Continental Philosophy Review 45 (4):483-503 (2012)

Abstract
The article addresses the ‘messianic turn’ in contemporary continental philosophy, focusing on the concept of the katechon as the restraining force that delays the advent of the Antichrist in the Second Letter to the Thessalonians. While Carl Schmitt held the passage on the katechon to ground the Christian doctrine of state power, Giorgio Agamben’s reading of Pauline messianism rather posits the ‘removal’ of the katechon as the pathway for messianic redemption. In our argument, the significance of this text goes beyond the persistence of a vestige of the theological in modern politics. On the contrary, the logic of the katechon only comes into its own under modern nihilism as the resolution of the problem of social order in the absence of the eschatological dimension. The article focuses on the lethal paradox of the logic of the katechon, whereby the function of protection and restraint is converted into violence and anomie, and global political order becomes indistinguishable from global civil war. We conclude by outlining the conditions for suspending the katechonic function in a critical engagement with Agamben’s messianic politics
Keywords Biopolitics  Nihilism  Political theology  Sovereignty  Carl Schmitt  Giorgio Agamben
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DOI 10.1007/s11007-012-9232-y
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References found in this work BETA

Of Grammatology.Jacques Derrida - 1998 - Johns Hopkins University Press.
Margins of Philosophy.Jacques Derrida - 1982 - University of Chicago Press.
The Concept of the Political.Carl Schmitt - 1996 - University of Chicago Press.

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