Chapter

Automatic Theologies Surrealism and the Politics of Equality

Kate Khatib

in Political Theologies

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226443
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237043 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823226443.003.0032
Automatic Theologies Surrealism and the Politics of Equality

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This chapter explores the question of whether there is a place for theology in the post-secular age. It focuses on 20th-century surrealism in the context of Mircea Eliade's notion of the “hierophany”—the manifestation of the sacred in everyday reality—in an attempt to resituate surrealist thought within a new, post-secular narrative of redemption. It recasts surrealism as a philosophy of immanence, in which surreality appears as a redemptive potential found in the objects of the everyday world. Walter Benjamin's 1929 chapter “Surrealism” provides the guiding framework for this argument, which seeks to elucidate the political-theological dimensions of both Benjaminian and surrealist thought through an investigation of the temporality of Benjamin's “profane illumination” and to demonstrate why surrealism's central concept of automatism might best be seen as a strategy for engendering mystical encounters with objects in the everyday world. The surrealist politics of equality is dependent upon a notion of communicability that transcends all human boundaries while allowing the distinctions between concepts to continue to exist.

Keywords: Mircea Eliade; theology; surrealism; politics; equality; hierophany; sacred; Walter Benjamin; automatism; profane illumination

Chapter.  8024 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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