The Abandoned Fiancée, or Against Subjection



In this chapter, I argue—in the wake of Michèle Le Doeuff—against the valorization of subjection that has taken hold of modern theology. Analysing Graham Ward’s Christ and Culture, I contend that the recent penchant for an ethics of kenosis in religious thought leads ultimately—despite explicit protestations to the contrary—to a conception of subjectivity as constituted in servitude before Christ. However, this criticism is not—pace Ward—to apply secular, Enlightenment values to a distinct post-secular realm; rather, in the second half of the chapter, I enter into dialogue with Le Doeuff’s criticisms of Søren Kierkegaard, in order to suggest that co-existing with Kierkegaard’s misogyny towards his abandoned fiancée, there is also an adherence in his work to a Le Doeuffean ethics of friendship. Thus, I conclude, Christianity is not incompatible with modernity.


Subjection Kenosis Friendship Radical orthodoxy Master/slave dialectic 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Worcester CollegeOxfordUK

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