xx + 184 pp.
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Bodies without Organs in the Gospel of Mark
Manuel Villalobos Mendoza
In this stimulating monograph, Villalobos Mendoza leads the diligent
reader to a re-appreciation of Mark’s Jesus as an enabler of human
freedom. The freedom that ought to be every human’s birthright is, we
know, everywhere constrained by custom, regulation and law. But for the
Jesus of Mark, order itself is disruptive, boundaries are transgressed,
hierarchies are dismantled, and the bodies of humans, animals and
trees are interconnected.
Villalobos Mendoza—taking his theoretical inspiration from the
philosopher Gilles Deleuze—proposes Mark’s Jesus as the first figure to
accomplish the ‘Body without Organs’ (BwO), the one who frees us from
the oppression of the priest / institution / power / hierarchy. According to
Deleuze, ‘the body is the body / it is all by itself / and has no need of
organs / the body is never an organism / organisms are the enemies of
the body’. This notion is helpful for understanding Jesus as the BwO,
how Jesus’ body affects other bodies, and how those bodies function (or
assemble) as an interkingdom of no-bodies.
The analysis of several Markan texts (Mk. 3.20- 35; 6.1-6; 1.12-13;
13.32-35; 14.27; 11.12-14; 14.51-52; 15.42-47; 16.1-8), is done through
the interpretative lens of Deleuze and Félix Guattari whose co-authored
works deliberately self-create new philosophical constructs, alongside
BwO, such as: ‘any-space-whatever’, ‘de-re-territorialization’,
‘assemblage’, ‘rhizome’, ‘threes’, ‘Becoming(s)’, ‘interkingdoms’, ‘affects’,
‘people-yet-to-come’, ‘nomadism’, ‘eternal return’, ‘repetition’.
By putting into dialogue insights from Deleuze and the Markan Jesus’
understanding of the kingdom of God, Villalobos Mendoza suggests the
character of Jesus as the exemplary opponent of the apparatus of state
which: organized, signified, subdued and subjected the human as well
as the nonhuman ‘body’. This representation of Jesus creates a new
interplay with the riddle of Deleuzean thought that argues that God and
the judgement of God are the eternal enemy of the BwO!
Manuel Villalobos Mendoza is the founder and director of Instituto Bíblico Claretiano de las Américas (IBICLA).