Politics and Apocalypse

Politics and Apocalypse

Robert Hamerton-Kelly Editor
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 266
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  • Book Info
    Politics and Apocalypse
    Book Description:

    Apocalypse. To most, the word signifies destruction, death, the end of the world, but the literal definition is "revelation" or "unveiling," the basis from which renowned theologian René Girard builds his own view of Biblical apocalypse. Properly understood, Girard explains, Biblical apocalypse has nothing to do with a wrathful or vengeful God punishing his unworthy children, and everything to do with a foretelling of what future humans are making for themselves now that they have devised the instruments of global self-destruction. In this volume, some of the major thinkers about the interpretation of politics and religion- including Eric Voegelin, Leo Strauss, and Carl Schmitt- are scrutinized by some of today's most qualified scholars, all of whom are thoroughly versed in Girard's groundbreaking work.Including an important new essay by Girard, this volume enters into a philosophical debate that challenges the bona fides of philosophy itself by examining three supremely important philosopher of the twentieth century. It asks how we might think about politics now that the attacks of 9/11 have shifted our intellectual foundations and what the outbreak of rabid religion might signify for international politics.

    eISBN: 978-1-60917-041-7
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. An Introductory Essay
    (pp. 1-28)
    Robert Hamerton-kelly

    The conference that produced these articles was planned by Peter Thiel and myself and held at Stanford, California, in the week of 12 July 2004. We wanted to discuss current affairs with René Girard in a leisurely way and so invited only eight participants and scheduled the meeting for six full days. As his essay shows, Thiel believes the event of 9/11 reveals that our Western political philosophy can no longer cope with our world of global violence—“the brute facts of September 11 demand a reexamination of the foundations of modern politics.”¹ In refining the topic we consulted Wolfgang...

  4. The Evangelical Subversion of Myth
    (pp. 29-50)
    René Girard

    In Totem and Taboo, Freud writes that long before he himself penetrated the secret of human origins, the Christian gospels had done so. “In the Christian doctrine,” he says, “men were acknowledging in the mostun disguised manner the guilty primeval deed.”¹

    Here as elsewhere,the apparentlyun believable assertion of Totem and Taboo contains a gigantic insight. What Freud says here is literally true, except of course for his psychoanalytical interpretation of the primordial murder. Inorder to show this truth, one must go, not surprisingly, to those texts in the gospels that have the most unpleasant connotations to our ears, those most...

  5. “Denial of the Apocalypse” versus “Fascination with the Final Days”: Current Theological Discussion of Apocalyptic Thinking in the Perspective of Mimetic Theory
    (pp. 51-68)
    Józef Niewiadomski

    A comprehensive assessment of the contemporary theological discussion of the apocalyptic problem will probably resemble René A comprehensive assessment of the contemporary theological discussion of the apocalyptic problem will probably resemble René Girard’s assessment of the discourse on the question of sacrifice; rather than answering the question itself, the discussion describes “a problem that remains.”¹ In support of this view I quote Jürgen Moltmann:

    And yet it remains a theological puzzle why the early Christian congregations should have expected still further final apocalyptic struggles between God and the godless powers, between the archangel Michael and the Dragon, and between Christ...

  6. Carl Schmitt’s “Apocalyptic” Resistance against Global Civil War
    (pp. 69-94)
    Wolfgang Palaver

    The deep political crisis our world faces today is most openly visible in the spread of global terror and the quite futile attempt to fight a war against it. Connected to this crisis is a growing gulf between Europe and its hope for a Kantian solution to this crisis—the constitutionalization of international law through the United Nations and the International Criminal Court—and the United States with a more Hobbesian understanding of its role as the world-police in charge of apax americana.The international debate about these problems has also led to a growing discussion of the work...

  7. Philosophy, History, and Apocalypse in Voegelin, Strauss, and Girard
    (pp. 95-138)
    Fred Lawrence

    For the sake of ordering the reflections that follow, I shall frame my interpretation of politics and apocalypse in Voegelin, Strauss, and Girard by transposing afundamental idea in Catholic theology into the contemporary context of historical mindedness. This framework can be formulated in a proportion: nature is related to super nature as history is related to eschatology. At the core of the first part of the proportion is a methodically controlled idea regarding the basic structure of the universe, which is grounded in the isomorphism between the structure of human knowing and the structure of the universe of being.¹


  8. Modernity and the Jewish Question: What Leo strauss Learned from Nietzsche
    (pp. 139-188)
    John Ranieri

    With the exception of Plato, no thinker had a greater influence on Leo Strauss than Nietzsche. By Strauss’s own admission, “Nietzsche so dominated and bewitched me between my 22nd and 30th years, that I literally believed everything that I understood of him.”¹ Nordoes this influence fade with time. In his final book,Studies in Platonic Political Philosophy, Strauss’s essay onBeyond Good and Eviloccupies a central place. References to Nietzsche occur with some frequency throughout Strauss’s writing soften at critical junctures.² More often than not, Strauss speaks approvingly of Nietzsche, but he can also be sharp in his criticism....

  9. The Straussian Moment
    (pp. 189-218)
    Peter Thiel

    The twenty-first century started with a bang on September 11, 2001.In those shocking hours, the entire political and military frame work of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and indeed of the modern age, with its emphasis on deterrent armies, rational nation-states, public debates, and international diplomacy, was called into question. For how could-mere talking or even great force deter a handful of crazy, determined, and suicidal persons who seemingly operated outside of all the norms of the liberal West? And what needed now to be done, given that technology had advanced to a point where a tiny number of people...

  10. Understanding in Quest of Faith: The Central Problem in Eric Voegelin’s Philosophy
    (pp. 219-262)
    Stefan Rossbach

    AlthoughThe Collected Works of Eric Voegelincan hardly be considered a criticaledition, the 34 volumes will undoubtedly make Eric Voegelin’s writings more accessible than ever.¹ In addition, Voegelin’s correspondence with contemporariessuch as Leo Strauss, Robert Heilman, and Alfred Schütz is nowalso available in book form,² while Voegelin’s original correspondence files,typescripts, notes, and unpublished lectures can easily be accessed in the Hoover Archives at Stanford University. This primary material plus Geoffrey Price’sInternational Bibliography(1921–2000) of works by and on Voegelinappear to give Voegelin’s oeuvre an availability and unity that afford us the opportunity to reflect on the thinker’s...

  11. Contributors
    (pp. 263-266)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 267-267)