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Late Patrology: The Example of Giorgio Agamben
Abstract

Abstract:

After a long exile in the quaintly titled files of "irrationality and superstition," theology and the issue of religion in general have resurfaced as central topics to theory-making in the Western tradition of thought. With this in mind, the intent of this article is to propose a name for this phenomenon: "late patrology." The implication of the use of this term is that theology is experiencing a posthumous life following the demise of the Enlightenment project. Thinkers such as Giorgio Agamben, Slavoj Žižek, Alain Badiou, John D. Caputo, Gianni Vattimo, John Milbank, and others are in many ways revisiting (in new and different conditions) important theological matters we read about in patristic literature. Patrology ceased many centuries ago, but it has not disappeared. Contemporary thinkers are partaking in the same interpretive enterprise modelled and initiated by the authors of patristic literature: that of talking about the received name of God, arguing on all sides about the significance of its transmission from the past and its pertinence to the present and near future. I will focus on one exponent of this resurgent interest in theology, Giorgio Agamben. Specifically, I provide examples from some of his works that illustrate his project of grasping in their dispersion the effaced yet preponderant signs of theology hidden in our current political and cultural practices.



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