The Non/Sovereignty of Christ and the End of Sacrifice: Toward a Phenomenology of Christian Pacifism

By Justin Heinzekehr.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 04, 2014 $US5.00

Following Girard, the analysis of religion and violence has often been framed by discussions of sacrifice. This may occur either through a scapegoat, as in Girard, or through the operation of the sovereign, as in Paul Kahn’s recent book, “Sacred Violence.” For both authors, Christ functions as the possibility of transcending the sacredness that ultimately causes violence. But rather than separating Christ from sovereignty or sacredness, as Girard and Kahn do, I argue that Christ represents a form of sovereignty that is the negative correlate of political sovereignty. The political sovereign is the locus of collective power and identity. In Christ, however, sovereignty is dissolved into whatever lies external to the communal identity. Christ is not the simple absence or abolishment of sovereignty; Christ ends sacrificial violence by demanding loyalty on behalf of those outside the community. He is a sovereign that has no location or identity – the non/sovereign.

Keywords: Nationalism, Citizenship, Affinities and Affiliations

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 11, Issue 2, April 2014, pp.23-29. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 04, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 363.686KB)).

Justin Heinzekehr

Ph.D Student, Process Studies, Claremont Lincoln University, Claremont, CA, USA

Justin Heinzekehr is a Ph.D. student in theology at Claremont Lincoln University. He explores the relationship between process theology and Anabaptist thought, specifically connections between postmodern philosophy and the distinctive ecclesiology, ethics, and theology of contemporary Anabaptism.