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The Fragile Absolute: Or, Why Is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For?

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  573 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
With typical brio and boldness, Slavoj Žižek 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 contribution from a Marxist to the 2000th anniversary of one who was well aware that to practice love in our world is to bring in the sword and fire.
Paperback, 184 pages
Published November 17th 2001 by Verso (first published 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,354)
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Ronald Morton
Mar 20, 2016 Ronald Morton rated it really liked it
What we should do in order to penetrate the underlying ‘fundamental fantasy' is to stage these two fantasies together: to confront ourselves with the unbearable ideal couple of a male ape copulating with a female cyborg, the fantasmatic support of the 'normal’ couple of man and woman copulating.
I'm actually not going to provide context for that quote. There is no context which improves upon it, so I'm going to open with it, and just kind of leave it there.

You know you're reading Žižek when the
Jul 29, 2009 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: dissertation
I have an uneasy relationship with Zizek's work. His misreadings of Derrida are productive but frustrating. Similarly, when he discusses "postmodern" thought, he usually takes the bottom of the barrel to be representative of the whole. However, his readings of Lacan, pop culture, and, in the case of this book, Christianity are provocative and insightful. I did think the length of The Fragile Absolute was a problem as it seemed like he frequently jumped to a new topic as soon as his discussion wa ...more
Jared Colley
The title of this work is kind of misleading. He discusses Christianity at the opening and picks it back up towards the end. His interests are strictly Materialist - once again appropriating Paul as a subversive, radical figure in the context of an oppressive Roman Empire. He sees statements like "there are neither men nor women, neither Jews nor Greeks" as more importantly functioning for disruptive political purposes in a certain historical situation. His comments on Christ's relation to the L ...more
May 07, 2010 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
Now that's the stuff. This is Zizek in fine form. As usual, I won't claim to have fully digested every page, but there's plenty on which to chew.

If you're wavering between reading this one or his _On Belief_, I'd go with this one. He covers similar ground, but this one hangs together better. (I think I'd say the same w/r/t The Puppet and the Dwarf, but it's been so long since I read that one it's a little hard to compare.)

If nothing else Zizek gets you in the habit of refusing the easy view of s
Benjamin Griffin
May 17, 2010 Benjamin Griffin rated it really liked it
I'm enjoying the dizzing postmodernity of this because i'm having an actual engagement with religion and the religious at the moment.

In the past it all seem like so much abstract hooey-- totally failing to address the realities of class, race and gender.

Maybe i grew up? Maybe i mellowed? Maybe I found religion? I really don't know yet.
Jul 07, 2015 Ana rated it did not like it
In the name of the Father Lacan, and of the Son Marx, and of the Holy Spirit Hegel. Amen.
Dec 07, 2007 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Zizek of course makes for fascinating reading. He is refreshingly non-left in a lot of his thinking. Here he spends a lot of time talking about movies, Croatian jokes, and Lacan. It is dense, entertaining, and provocative, which is all I really ask of him. His interaction with Christian thought is notable as a trend in contemporary thought, but as James K. A. Smith just pointed out in a Books and Culture review, we (Christians) have to be careful to watch out for what these thinkers throw out wh ...more
Apr 09, 2011 Hadrian rated it really liked it
Utterly confusing if you don't understand all the references (from Hitchcock to Saint Paul and Marx), but some really interesting ideas in here if you stare at it long enough. Discusses the nature of groups, and religions.
May 22, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this the best out of the Essential Zizek series because it's the least repetitive and centers around Zizek's prescriptions going forward (and not around his diagnoses and analyses of problems). Don't get me wrong: all Zizek is repetitive (within and between books), and you have multiple opportunities to experience deja vu if you've read a few Zizek books going into this one. But repetition is necessary for Zizek's philosophy, and as this is half the size of the other 3 "Essential" books ...more
Sep 16, 2007 sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In _The Fragile Absolute_, Zizek presents his argument in his usual hyperkinetic and engaging style, but I feel like this was more of a 3 and a half star read for me rather than a solid 4 star experience (I'll round up anyway). The reason for this is because I have read other books by Zizek that were more satisfying. He visited many of the same principles in _The Fragile Absolute_ that I have encountered in his other books while tweaking them a bit in different directions. He didn't go quite as ...more
Jun 14, 2010 Kyle rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of my least favorite so far of Zizek's. I had such high hopes for the Christianity and Marxist synthesis that getting bogged down in all the Lacan just to have a few snippets of prospects for Christianity kinda saddened me. Not to mention the structure was odd. Random chapters which would bring open prospects of interest which were just never answered sadly. I really just don't know what I was supposed to get out of this book. It seemed so structureless, random and hodge-podge. Silly me want ...more
Like all of Zizek's work which i've read so far, The Fragile Absolute is absolutely all over the place thematically. Zizek hops from topic to topic so feverishly and with such scant justification that it seems impossible to fully understand how the chapters relate to one another, let alone how they all relate to the nominal theme of the book. In a book subtitled "Why is the Christian Legacy Worth Fighting For?" he does not approach any substantial, direct discussion of Christianity until the las ...more
May 06, 2012 Don rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The sections that actually discussed Christianity (and Judaism and Islam) were interesting and provocative, but 1/2 the book was random Zizekisms that did not add to the book at all and had little or nothing to do with the subject.
Mar 09, 2008 Dave rated it really liked it
Shelves: zizek
This book is one of his better works. This book warrants more of a review but i will just say this illuminates the contradictions of liberalism and late capitalism better than some of his other works.
There is a lot going on in this book. Ostensibly, the main theme of the book is a defense of the “Christian legacy” against its kidnapping by fundamentalists. However, only a portion of the book even mentions Christ, Paul, or Christianity. A lot more of the book is just an observation and criticism of current culture and societal trends from a Marxist and Lacanian psychoanalyst perspective. Despite this, none of the topics he talks about ever really feels out of place, even if it doesn't follow ...more
Christopher DeMarcus
Written by an atheist, a set of essays that wonder in and out of theology.
May 09, 2016 Katrinka rated it liked it
3.5–although it's getting harder to give a meaningful rating to Žižek's stuff, because I feel as if I keep reading the same thing over again, in (sometimes-)different disguises. ...more
Aaron Dennis
Aug 22, 2007 Aaron Dennis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people thinking about marxism, christianity and modern culture
very dense reading, should be taken in spurts but certainly not in its entirety in one sitting. the sort of book that is enjoyed when leisurely approached on a short vacation.

zizek is formidable thinker, and raises good points for any champion of canonical ideology though ultimately his desire is simply to capture a rendering of worldly realization in conceptual discussions on trends in philosophical thought, using sundry aspects of popular culture as reference.
as far as zizek rambles go this was a pretty good ramble re: protecting the so-called revolutionary kernal of christianity, and how jews are the "last cannibals abolishing the condition of cannibalism" whatever the f***ck that means.
Dec 07, 2013 Jamie rated it liked it
A noble realization of a kind of Christian (without God) Materialism and its importance. As I, and surely others, could pass for atheists, this book comes as a "you don't have to be 'Christian'" to be loving. A decent read.
Jonathan Lemaster-smith
Mar 28, 2013 Jonathan Lemaster-smith rated it it was amazing
Excellent look at the power and promise of the Christian message and the danger of fundamentalism in the postmodern world. Also, he likes to cite a lot of popular culture.
Jun 05, 2013 Rob rated it it was ok
Wish this had been better. I love getting lost in his tangents, but this one doesn't deliver on the stated promise.
Ethan Everhart
Feb 18, 2012 Ethan Everhart rated it it was ok
I don't know enough about philosophy (specifically Hegel and Lacan) to get much out of this.
Aimee Wilson
Nov 09, 2007 Aimee Wilson rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: yes!
one of my favorites.. more to come..+
Curt Bozif
Oct 02, 2007 Curt Bozif rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Christians, Marxists, Radicals
Stuff about the sublime I think.
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Slavoj Žižek is a Slovene sociologist, philosopher, and cultural critic.

He was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia (then part of SFR Yugoslavia). He received a Doctor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Ljubljana and studied psychoanalysis at the University of Paris VIII with Jacques-Alain Miller and François Regnault. In 1990 he was a candidate with the party Liberal Democracy of Slovenia for P
More about Slavoj Žižek...

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“What is the Absolute? Something that appears to us in fleeting experiences--say, through the gentle smile of a beautiful woman, or even through the warm caring smile of a person who may otherwise seem ugly and rude. In such miraculous but extremely fragile moments, another dimension transpires through our reality. As such, the Absolute is easily corroded;it slips all too easily through our fingers and must be handled as carefully as a butterfly” 59 likes
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