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The Marginalia Review of Books Book Review: Erin Runions' 'The Babylon Complex'

5th March 2016

Here are some more highlights from the review:

“The book proceeds as a series of forays into the diverse ways in which the image of Babylon interacts with U.S. anxieties surrounding identity and sovereignty. Deeply informed by political theory and cultural studies, Runions unearths how ‘a deep-seated biblical stratum in U.S. culture influences, limits, and enables political policy, expression, and action.’”

“There is something of a vertiginous effect to reading Runions’s work. The sheer volume of political and cultural theory and the chorus of academic theorists discussed in these pages is astonishing (Leo Strauss, Carl Schmitt, Giorgio Agamben, and Michel Foucault would name only the most widely known); her intimacy with film-studies and her firm grasp of hermeneutical theories is impressive. Bringing such thinkers into conversation with broader biblical studies is a challenging undertaking which was well executed throughout the work. On numerous occasions, I sensed that she was genuinely uncovering something real and dangerous about the way a biblical image had (over) influenced American thinking about its larger place and function in the world. Whatever one might believe about poetry, myth does make things happen. Runions careful parsing of the image of Babylon can leave no doubt about such a truth.”

To read Sherman’s review in its entirety, you can find it here.

If you are interested in Erin Runions’ book, The Babylon Complex: Theopolitical Fantasies of War, Sex, and Sovereignty, you can learn more about it on Fordham Press’ website and check out other similar titles.