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The Event of Jesus' Death & the Birth of Christianity

  • Lunds Universitet (map)
For Christianity subjected the form, or rather the Figure, to a fundamental deformation. Insofar as God was incarnated, crucified, ascended to heaven, and so on, the form or the Figure was no longer rigorously linked to essence, but to what, in principle, is its opposite: the event, or even the changeable, the accident.
- Deleuze, Francis Bacon: Logic of Sensation, 124

The death of Jesus, in the event of the crucifixion, casts something of a shadow over the early Jesus movement and emerging Christian religion. Although claiming to be a cruciform religion, the question is whether Christianity is, as Deleuze might have put it, “worthy of the event” of the crucifixion.

The writers of the New Testament, as well as other early, non-canonical theological texts, use different strategies in dealing with this traumatic event. All this is to say that the death of Jesus, the crucifixion-event, is more than a simple pre-cursor to the resurrection, which is but one way of reacting to this event. The death of Jesus is first and foremost an event in and of itself; a becoming.

A standard solution among many 1st and 2nd century Jesus-followers was to overcode the trauma of the crucifixion with a resurrection proclamation, or “kerygma.” In the name of the resurrection, the event of Jesus’ death gains a dialectical and eschatological meaning that, for instance, comes to drive not only a hope for a future resurrection of all believers but also shapes a grammar of suffering, a specific Christian martyrology.
This aim of this symposium is to reflect on Jesus’ death as an event and its relation to the Christian religion.


-Petra Carlsson Redell - Lecturer in Systematic Theology at Stockholm School of Theology (Stockholm)

-Anthony Paul Smith - Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at La Salle University (Philadelphia) and a Research Fellow at DePaul University's Institute for Nature and Culture (Chicago)

-F. LeRon Shults - Professor of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Agder (Kristiansand)

-Joel Kuhlin – doctoral student in NT exegesis at Lund University and organizer of the symposium.

The symposium is open to all and free of charge, but places are limited and must be booked in advance (by 30th September).

To book, please email

The symposium is made possible by a generous grant by Krookska Stiftelsen.