Continental Philosophy Review 45 (4):505-517 (2012)

In line with his theory of secularization according to which all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts, Carl Schmitt argues in Constitutional Theory that people’s (Volk) constitution-making power in modern democracy is analogical to God’s potestas constituens in medieval theology. It is also undoubtedly possible to find a resemblance between Schmitt’s constitution-making power and God’s power as it is described in medieval theology. In the same sense as the constitution-making power is absolutely free from all normative ties, God’s potestas constituens, or rather, God’s potentia absoluta is free from such ties. Yet, unlike the Schmittian constitution-making power, God’s potentia absoluta was not, in medieval theology, originally intended as a description of some form of divine action: the absolute power of God referred to the total possibilities initially open to God. However, when the canonists started to employ the term potentia absoluta in their speculations concerning the papal plenitude of power (plenitude potestatis) by the end of the thirteenth century, they used it in a different sense than the theologians previously. According to certain canonists, the pope, by his potentia absoluta, could grant de facto dispensations from divine and ecclesiastical laws. Later on, this notion became a theological notion as well, but given its origin in juridical discourse, the constitution-making power, rather than being a secularized theological notion, is a theologized juristic notion
Keywords Carl Schmitt  Theory of constitution  Constituent power  Divine omnipotence
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DOI 10.1007/s11007-012-9233-x
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Quodlibetal Questions.Paul Vincent Spade - 1991 - Philosophical Review 102 (1):91-94.
Der Wert des Staates und die Bedeutung des Einzelnen.Carl Schmitt - 1914 - Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale 22 (3):16-17.

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Until the End of the World: Girard, Schmitt and the Origins of Violence.Antonio Cerella - 2015 - Journal of International Political Theory 11 (1):42-60.
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