Probing the Homelessness of Jesus with Žižek’s Sublime Object

Robert J. Myles


In this article I use the critical tools of Slovenian philosopher and cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek to probe the homelessness of Jesus via a close inspection of Mt 8: 18-22. My analysis is limited to the Jesus simulacrum in the Gospel of Matthew, whose experience of homelessness is perhaps the most complicated of any of the gospels. Matthew’s Jesus experiences multiple displacements and rejection from home place (see esp. 2: 13-23; 4: 12; 13: 53-58), but is uniquely connected to a house and/or household (οἰκος/οἰκια) in Capernaum (cf. 9: 10, 28; 12: 46; 13: 1, 36; 17: 25), a detail absent from Mark, Luke, and John. In briefest outline, the article begins with a discussion of the problem of ideology, biblical scholarship, and Jesus’ apparent homelessness, using Žižek’s sublime object to probe some of the ideological cracks, before turning to a closer inspection of Mt 8: 18-22, as the issue of homelessness protrudes behind, within, and in front of the text.


Matthew 8:18-22; Slavoj Žižek; homelessness

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Bible and Critical Theory: ISSN 1832-3391