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date: 27 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Carl Schmitt once defined himself as a theologian of jurisprudence. This chapter argues that his concept of political theology must be understood within the context of jurisprudence and not as a thesis concerning the use of religion within politics. In its earlier configuration, Schmitt’s political theology is a multifaceted response to two juridical critiques of sovereignty: those of Hans Kelsen; and those of Otto von Gierke and the English pluralist school. In this early phase, Schmitt’s political theology is centered on the juridical conception of representation and on the state as fictional personality, primarily as it is found in Thomas Hobbes. Through his extensive engagement with Hobbes’s interpretation of the Trinity or persons of God, Schmitt shows howjurisprudence aids in the understanding of theology rather than the other way around. Schmitt’s later work is a defense against Erik Peterson’s critique of political theology, itself based on a juridical interpretation of Christology.

Keywords: political theology, fictional personality, representation, Christology, Carl Schmitt, Thomas Hobbes, Hans Kelsen, Otto von Gierke, Erik Peterson

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