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Written in the intense political and intellectual tumult of the early years of the Weimar Republic, Political Theology develops the distinctive theory of sovereignty that made Carl Schmitt one of the most significant and controversial political theorists of the twentieth century. Focusing on the relationships among political leadership, the norms of the legal order, and the state of political emergency, Schmitt argues in Political Theology that legal order ultimately rests upon the decisions of the sovereign. According to Schmitt, only the sovereign can meet the needs of an "exceptional" time and transcend legal order so that order can then be reestablished. Convinced that the state is governed by the ever-present possibility of conflict, Schmitt theorizes that the state exists only to maintain its integrity in order to ensure order and stability. Suggesting that all concepts of modern political thought are secularized theological concepts, Schmitt concludes Political Theology with a critique of liberalism and its attempt to depoliticize political thought by avoiding fundamental political decisions.
In this strikingly original work, Paul W. Kahn rethinks the meaning of political theology. In a text innovative in both form and substance, he describes an American political theology as a secular inquiry into ultimate meanings sustaining our faith in the popular sovereign. Kahn works out his view through an engagement with Carl Schmitt's 1922 classic, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty. He forces an engagement with Schmitt's four chapters, offering a new version of each that is responsive to the American political imaginary. The result is a contemporary political theology. As in Schmitt's work, sovereignty remains central, yet Kahn shows how popular sovereignty creates an ethos of sacrifice in the modern state. Turning to law, Kahn demonstrates how the line between exception and judicial decision is not as sharp as Schmitt led us to believe. He reminds readers that American political life begins with the revolutionary willingness to sacrifice and that both sacrifice and law continue to ground the American political imagination. Kahn offers a political theology that has at its center the practice of freedom realized in political decisions, legal judgments, and finally in philosophical inquiry itself.
Political Theology II is Carl Schmitt's last book. Part polemic, part self-vindication for his involvement in the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP), this is Schmitt's most theological reflection on Christianity and its concept of sovereignty following the Second Vatican Council. At a time of increasing visibility of religion in public debates and a realization that Schmitt is the major and most controversial political theorist of the twentieth century, this last book sets a new agenda for political theology today. The crisis at the beginning of the twenty-first century led to an increased interest in the study of crises in an age of extremes - an age upon which Carl Schmitt left his indelible watermark. In Political Theology II, first published in 1970, a long journey comes to an end which began in 1923 with Political Theology. This translation makes available for the first time to the English-speaking world Schmitt's understanding of Political Theology and what it implies theologically and politically.
Writing in 1938, under the guise of studying the significance of the symbol of the leviathan in Thomas Hobbes's theory of the state, Carl Schmitt, the Hobbes of the 20th century, provides insights into totalitarian forms of government, attacks totalitarianism, and alludes to the demise of the Third Reich.
Now available in English for the first time, Dictatorship is Carl Schmitt’s most scholarly book and arguably a paradigm for his entire work. Written shortly after the Russian Revolution and the First World War, Schmitt analyses the problem of the state of emergency and the power of the Reichspräsident in declaring it. Dictatorship, Schmitt argues, is a necessary legal institution in constitutional law and has been wrongly portrayed as just the arbitrary rule of a so-called dictator. Dictatorship is an essential book for understanding the work of Carl Schmitt and a major contribution to the modern theory of a democratic, constitutional state. And despite being written in the early part of the twentieth century, it speaks with remarkable prescience to our contemporary political concerns.
A pioneer in legal and political theory, Schmitt traces the prehistory of political romanticism by examining its relationship to revolutionary and reactionary tendencies in modern European history. Both the partisans of the French Revolution and its most embittered enemies were numbered among the romantics. During the movement for German national unity at the beginning of the nineteenth century, both revolutionaries and reactionaries counted themselves as romantics. According to Schmitt, the use of the concept to designate opposed political positions results from the character of political romanticism: its unpredictable quality and lack of commitment to any substantive political position. The romantic person acts in such a way that his imagination can be affected. He acts insofar as he is moved. Thus an action is not a performance or something one does, but rather an affect or a mood, something one feels. The product of an action is not a result that can be evaluated according to moral standards, but rather an emotional experience that can be judged only in aesthetic and emotive terms. These observations lead Schmitt to a profound reflection on the shortcomings of liberal politics. Apart from the liberal rule of law and its institution of an autonomous private sphere, the romantic inner sanctum of purely personal experience could not exist. Without the security of the private realm, the romantic imagination would be subject to unpredictable incursions. Only in a bourgeois world can the individual become both absolutely sovereign and thoroughly privatized: a master builder in the cathedral of his personality. An adequate political order cannot be maintained on such a tolerant individualism, concludes Schmitt.
Political theology is a distinctly modern problem, one that takes shape in some of the most important theoretical writings of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. But its origins stem from the early modern period, in medieval iconographies of sacred kinship and the critique of traditional sovereignty mounted by Hobbes and Spinoza. In this book, Graham Hammill and Julia Reinhard Lupton assemble established and emerging scholars in early modern studies to examine the role played by sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature and thought in modern conceptions of political theology. Political Theology and Early Modernity explores texts by Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Milton, and others that have served as points of departure for such thinkers as Schmitt, Strauss, Benjamin, and Arendt. Written from a spectrum of positions ranging from renewed defenses of secularism to attempts to reconceive the religious character of collective life and literary experience, these essays probe moments of productive conflict, disavowal, and entanglement in politics and religion as they pass between early modern and modern scenes of thought. This stimulating collection is the first to answer not only how Renaissance and baroque literature help explain the persistence of political theology in modernity and postmodernity, but also how the reemergence of political theology as an intellectual and political problem deepens our understanding of the early modern period.

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