Inerrancy & BioPolitics: Our bodies are the texts

Two great discussions have me thinking today.  Arni at I Think I Believe directed me to a fantastic post at Political Jesus: "Inerrancy As White Evangelical Folklore."  Its a great exposition of the particular power claims at work behind the dominant evangelical insistence of inerrancy. Citing Katie Cannon:
“The doctrine of infallibility reinforced and was reinforced by the need for social legitimization of slavery.  Thus racial slavery was accepted as a necessary fulfillment of the curse of Ham. This had the effect of placing the truthfulness of God’s self-revelation on the same level as Black slavery and White supremacy.”
But what really cut me was the line, "See, the gimmick of plenary inspiration is that it takes the bodies of the prophets, priests, and apostles, and hides them from our view, but Christ’s body was exposed and made public for the known world to see (Colossians 2:15)."  In short notice the author demonstrates the "cannon within the cannon" of the evangelical world.  What a fantastic way of explaining the error of inerrancy and the solidarity of Christ with humanity!

Also this week, at Women in Theology, a site I really enjoy, Katie works within a similar hermeneutic as she reconsiders some of Pope Benedict's teaching on sexuality and shows how Benedict's own teaching about sexuality and homosexuality subverts itself :
At first, God thought that Adam’s solitude would not be an impediment to Adam’s flourishing, and God therefore thought that Adam’s relationships to God and non-human creation would be enough to make him happy.  Through time, it was clear that Adam’s needs were not being met.  Rather than telling Adam the Edenic equivalent of “bear the cross,” God created something new, Eve, and with her, inter-human relationality of all kinds—friendship, kinship, and both homosexual and heterosexual relationality.  As Benedict shows, sex did not exist in the mind of God before God created Adam; rather, sex was a Divine innovation ordered towards the fulfillment of human needs.
In this essay, Katie demonstrates that the Pope's own hermeneutic to justify a rejection of homosexual identity actually allows for a strong case to be made for it.  In doing so, she is able to enter into his authoritative hermeneutic and expose that it, too, is one local hermeneutic amongst many.  Highly worth the read, even if you disagree.  (Which really, shouldn't that always be the case?)

Together, these articles demonstrate how even our objective claims to seek the one truth in the text, "God's only truth," are inherently biased.  The essays demonstrate the biopower at work in the evangelical world and their truth claims. -they help point out the water we swim in.  Both expose in easily graspable ways how specific, local and subjective the popularly held "absolute truth" of our Christian airwaves really is.  I would like to think more deeply about the relation of the evangelical world and bio-politics, but I'm not sure where to look.  I need to finish Carter's Race: A Theological Account, because it seems he does just this.  Any recommendations are appreciated!.


  1. Thank you Erin for the shout out, it goes much appreciated.

  2. Great post. well done. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this entry and discovering the rest of your blog.

    a book you might be interested in is Dale Martin Sex and The Single Savior especially chapter 1 and the conclusion. I often refer to chapter 1 as the magic chapter.

  3. Thanks for the kind words and direction! I will have to 'nab that Martin book asap.


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