The debate on blasphemy generated by the publication of the Muhammad cartoons and the attendant conversation on the posited injury experienced by the offended religious subject has recently touched the world of Byzantium. The present essay takes on an elegant recent postsecularist engagement with Byzantine iconoclasm and argues that by appropriating elements of Byzantine Aristotelian theology in order to undergird a postsecularist argument, the modern critic dehistoricizes ideas that were firmly rooted in East Roman social, political, and cultural contexts in a manner that ultimately reinforces a reading of Byzantine culture firmly rooted in the most regressive Enlightenment distortions of the Byzantine experience.

Furthermore, a properly historical engagement with Byzantium contributes to a critical approach on assumptions regarding the nature of the “modern” and its effect on religion. Ultimately, a return to the Byzantine contexts that engender iconoclast theology and politics is also a call for a properly historicized study of Muslim injury, a study that leaves aside quasi-transcendental notions of uniquely Muslim personal injury for a return to the tangible world of modern ideas and political contestation.

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