© 2019

Žižek Reading Bonhoeffer

Towards a Radical Critical Theology

  • Presents a critical reading of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s social theology through the lens of Žižek

  • Explores the potential that lies in the engagement of critical theory and theology

  • Draws attention to and clarifies the full dimensionality of the necessary critical character of theology


Part of the Radical Theologies and Philosophies book series (RADT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Bojan Koltaj
    Pages 1-17
  3. Bojan Koltaj
    Pages 19-79
  4. Bojan Koltaj
    Pages 81-152
  5. Bojan Koltaj
    Pages 153-158
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 171-191

About this book


This book critically examines Bonhoeffer’s social theology in Sanctorum Communio from the perspective of Žižek’s theological materialism. Specifically, it refers to Žižek’s struggling universality of abandonment and its ethic of indifference in consideration of Bonhoeffer’s transcendental personalist community of saints and its ethic of universal love. As such, it represents an attempt to reflect on the content, act, and implication of theological thought without presuppositions and an argument for the necessity of such an approach—a radical approach that is true to theology’s critical character of challenging narratives and revealing exceptions in search of truth.


Sanctorum Communio Raschke Robbins graham ward The Cost of Discipleship

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Canterbury Christ Church UniversityCanterburyUK

About the authors

Bojan Koltaj is an associate lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Kent, UK. 

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Žižek Reading Bonhoeffer
  • Book Subtitle Towards a Radical Critical Theology
  • Authors Bojan Koltaj
  • Series Title Radical Theologies and Philosophies
  • Series Abbreviated Title Radical Theologies
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy Philosophy and Religion (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-26093-4
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-26096-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-26094-1
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIII, 191
  • Number of Illustrations 1 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Critical Theory
    Christian Theology
    History of World War II and the Holocaust
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“The questions that Bojan Koltaj raises in this groundbreaking study are serious and real:  Is there an authentic form of community?  Is social change possible?  And if so, are they best achieved with or without God?  By reading Bonhoeffer—the patron saint of radical theology—through Žižek, Koltaj pushes Bonhoeffer beyond where he himself might have been comfortable, but in so doing, he successfully radicalizes him so that the religionless Christianity befitting a world without God he envisioned might finally be realized. This is what Koltaj means by a critical theology without presuppositions, and it is why this book should be required reading for anyone interested in radical theology.” (Jeffrey W. Robbins, Professor of Religion & Philosophy, Lebanon Valley College, USA)

“Any future for theology will be materialist, or it will not be. In this brilliant study of Žižek and Bonhoeffer, Bojan Koltaj contrasts Bonhoeffer’s ethical community of saints with Žižek’s political community of abandonment, showing the theological roots of both thinkers. Koltaj develops a radical critical theology without presuppositions that demands to be read and enacted.” (Clayton Crockett, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Central Arkansas, USA)

“If it is true that theology is inherently critical, then this book is an excellent departure point from which to develop a new theology for today’s complex world. If it is not necessarily true, then the rich resources of the radical approach on offer here – Bonhoeffer meets Žižek, to lay the groundwork for a meta-theology – become an excellent beginning point from which to make it true.” (Andrew W. Hass, Reader in Religion, University of Stirling, Scotland, and author Hegel and the Art of Negation.)

“This book arrives at a time of heightened interest in the convergence between radical materialist thinkers and Christian theology, and offers both useful and original contributions to a field that is currently on its rise. In the comparative reading of Žižek and Bonhoeffer attempted here (a most interesting choice of interlocutors, it must be remarked!), Bojan Koltaj offers scholarship of high quality that is certain to occupy a prominent position in the discussion that is currently underway. The future of the dialogue between critical theory and Christian theology seems certainly bright.” (Sotiris Mitralexis, Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Winchester, UK, and Teaching Fellow at the University of Athens, Greece)