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Politics & Apocalypse

Robert Hamerton-Kelly

Publication Year: 2007

Apocalypse. To most, the word signifies destruction, death, the end of the world, but the literal definition is "revelation" or "unveiling," the basis from which renowned theologian René Girard builds his own view of Biblical apocalypse. Properly understood, Girard explains, Biblical apocalypse has nothing to do with a wrathful or vengeful God punishing his unworthy children, and everything to do with a foretelling of what future humans are making for themselves now that they have devised the instruments of global self-destruction. In this volume, some of the major thinkers about the interpretation of politics and religion— including Eric Voegelin, Leo Strauss, and Carl Schmitt— are scrutinized by some of today's most qualified scholars, all of whom are thoroughly versed in Girard’s groundbreaking work.
     Including an important new essay by Girard, this volume enters into a philosophical debate that challenges the bona fides of philosophy itself by examining three supremely important philosopher of the twentieth century. It asks how we might think about politics now that the attacks of 9/11 have shifted our intellectual foundations and what the outbreak of rabid religion might signify for international politics.


Published by: Michigan State University Press

Table of Contents

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An Introductory Essay

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pp. 1-28

The conference that produced these articles was planned by Peter Thiel and myself and held at Stanford, California, in the week of 12 July 2004. We wanted to discuss current affairs with René Girard in a leisurely way and so invited only eight participants and scheduled the meeting for six full days. As his essay shows, Thiel believes the event of...

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The Evangelical Subversion of Myth

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pp. 29-49

Here as elsewhere, the apparently unbelievable assertion of Totem and Taboo contains a gigantic insight. What Freud says here is literally true, except of course for his psychoanalytical interpretation of the primordial murder. In order to show this truth, one must go, not surprisingly, to those texts in the gospels that have the most unpleasant connotations to our ears, those most...

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“Denial of the Apocalypse” versus “Fascination with the Final Days”: Current Theological Discussion of Apocalyptic Thinking int he Perspective of Mimetic Theory

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pp. 51-67

A comprehensive assessment of the contemporary theological discussion of the apocalyptic problem will probably resemble René Girard’s assessment of the discourse on the question of sacrifice; rather than answering the question itself, the discussion describes “a problem that remains.” In support of this view I quote Jürgen Moltmann...

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Carl Schmitt’s “Apocalyptic” Resistance against Global Civil War

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pp. 69-94

The deep political crisis our world faces today is most openly visible in the spread of global terror and the quite futile attempt to fight a war against it. Connected to this crisis is a growing gulf between Europe and its hope for a Kantian solution to this crisis—the constitutionalization of international law through the United Nations and the International Criminal...

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Philosophy, History, and Apocalypse in Voegelin, Strauss, and Girard

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pp. 95-137

For the sake of ordering the reflections that follow, I shall frame my interpretation of politics and apocalypse in Voegelin, Strauss, and Girard by transposing a fundamental idea in Catholic theology into the contemporary context of historical mindedness. This framework can be formulated in a proportion: nature is related to supernature as history is related to eschatology. At the core of the...

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Modernity and the Jewish Question: What Leo Strauss Learned from Nietzsche

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pp. 139-187

With the exception of Plato, no thinker had a greater influence on Leo Strauss than Nietzsche. By Strauss’s own admission, “Nietzsche so dominated and bewitched me between my 22nd and 30th years, that I literally believed everything that I understood of him.” Nor does this influence fade with time. In his final book...

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The Straussian Moment

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pp. 189-218

The twenty-first century started with a bang on September 11, 2001. In those shocking hours, the entire political and military framework of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and indeed of the modern age, with its emphasis on deterrent armies, rational nation-states, public debates, and international diplomacy, was called into question. For how could...

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Understanding in Quest of Faith: The Central Problem in Eric Voegelin’s Philosophy

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pp. 219-261

Although The Collected Works of Eric Voegelin can hardly be considered a critical edition, the 34 volumes will undoubtedly make Eric Voegelin’s writings more accessible than ever. In addition, Voegelin’s correspondence with contemporaries such as Leo Strauss, Robert Heilman, and Alfred Schütz is now also available in book form, while Voegelin’s original correspondence...


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pp. 263-266

E-ISBN-13: 9781609170417
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870138119

Publication Year: 2007