A Broken Constellation: Agamben's Theology between Tragedy and Messianism

Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 2010 (152):103-126 (2010)

Authors
Agata Bielik-Robson
Nottingham University
Abstract
ExcerptThis essay analyzes the following constellation of concepts from a theologico-philosophical perspective: “state of exception,” “bare life,” and “the remnant.” Recently employed in the work of Giorgio Agamben, none of these concepts is his own coinage. Agamben borrowed “state of exception” from Carl Schmitt's Political Theology, “bare life” from Walter Benjamin's “Critique of Violence,” and “the remnant” from biblical sources, which include Isaiah and the letters of Saint Paul. Nevertheless, the reappearance of these concepts within Agamben's constellation provides each with an altered meaning, which emerges only through interplay with the others. In the prologue to his work on German…
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DOI 10.3817/0910152103
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