August 12, 2014 by James Crossley
I found the abstract of this forthcoming article by Deane Galbraith on, among other things, N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God. It is called ‘The Perfect Penis of Eden and Queer Time in Augustine’s Reading of Paul’ and it will be in a volume edited by Robert Myles and Caroline Blyth on Sexuality, Ideology, and the Bible (Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2015).
Augustine’s reading of the Bible and his construction of theology depend on the Bishop’s fantasy of the penis-as-hand, that is, his dream of possessing the elusive perfect penis of Eden, over which Adam (and, vicariously, Augustine) would have had perfect control. Augustine’s great contribution to Christian theology is, therefore, to a significant extent informed by his experience of being unable to control his erections. I examine the temporal dynamics of Augustine’s fantasy, in particular its generation of a qualitative experience of time. The concepts are fleshed out with reference to Slavoj Žižek’s analysis of fisting and N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God (2013). The essay has recourse to recent theoretical considerations of time, in particular the ‘striking temporal and historiographical turn’ of queer theory over the last decade and the conception of ‘messianic time’ in the work of Giorgio Agamben. I suggest that Augustine’s queer experience of time has its apotheosis in the ‘coming out’ of the fictional ‘Antipodeans’ in Gabriel de Foigny’s The Southern Land, Known (1676).