Thinking the Scream

Figures and Forms of Death and the Story of Christianity

  • Anthony Paul Smith


Death is at the heart of the Christian story. The genesis of the Christian story begins, in part, with the death of Christ. This essay examines the death of Christ and its central role in the genesis of Christian culture and its story. The power of death in the story of Christianity is analyzed through a survey of the death of Christ read through three central theoriziations of death. Biological death is analyzed as the material cessation of a life. The death drive, as conceptualized in psychoanalysis and queer theory, is analyzed through the figure of the sinthomosexual and the threat this figure of death poses to social order. Social death, a primary concept in the study of racial slavery, is analyzed as a form of death that is itself the foundation or ground of that social order. These disparate forms and figures of death are analyzed through concepts derived from Gilles Deleuze's philosophy, especially his work on figure and form in his study of Francis Bacon, The Logic of Sensation.