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The Conundrums Of Giorgio Agamben

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author confesses to a certain disquiet over Giorgio Agamben's engagement with theology. To be sure, his political appeal for many lies in his uncanny ability to show how elements sidelined in conventional political wisdom - such as the concentration camp, biopolitics (the inclusion of natural life within the machinery of power), the category of the non-citizen, martial law or the state of exception and totalitarianism - are, in fact, constitutive of capitalist parliamentary democracy. Yet, when one comes to his study of Paul, there are some profound problems. The chapter is an effort to bring those problems to the fore: his confusions concerning Paul's letters, his reliance on Christology in order to develop his idea of messianism, his clear decision to make Paul a thinker of the law, thereby sidelining the question of grace, and the shaky category of pre-law as a solution to Paul's arguments.

Keywords: Christology; faith; Giorgio Agamben; Hellenistic law; Paul; theology



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