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The Fragile Absolute: Or, Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For? (Wo es war) Paperback – 18 Sep 2001

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Verso Books (18 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859843263
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859843260
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,812,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Righteously to battle the tsunami of postmodern spiritual mush, Zizek attempts a reconciliation between Marxism and Christianity, eccentrically (against Nietzsche) trying to recuperate St Paul for the radical Christian." - Steven Pool, The Guardian "The most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged from Europe in some decades." -- Terry Eagleton "With his characteristically frenetic and dizzying display of wit, Zizek will entertain and offend, but never bore." - The Stranger

From the Back Cover

With typical brio and boldness, Slavoj Zizek argues in The Fragile Absolute that the subversive core of the Christian legacy is much too precious to be left to the fundamentalists. Here is a fitting tribute from a Marxist to the 2000th anniversary of one who was well aware that to practise love in our world is to bring in the sword and fire.

'Righteously to battle the tsunami of postmodern mush, Zizek attempts a reconciliation between Marxism and Christianity, eccentrically (against Nietzsche) trying to recuperate St Paul for the radical Christian.' Steven Poole Guardian

'The most formidably brilliant exponent of psychoanalysis, indeed of cultural theory in general, to have emerged from Europe in some decades.' Terry Eagleton

'With his characteristically frenetic and dizzying display of wit, Zizek will entertain and offend, but never bore.' The Stranger

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This "Paulinian materialist" is the most original thinker in Europe today, a kind of blend of Jacques Lacan, Terry Eagleton and Karl Barth. The book`s central aim is to use the resources of seriuos, doctrinal Christianity AND serious doctrinal Marxism AND Lacanian psychoanalysis to begin finding our way out of our current "posthistorical" mess. It contains a particularly good critique of New Ageist religiousity and a defence of the implacably radical core at the centre of Christianity. The discussion of the politics of agape is outstanding. His range of examples is both witty and apt - there is a beautiful carve-up of the "spirituality of Star Wars". This book would appeal both to readers of Hans Urs von Balthassar and Gilian Rose and there are few people, apart from John Millbank, of whom that could be said.
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By A Customer on 31 July 2004
Format: Paperback
Slavoj Zizek (pronounced Slavoy Jijek) is without doubt the finest mind in European Philosophy since Wittgenstein. In a world obsessed with post-modernism, and its consequent rejection of objective reality, Zizek attempts, in 'The Fragile Absolute', to reclaim the Enlightenment project of Kant, Hegel and Marx from the clutches of thinkers who have abandoned overarching theories of the world. From Francis Fukyama's 'end of history' to Baudrillards sophistry, Zizek takes a razor sharp knife and cuts off the many heads of post-modernist illusionists. To acheive this he recounts the proper Marxist critique of the Capitalist obsession with commodification of objects into fetishistic objects of desire. Zizek fuses Lacanian psycho-analysis with an account of Christianity which throws fundamentalist religion, and new age 'babble' into the dustbin of postmodern fantasy. He argues, critically, that only by reclaiming the possibility of objective, overarching values and concerns can the world hope to come to an account of life that is both replete with integrity, and complete in its rejection of mystification dressed as 'truth'. The truth is out there but we can only find it if we 'uncouple' illusion and relativistic concerns from what is claimed (particularly, now, by Bush and Blair)as absolute truth.
This is a difficult book but it is never pretensious. It will stretch you to the limits of your knowledge. You will need to re-read it perhaps three or four times, initially, to fully benefit from the experience of an encounter with a true book of wisdom - philosophy as it should be.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 3.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Theology for Marxists, Atheists and Agnostics 1 Jun. 2003
By Tron Honto - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A self-described "fighting atheist," though not a very conventional one, and an avowed Marxist, though not a very typical or orthodox one, Žižek writes rooted deeply within Lacanian psychoanalysis in order to produce some of the most intriguing, bewildering, and relevant philosophy concerned with post-modern conundrums such as relativism, agency, and subjecthood.
Žižek in this work embraces the shared Marxist and Christian messianic visions of history as an alternative to both the post-modern, New Age-Gnostic moral sludge dominating PC culture and the excesses of capital. The true heart of the work-and its most convincing parts as well-occur mid-way through in Žižek `s treatment of Pauline agape vs. the Law/Sin dialectic as it relates to modern human rights. More or less, this is a desperate attempt to revive Marxism as an alternative to Liberalism. Good Luck.
Žižek writes in a frenetic, gregarious style that is endearing but not necessarily rigorous. His penchant for citing movies, novels and popular culture besides the likes of Schelling, Lacan, Hegel and Heidegger lightens the atmosphere, but the problem is that many things that he says, many conclusions he arrives at from overly generalized instances of cultural practice are just blatantly false. Also, it can be annoying when he rambles on for five pages about a movie you've never seen, thus, making any attempt to understand his point tedious. [Recommendation: definitely make sure you've watched Hitchcock's VERTIGO before reading this book].
For me, Žižek is one of the authors with whom I part ways with on the big questions but with whom I often side with on the smaller questions. His acuity in the realm of cultural interpretation and his applications of Lacanian psychoanalysis to politics are both haunting and memorable long after you've finished the books. Re-reading this book, I came across this passage in footnote #12 that sent shivers down my spine with it's accuracy.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zizek's clearest exposition yet. 19 Jun. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Slovenia's most prolific theorist's newest offering may be the clearest statement of his radical blend of Lacanian psychoanalysis and Marxist social critique. Don't let the title scare you...Zizek has not become a militant fundamentalist. The book argues a shared impetus for change within Christianity (especially vis-a-vis St. Paul) and Marxism and proposes this "kernel" be used to bring these camps together for social good. Peppered with his trademark pop culture illustrations, this book is immensely readable and cogently argued. A great introduction to Zizek's thought.
21 of 36 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much psycho-analysis 2 Dec. 2002
By joshua - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Okay, I know Zizek is a Lacanian, but I was hoping that he'd get beyond his neo-Freudianism in this book--considering that its billed as an intersection between Marx and Christianity. Indeed, the topic is very intriguing and Zizek's fundamental thesis--that Christianity should be saved and joined with Marxism--is compelling. I especially liked his treatment of "agape"...
The problem, however, is that Zizek's Lacanianism blinds him to the history of Marxist criticism. He mentions Adorno and Horkheimer at several points, but it is evident that he has not read Lukacs or Debord. This fact is obvious in his chapter entitled "The Spectre of Capitalism" where he writes, as if he has some profound insight, "this reduction of heavenly chimeras to brutal economic reality generates a spectrality of its own". if he had read Lukacs--who preceded Adorno and Horkheimer--he would realize that he's speaking about the concept "reification" which even A & H understood, having read "History and Class Consciousness". And Debord's concept of spectacular society rounds out Lukacs' take on "reification" and basically nullifies Zizek's next chapter. aside from reiterating Lukacs and Debord in his own convoluted language (and appearing to sound original), Zizek also rips of Deleuze and Guattari at numerous points without giving credit. Funny thing this, since D & G would have had nothing but derision for Zizek's Lacanianiasm--psycho-analytic criticism, grounded in Freud, is nothing but Statist and pro-Capitalist since it reinforces the Oedipal triangle. You would think that even Zizek would notice this fact.
Aside from these theoretical problems, "The Fragile Absolute" is still a very compelling read. One has to wonder, however, why Zizek thinks the merging of Marxism and Christianity is some kind of "new" strategy; wasn't this the fundamental thesis of Liberation Theology in the 1960s?
3 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars red herring 29 Oct. 2007
By AGaul - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
zizek is trapped in lacan, hegel, heidegger...he has no solution to the loss of subjectivity because these philosophers are the reason for objectification...zizek, zisk means 'profit'...just like the greek myths were meant to instill mass objectification among its subjects, so too, the modern re-introduction via freud, lacan circulate the same objectivity, paramount for capital and social order, pretending to solve its enigma, the solution is the reason and cause...it all justifies objectivity by arguing the ultimate loss of self and realm of Other and chaos...its tautological...its fraudulent...the last chapter deals with Christianity, sort-of, the rest is weird lacanian, hegel mumbo...this is why zizek is popular, he has no solution nor wants one...read baudrillard if you are really interested in how capital controls
3 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zizek again! 23 May 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Zizek at his all time high (takes Lacan with him)!
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