1st Edition

Cain, Abel, and the Politics of God
An Agambenian reading of Genesis 4:1-16

ISBN 9780367886820
Published December 12, 2019 by Routledge
192 Pages

USD $47.95

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Book Description

The Genesis story of Cain’s murder of Abel is often told as a simplistic contrast between the innocence of Abel and the evil of Cain. This book subverts that reading of the Biblical text by utilising Giorgio Agamben’s concepts of homo sacer, the state of exception and the idea of sovereignty to re-examine this well-known tale of fratricide and bring to the fore its political implications.

Drawing from political theory, philosophy, and psychoanalysis, this book creates a theoretical framework from which to do two things: firstly, to describe and analyse the history of interpretation of Genesis 4:1-16, and secondly to propose an alternative reading of the Biblical text that incorporates other texts inside and outside of the Biblical canon. This intertextual analysis will highlight the motives of violence, law, divine rule, and the rejected as they emerge in different contexts and will evaluate them in an Agambenian framework.

The unique approach of this book makes it vital reading for any academic with interests in Biblical Studies and Theology and their interactions with politics and ethics.

Table of Contents


1 Cain’s Evil Nature: A Story of Otherness

2 God’s Intervention: A Story of Othering

3 Cain Speaks Back to Augustine: A Critical Reading from Byron to Vallejo

4 Genesis 4:1-16: A Paradoxical Narrative


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Julián Andrés González Holguín is an assistant professor of Old Testament at Church Divinity School of the Pacific and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, USA. He is a steering committee member of AAR "Sacred Texts, Theory and Theological Construction" group, a graduate from Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, and a Latino migrant scholar raised in Colombia with interests in postcolonial, feminist, and political theory in the interpretation of texts.