  6. 2 Breaking Theological Icons
    (pp. 25-61)

    This chapter introduces the first and perhaps most obvious sense in which Deleuze’s theology isiconoclastic: it hammers away at the Platonic notion oficonsas good copies of ideal models. In fact, his whole philosophical project contributed to the inversion or “reversal of Platonism,” a phrase Deleuze borrows from Nietzsche but develops in his own way. Here, as elsewhere, his hammering is both critical and constructive. Deleuze aims to destroy both copies and models “in order to institute the chaos whichcreates, making the simulacra function and raising a phantasm – themost innocent of all destructions, the destruction of...

  7. 3 Loosening Theological Chains
    (pp. 62-100)

    Breaking icons (re)commences the inversion of Platonism by exposing the obsession with adjudicating between bad and good images based on their putative relation to idealized models. But this is not the only use for a theological hammer. Like the “instructor” in Plato’s allegory of the cave, the Deleuzian Friend is interested in loosening the chains that bind thinkers in the dark. Like Glaucon, she will agree with Socrates that these prisoners will naturally be distressed when they become aware of the extent to which their shackles have limited their perspective. For her, however, the problem is not that thinkers are...

  8. 4 Releasing Theological Events
    (pp. 101-139)

    Iconoclastic theology breaks religious Images that are interpreted as mediators of transcendence, clearing the field of dogmatic idols so that Friends can set out a plane of immanence. It also loosens the shackles that have imprisoned thought within sacerdotal coalitions and the philosophies bound to them, liberating thinking from the Platonic domain of representation. Although these forces clearly have a destructive effect, they are also intrinsically constructive. We turn now to a third way of using a theological hammer, which maintains the element of critique but is perhaps even more explicitly creative: extending the crack on the metaphysical surface of...

  9. 5 Assembling Theological Machines
    (pp. 140-182)

    In the previous three chapters, we have focused for the most part on the iconoclastic force of Deleuze’s solo authorship prior to his collaboration with Félix Guattari. We drew attention to some of the “theological” aspects of his early works of philosophical portraiture and the two major monographs produced in the late 1960s. As we have seen, Deleuze uses a theological hammer to flatten religious Icons of transcendence, to crack open the chains of the dogmatic image of thought, and to free the actor for an unlimited affirmation of events. This chapter explores his major project with Félix Guattari,Capitalism...

  10. 6 Secreting Atheism
    (pp. 183-196)

    We have seen that Deleuze had several uses for a theological hammer. He broke icons of transcendence, pried apart the dogmatic shackles of thought, extended the crack that releases the eternal truth of events, and assembled nomadic war machines to combat the psycho-social repression of desiring-production. Deleuze had other ways of utilizing a hammer that we have not explored here; we might have added chapters, for example, on “forging theological intuitions” (Bergsonism) or “moving theological pictures” (Cinema 1andCinema 2). All of his efforts contributed to the inversion of the Platonic Eidetic framework, to overturning the domain of representation...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 197-214)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 215-223)
  13. Index
    (pp. 224-230)