Chapter

“The War Has Not Ended”: Thomas Hobbes, Carl Schmitt, and the Paradoxes of Countersovereignty

Friedrich Balke

in Crediting God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780823233199
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823233212 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823233199.003.0010
“The War Has Not               Ended”: Thomas Hobbes, Carl Schmitt, and the Paradoxes of               Countersovereignty

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This chapter offers a reading of Schmitt's concept of sovereignty that no longer sees it tied to the figure of a king by divine right but that has become a subject-position, perhaps an office, that in modernity is opened up to everyone, in particular to a people as a whole. Schmitt's political theology is not so much that of Roman Catholicism, but rather one that, paradoxically, draws from the Old Testament in seeking to understand political power as a function of an ongoing war between peoples rather than as a function of whoever can decide to end or begin a war. On this reading, Schmitt would be constructing his concept of sovereignty from out of a countertradition of modernity, discussed by Foucault, characterized by an antistatist discourse, for whom politics is a function of war between peoples, between classes and ultimately between races. Schmitt's would thus be political theology for a biopolitical age.

Keywords: Schmitt; political theology; sovereignty; modernity

Chapter.  4567 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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