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A Hermeneutic of Hope: Problematizing Žižek's Apocalypticism

Chapter in book
Authors Ola Sigurdson
Published in Žižek Studies: The Greatest Hits (So Far). Edited by David J. Gunkel and Paul A. Taylor
Pages 105–123
ISBN 978-1-4331-4617-6
ISSN 2475-7012
Publisher Peter Lang
Place of publication New York
Publication year 2020
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Pages 105–123
Language en
Keywords Žižek and apocalypticism, political religion, political theology, hope
Subject categories Philosophy of religion, Faith and reason, Systematic theology, Practical philosophy


In this chapter, I problematize Slavoj Žižek’s use of the apocalyptic tradition in his political philosophy, especially focusing on the consequences it has for his understanding of hope. Especially, I find his strong emphasis on the disjunction between the state before and after the radical event implies a radical discontinuity between the present state and the state of emancipation, that the possibility falls away of any kind of criteria for a useful distinction between authentic and inauthentic events. Such a lack of a more developed hermeneutics of discernment opens up for a potential ‘decisionism’ in Žižek’s work despite itself; decisionism in the sense of the evental decision itself provides the criteria for what counts as a legitimate emancipation rather than any preconceived criteria.

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