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Agamben's Philosophical Lineage$
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Adam Kotsko and Carlo Salzani

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474423632

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474423632.001.0001

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Paul the Apostle

Paul the Apostle

(p.76) 6 Paul the Apostle
Agamben's Philosophical Lineage

Ted Jennings

Edinburgh University Press

By far the majority of Agamben’s books (about 23) make reference to Paul’s letters, often at key points in discussions of concepts that he finds important for his own work as a thinker of the political. This reliance upon Paul in the context of political philosophy goes back to Spinoza (and we should recall that Agamben has held the Baruch Spinoza chair at the European Graduate School). In his Theological-Political Treatise of 1670 Spinoza identified Paul as the most philosophical of the biblical writers and made use of Paul’s thought to advance a view of the constitution of a liberal or secular republic. Agamben also makes significant use of Paul, but this time as the major thinker of a messianic politics, a thinking with which Agamben identifies his own work. While in his reading of Paul Agamben occasionally refers to modern theologians such as Barth and Moltmann, as well as modern biblical scholars, the most important intellectual context within which he reads Paul is provided, on the one hand, by Carl Schmitt with his reflections on political theology and, on the other, by Walter Benjamin, especially the latter’s theses ‘On the Concept of History’.

Keywords:   Paul the Apostle, The law, The ‘now time’, THE RESTRAINER

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