Resistance to Christianity

Raoul Vaneigem


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13 November 2023
ISBN: 9781912475605
600 pages

From the publisher

Translated by Bill Brown

‘Nothing less than a complete historical account of the development of Christianity.’––Alastair J. Hemmens

‘This magnificent book chronicles the struggles of the people across many centuries to live free of all masters, to dwell in a world where desire and the divine are one. Vaneigem shows how often those branded as heretics were in revolt against tyranny, but how often also tyrannical Christian impulses contaminated attempts to break free. Essential reading in an age when, once again, the resistance against our gaolers requires a religious as well as a political vocabulary.’––McKenzie Wark

Resistance to Christianity: A Chronological Encyclopaedia of Heresy from the Beginning to the Eighteenth Century reveals the hidden story behind the modern-day edifice of Christianity. Raoul Vaneigem’s landmark study provides a compelling account of the falsifications and political agendas that shaped what we now know as the canonical Bible and such pillars of Christian doctrine as the Resurrection and the Holy Trinity. It also traces alternative pathways that have been opened up the many individuals and groups that have departed from the Church’s teachings: from the remarkably modern first-century thinker Simon the Magus, to the libertarian mystics of the Middle Ages, to the Jansenists of the seventeenth century. This is, in short, an exceptionally wide-ranging history of the forms of thought and belief that orthodox religion has mischaracterized and suppressed over the course of the centuries.

Resistance to Christianity is far more, however, than a study of religious movements and ideas; indeed, Vaneigem is bracingly unapologetic in his ambition “to examine the resistance that the inclination to natural liberty has, for nearly twenty centuries, opposed to . . . Christian oppression”. The story of how men and women have again and again resisted the authoritarian implications of religious orthodoxy is, above all, a crucial strand of the history of human freedom.

Bill Brown’s translation makes available in English a major work by one of the preeminent thinkers of our time. A remarkable feat of historical scholarship that deserves to be widely read, Resistance to Christianity represents radical thought at its most exciting, incisive, and compelling.