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Taryn Mattice

Terrific post Clark, thanks for the great, informative read!

Steve Shiffrin

Wonderful post Clark and thanks Frank for commenting (I look forward to your reworking of the virtues of resistance).
By the way, I too have profited from a lot of Connolly's work. I understand Clark's special regard for Why I Am Not a Secularist. But my favorite is still Identity/Difference. Everyone should read chapter 4 and the letter to Augustine is a masterpiece.

Clark West

Thanks for commenting, Frank.
You are right about Connolly's nervousness regarding attunement. As a theologian deeply engaged in the Christian mystical tradition, I have come to share his reticence here.

It is not that harmony is unimportant, nor is attunement always wrong. (I think Connolly would agree). Quite often, its a crucial part of discerning what Connolly means by 'the event' and moving fruitfully in its wake; surfing it, so to speak, which is an aspect of creativity.
Its that when it becomes the ultimate telos, especially in a theo-political register, it has a hard time dealing with that which resists its ordering impulses. Augustine's aesthetic theodicy is a good example of this danger of a harmonizing imperative, and I am with Connolly on that. Brent Shaw's recent book, Sacred Violence, is a rather stunning work of fine-tuned historical analysis regarding Augustine and the so-called Donatists of North Africa, which points out the real-world (and rather devastating) consequences of Augustine's over-emphasis on a theology of love as always moving toward attunement with divine ontological and political order.

Foucault's late essays on parrhesia would be another way to see the difference between certain 'minor' strands of Cristian thinking and the Augustinian tradition.

Anyway, I very much appreciate your work, and look forward to reading your revision of it!


Thanks to both you and Steve Shiffrin for mentioning my post. I want to enter this conversation in a bit...I am reworking that "Virtues of Resistance" post into a more accessible form.

I am a big fan of Connolly, though I'd say I'm ultimately more a Charles Taylor "attunement" fan. (As I recall, Connolly rejected both political theories of "mastery" and "attunement" in Identity/Difference...but I read it nearly 20 years ago, so I may be misremembering (creatively misreading?) that.)

Connolly's letter to St. Augustine in I/D is also quite something. I look forward to reading the speech you linked to.

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