Crucially – although he is identified as “philosopher” (and be it as a “maverick” one) – he does not bother to enlighten us what “truth” is meant to mean here.

Source: http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/unfinishedbusiness/blog/2011/07/24/the-fatal-attraction-of-jacobinism/

I am not sure what "be it as" in the sentence above means. I guess that the author wants to say that Zizek is a philosopher despite the fact that his thinking is non-conventional but the phrase is not familiar to me.

  • 1
    Not too much together: (be it)(as a maverick one) – Stephie Nov 10 '15 at 15:16
  • I don't think it's despite the fact that his thinking is non-conventional. It's more of a side note, "although not a regular philosopher". See the meaning and etymology of "albeit". – Victor Bazarov Nov 10 '15 at 17:00
  • You can substitute supposedly for be it as and it will mean the same here. – LawrenceC Nov 10 '15 at 17:18

I think and be it as is a mistake, and I think the text should say albeit as. Or (less likely) perhaps it is a use of the subjunctive mood.

It could be the mistake of the author (who appears to be writing in British English). The author does not write the best English, and there are places where the author does not use orthodox (standard) grammar. It is hard to tell if he or she is a native speaker, but it doesn't matter.

I also found another British text with the words and be it as, and I quote:

...Turning to jus in bello (which governs the conduct of a war) he criticises the Doctrine of Double Effect and concludes that insofar as wars kill innocents, and be it as "collateral damage", they cannot be just but at best justified as the lesser evil.

In both cases, albeit as fits perfectly.

For 'albeit', see the definition in Oxford dictionary and also the information in this answer from SE English), which includes information about people who mistakenly write all be it. Perhaps some people mistakenly write it as and be it.

I admit this answer is only a guess.

I also did a Google Books search and it returns only three pages, which is an extremely low total. The first return on that page (this one is a scan of an early 19th century text does not actually read and be it as. The second return is the second example in this answer. There are two uses of (and) be it as among the results ('Delphi Complete Works of Sir Philip Sydney' and 'In Spite of') that are the subjunctive mood (and be it as he saith and and be it as it may, but I don't see how they fit the context of the text you ask about, unless it is a British English use of the subjunctive, or a use of the subjunctive borrowed from foreign writers of English, overly keen of using the subjunctive. . Most of the other returns do not actually show the phrase in the text when you click on them. And many of these list authors who are either German and/or Jewish and one wonders if this phrase is in use among them...

A regular Google search for and be it as returns some subjunctive uses, uses by foreign authors, and nothing else much useful.

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    I don't think be it as is a mistake, but it is very old-fashioned and high-flown sounding. The author sure likes his complicated phrasings; he also uses words and phrases like "analysis of his revolutionism as Leninism/Blanquism" and "they had the only valid, because Hegel-based, reading of Marx’s prophecy" and "the muscular, authenticity-promising and self-reassured and at once cryptic and uncomplicated philosophy". But there are also what look like typos in the article (e.g., "live/death decision"), so it's possible. – stangdon Nov 10 '15 at 19:34

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