Liturgical Power: Between Economic and Political Theology

Liturgical Power: Between Economic and Political Theology

Liturgical Power: Between Economic and Political Theology

Liturgical Power: Between Economic and Political Theology

Excerpt

Today, the question of political theology unexpectedly stands near the center of theoretical discussion in the humanities and social sciences. and yet, ever since Carl Schmitt first pronounced his celebrated thesis according to which “all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts” it has almost exclusively been assumed that the vector charted by the theological-political travels in one direction and in one direction only. Whether the relation between the two terms has been understood according to the stronger model of genetic derivation or whether according to the weaker model of structural homology, the orientation has remained always the same: from the heavens to the earth, from the religious to the secular, from the theological to the political. the present study, by contrast, offers a different account and a different trajectory. It examines a sequence of ostensibly theological concepts and figures, which assume their surprising political significance only if situated in a perspective articulated according to the inverse orientation. and not only on account of the fact, in itself insignificant, that these concepts and figures can be shown to have their provenance in the civic sphere (or at least in a context where the positing of a clear distinction between the “civic” and the “religious” would be meaningless); but also, and indeed above all, because they acquire their specific force—and hence, their particular hermeneutic value—only in the course of their Christianization as the more or less worldly instruments of a polis that has been definitively shifted out of this world.

A guiding premise of the following investigation is that the prevailing discourse around political theology has for the most part all too casually and uncritically accepted the pertinence and even self-evidence of the two structuring hypotheses that marked its twentieth-century point of . . .

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