Vol. 19, no. 1-2 (2023): Jaeda C. Calaway

Into the Gospel Wilds: Divine, Demotic, and Animal

Jaeda C. Calaway, Illinois College


In a tableau diffracted across multiple gospels, a spirit-dove comes upon or into Jesus and drives him out into the wild, where he encounters the devil, angels, and/or other animals. This series of interactions of a spirit-dove, Jesus, devil, angels, and other animals starting along the transitional space of the river and ending in the wild raises questions about how animals, spirits (holy and unclean), and humans relate in terms of the domesticated, the feral, and the wild. Beginning with Jesus’s baptism and temptation scenes and spiraling out from there, this essay examines the canonized gospels’ accounts of wildness in terms of divine, demonic, and other animals, examining them in terms of Jacques Derrida’s divinanimality, Donna Haraway’s companion species, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s becoming animal and demon animality. All of this is framed by bringing gospel wildness into dialogue with Jack Halberstam’s queer wilding and zombie anti-humanism. The gospel wilds are queerly entangled with and are the founding condition of the domestic, and to which the domesticated must repeatedly return and face its potential dissolution, renewal, or transformation.


Posthumanism, Divinanimality, Companion Species, Wild, Gospels

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