Babel, Tyranny and Totality

Reading Genesis 11 with Luther

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Abstract

In this paper, I consider Martin Luther’s treatment of the tower of Babel narrative in his late Lectures on Genesis in order to display the continuing fruitfulness of a close reading of his exposition of Scripture for the task of contemporary political theology. Luther addresses the themes of, politics, tyranny, totality, and language with a theological attunement instructive to those of us formed within the societies and politics of late-modernity. In addition to attending to Luther’s reading of Genesis 11 for its critical usefulness in interrogating our understandings of the mechanisms of political formation, I also look to his reading of the Eucharist in light of the Christological doctrine of the communicatio idiomatum, and his exegesis of the account of the Syrophenician woman in the Gospels, to indicate constructive ways in which the idolatrous politics of Babel might be resisted and the politics of Pentecost embraced.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-421
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Christian Ethics
Volume31
Issue number4
Early online date1 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

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Genesis
Babel
Tyranny
Totality
Exposition
Scripture
Attunement
Usefulness
Tower of Babel
Doctrine
Close Reading
Language
Late Modernity
Exegesis
Gospel
Pentecost
Eucharist
Political Theology

Keywords

  • Martin Luther
  • Babel
  • political theology
  • tyranny
  • Genesis
  • repentance

Cite this

Babel, Tyranny and Totality : Reading Genesis 11 with Luther. / Laffin, Michael.

In: Studies in Christian Ethics, Vol. 31, No. 4, 01.11.2018, p. 408-421.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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