Fedor Nekhaenko 1
  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

Carl Schmitt, Erik Peterson, and Giorgio Agamben: the war for Christian political theology

2022, vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 9–33 [issue contents]
Power and its sources have always been essential questions for political philosophy. One of the ways to legitimize power is political theology which was discussed at length during the XX century. The proposed paper considers Christian political theology as a project constructed by Carl Schmitt and Giorgio Agamben. Both thinkers defended their models and criticized their main “enemy”, Erik Peterson. While Schmitt believed in Christian legitimization for the status quo and Agamben dreamed of the coming community without an identity, Peterson argued that Christian doctrines (Trinity, Parousia, etc.) deem any political authority meaningless. A majority of researchers scrutinized and critically evaluated the level of theoretical arguments of the aforementioned thinkers. On the contrary, we have chosen to analyze all of the key and referenced theologians (Paul, Eusebius, Eunomius, Gregory of Nyssa, and Augustine) to prove that Schmitt-Agamben’s notion of Christian political theology is controversial. Like Peterson with Eusebius, Schmitt and Agamben employed loose translations in trying to integrate their ideas (sovereignty, absolute anarchy) into original Christian texts. The detailed analysis allows the paper to deliver a kind of negative conclusion that Christian political theology has no ground in the sources these thinkers have credited. Nevertheless, our research calls for a new round of discussion: was this critique caused by Christian sources selected inappropriately by Schmitt, Peterson, and Agamben, or by the essential incompatibility between Christianity and political theology? Polemics might get a new “positive” horizon with the help of this question.
Citation: Nekhaenko F. (2022) Karl Shmitt, Erik Peterson i Dzhordzho Agamben: voyna za khristianskuyu politicheskuyu teologiyu [Carl Schmitt, Erik Peterson, and Giorgio Agamben: the war for Christian political theology]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 21, no 4, pp. 9-33 (in Russian)
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