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7. The Many Acts of the Apostles: Simulacra and Simulation

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1. Title Title of document 7. The Many Acts of the Apostles: Simulacra and Simulation - Critical Theory and Early Christianity
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Matthew Whitlock; Seattle University;
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Philip Tite; University of Washington; United States
3. Subject Discipline(s) Religion; Philosophy
4. Subject Keyword(s) Walter Benjamin, Gilles Deleuze, Alain Badiou, Judith Butler; Early Christian Thought; Critical Theory
5. Subject Subject classification Early Christian Thought; History of Ideas; Critical Theory
6. Description Abstract What does Critical Theory’s discussion of simulacra reveal about the quest for Christian origins? Whitlock and Tite explore Deleuze’s theories about simulacra, contrasting them to those of Jean Baudrillard, and then applying them to the Acts tradition. On the one hand, Baudrillard views simulacra negatively, claiming that we have been so overcome by copies of copies that we have lost sight of the real. His theories affirm the dichotomy between the real and the virtual, and the original and the copy. Applying Baudrillard’s theories to the quest for Christian origins, Whitlock and Tite demonstrate how we are left only with copies of copies of early Christian “origins.” And if we seek the “authentic” or “authoritative” essence of Christianity behind these copies, we find, in Baudrillard’s terms, “the desert of the real.” On the other hand, Deleuze views simulacra positively, claiming that life is a simulacrum of becoming, an infinite and evolving series of real images and real differences. Deleuze’s theories challenge the dichotomies between the real and the virtual, authentic and inauthentic, authoritative and apocryphal—dichotomies too often undergirding modern quests for Christian origins. Using Deleuzian theories, Whitlock and Tite examine early Christian texts not as authentic and authoritative representations of an original source or essence, but as a continuous and evolving series of real images and real differences, a simulacrum of becoming. Applying these theories to the Acts tradition, Whitlock and Tite examine how stories of Cornelius repeat and differ from Luke to Acts, and from Acts to the so-called apocryphal Acts, and how this series of forms, in Deleuze’s words, leads to “the abandonment of representation.”
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 28-Oct-2022
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.30152
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Critical Theory and Early Christianity
16. Language English=en English
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.) 4th Century CE; contemporary
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd