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Culture, Politics, Eschatology: A Symposium

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The symposium's theme is the continuing cultural and political relevance of eschatology. In recent years, diverse contemporary commentators have attended to eschatology. The symposium takes its cue from the work of three in particular, Jacob Taubes, Giorgio Agamben and Michel Foucault. Originally published in 1947, Taubes' Occidental Eschatology (2009) is a classic study of the legacy of Judaeo-Christian eschatological theology for radical politics in modernity. His The Political Theology of Paul (2004), published posthumously from lecture notes, remains a highly influential recuperation of the radical implications of Paul's theology. Agamben's The Time that Remains (2005) continues Taubes' project with a stunning reading of Paul's Epistle to the Romans in relation to the messianic thinking of Walter Benjamin. His more recent The Kingdom and the Glory (2011), a genealogical study of the contemporary polity and its operation on an economic model, contests Foucault's own, influential analysis of the same polity and its mode of operation by recovering their theological foundations. Foucault, for his part, maintained that 'the new historicity of raison d'etat excluded the empire of the last days; it excluded the kingdom of eschatology. Against this theme, which was formulated at the end of the sixteenth century and is still with us today, counter-conducts develop that make it a principle to assert the coming of a time when time will end ... an eschatology in which civil society will prevail over the state'.
Effective start/end date21/09/1222/09/12

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