Aleksey Yarkeev 1
  • 1 Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Sofii Kovalevskoy str., 16, Ekaterinburg, Russian Federation 620108

Toward the Question of the Possibility of Political Theology: C. Schmitt Argues with E. Peterson

2022, vol. 21, No. 2, pp. 189–213 [issue contents]
The article deals with the epistolary controversy between the theologian E. Peterson and the jurist С. Schmitt about the possibility of Schmitt’s 1922 concept of “political theology” pointing out that modern political (state-legal) concepts are based on theological concepts. The answer to his text was a number of publications by E. Peterson who argued that the concept of political theology is untenable in relation to Christianity because it is impossible to establish a direct analogy between Trinitarian dogma and political reality, and because of the eschatological nature of the Christian faith which detracts from the significance of secular forces. According to Peterson, the concept of political theology can only make sense for Judaism and paganism. Almost forty years later, Schmitt devoted a separate work to the presentation of his counterarguments designed to show the logical and historical limitations of of Peterson’s proofs. Among other things, it was due to his desire to preserve the purity of Christian theology, which is exclusively dogmatic in nature. According to Schmitt, Peterson’s extremely refined view of Christian theology lead him to ignore specific historical circumstances associated with cardinal changes in the relationship between the Church and the State, leading to an incorrect understanding of political theology. The argument of Schmitt is based on the thesis of the totality of the political, which revolves around the decision about enemies and friends. The latter is reflected in Peterson’s works in the form of a theological decision that establishes the difference between the heretic and the orthodox. The border between the heretic and the orthodox retains its dogmatic character only if political neutralization is carried out, but becomes politically motivated (with a division into friends and enemies) when the struggle between the positions reaches the maximum degree of intensity, and turns into an existential confrontation.
Citation: Yarkeev A. (2022) K voprosu o vozmozhnosti politicheskoy teologii: Karl Shmitt polemiziruet s Erikom Petersonom [Toward the Question of the Possibility of Political Theology: C. Schmitt Argues with E. Peterson]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 21, no 2, pp. 189-213 (in Russian)
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