Paul’s Profound Idea

Paul’s profound idea is that Jewish discourse and Greek discourse are the two aspects of the same figure of mastery. For the miraculous exception of the sign is only the ‘minus-one,’ the point of incoherence, which the cosmic totality requires in order to sustain itself. In the eyes of Paul the Jew, the weakness of Jewish discourse is that its logic of the exceptional sign is only valid for the Greek cosmic totality. The Jew is in exception to the Greek. The result is, firstly, that neither of the two discourses can be universal, because each supposes the persistence of the other; and secondly, that the two discourses share the presupposition that the key to salvation is given to us within the universe, whether it be through direct mastery of totality (Greek wisdom), or through mastery of a literal tradition and the deciphering of signs (Jewish ritualism and prophetism).

Alain Badiou – St. Paul: The Foundation of Universalism

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