By Jacob Taubes
Keith Tribe (tr.)
A thinker, rabbi, non secular historian, and Gnostic, Jacob Taubes was once for a few years a correspondent and interlocutor of Carl Schmitt (1888--1985), a German jurist, thinker, political theorist, legislation professor -- and self-professed Nazi. regardless of their not going organization, Taubes and Schmitt shared an abiding curiosity within the basic difficulties of political theology, believing the nice demanding situations of contemporary political idea have been historic in pedigree and, in lots of instances, expected the works of Judeo-Christian eschatologists.
In this choice of Taubes's writings on Schmitt, the 2 intellectuals paintings via rules of the apocalypse and different vital thoughts of political theology. Taubes recognizes Schmitt's reservations concerning the weak point of liberal democracy but distances himself from his prescription to rectify it, arguing the apocalyptic worldview calls for much less of a inflexible hierarchical social ordering than a group dedicated to the significance of determination making. In those writings, a sharper and extra nuanced portrait of Schmitt's suggestion emerges, in addition to a extra advanced figuring out of Taubes, who has formed the paintings of Giorgio Agamben, Peter Sloterdijk, and different significant twentieth-century theorists.
Carl Schmitt is likely one of the most crucial political thinkers of the century. His paintings has confirmed influential at the correct and, extra lately, at the left. His interchange with Jacob Taubes during this quantity, one other attention-grabbing philosopher, is remarkably transparent and gives a window into their dating and a framework for broader discussion.
(Stephen Eric Bronner, Rutgers collage, writer of Reclaiming the Enlightenment: towards a Politics of Radical Engagement)
Read or Download To Carl Schmitt: Letters and Reflections (Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture) PDF
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Extra resources for To Carl Schmitt: Letters and Reflections (Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture)
And therefore, following Taubes’s provocation, the possibility emerges that Schmitt has been all too often misread, for the issue is not that of the sovereign deciding the exception but rather what does decision mean, and here reference is made back to Kierkegaard and the centrality of dialectical theology for the state of exception. Out of this discussion arises what can possibly be identified as the central tension of political theology, that is of both the Schmitt text and disciplinary definition, but also, for us today, of the political theology that has enjoyed both an intellectual and political resurgence: what does pure mean and thus, dialectically, what does impure mean?
The limitations of democracy are precisely the limitations of history and humanity, for like time itself, which is “a duration with a definite ending” (45), is not democracy itself the system that has a built-in duration with a definite ending? Is the problem therefore not democracy, but, as Schmitt, Taubes, and Marxists alike recognize, that of liberal democracy, which seeks to make people, humans, time, and history otherwise than what they are and so attempts to become a type of worst-case combination of salvation drama combined with, too often, a requirement for humans to give up what gives them their identity through the demands of a sovereign liberal state that will always determine who is the exception, and that exception is made up of those who are, who see themselves as, the expression and culmination of liberal history?
Therefore friendenemy are poised in a mutual interquestioning, an existential question to each other, a relationship in which, in effect, all others are excluded as those who are unable and incapable of asking, let alone answering the question/s. This is what the left and right, joining in Schmitt’s friend-enemy against liberalism, do, for what they both get (that is, what they mutually understand)—from differing perspectives— is the problem of liberalism. Yet for Taubes—and for all who read Schmitt in particular post1945—there remains the central question of anti-Semitism.