What’s Wrong with Revolutionary Love at the AAR (Laura Levitt)


This year the theme at the American Academy of Religion took a robust theological turn, focused on “revolutionary love.” Does such a rubric make room for non-Christians? Is the AAR losing its way? Responding to a keynote address by Michelle Alexander, Laura Levitt weighs in on the scholarly organization as a site of Christian political resistance. You can read the whole thing here from online at the Bulletin for the Study of Religion. One can suppose that this country is a deeply Christian country and the AAR has always reflected that fact. Speaking as it does to the question of being caught up short in the world, this is the bit that caught my attention:.

“And then the conversation took, what was for me, an unexpected turn. All of a sudden the revolutionary who had sung the praises of the Black Panthers, shifted gears. The revolution became spiritual, and, more specifically, a proclamation of the power of “the Church,” of Jesus’s suffering on the cross, on the brother/sisterhood of humanity, all of us “children of God.” This was a decidedly Christian universal message. Just as Alexander proclaimed the bankruptcy of American democracy she proclaimed the revolutionary power of the Church. I could not help but hear a call to crusade, a sacred revolution in the name of Jesus Christ and I was no longer a part of this story. The discourse had shifted, profoundly. I was in a different universe.”

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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3 Responses to What’s Wrong with Revolutionary Love at the AAR (Laura Levitt)

  1. I think the link may be broken to the Levitt piece. Thanks!

  2. Dear Zachary, does this AAR issue somehow resonates with the following statement, made by a famous modern philosopher?
    “The euthanasia of Judaism is pure moral religion, freed from all the ancient statutory teachings, some of which were bound to be retained in Christianity (as a messianic faith). But this division of sects, too, must disappear in time, leading, at least in spirit, to what we call the conclusion of the great drama of religious change on earth (the restoration of all things), when there will be only one shepherd and one flock.” (Emmanuel Kant, The Conflict of the Faculties, trans. Mary J. Gregor, New York: Abaris Books 1979, p. 95).
    In its extreme form, universalism might appear to be a very particularistic attitude.

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