Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty

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University of Chicago Press, 2005 - Philosophy - 70 pages
Written in the intense political and intellectual tumult of the early years of the Weimar Republic, Political Theology develops the distinctive theory of sovereignty that made Carl Schmitt one of the most significant and controversial political theorists of the twentieth century.

Focusing on the relationships among political leadership, the norms of the legal order, and the state of political emergency, Schmitt argues in Political Theology that legal order ultimately rests upon the decisions of the sovereign. According to Schmitt, only the sovereign can meet the needs of an "exceptional" time and transcend legal order so that order can then be reestablished. Convinced that the state is governed by the ever-present possibility of conflict, Schmitt theorizes that the state exists only to maintain its integrity in order to ensure order and stability. Suggesting that all concepts of modern political thought are secularized theological concepts, Schmitt concludes Political Theology with a critique of liberalism and its attempt to depoliticize political thought by avoiding fundamental political decisions.

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User Review  - brleach - LibraryThing

The core idea of this book is so simple and straightforward that it is sufficiently captured in the two most famous passages - the first sentence of the first chapter and the first paragraph of the ... Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) was a legal theorist, political philosopher, and the author of Legality and Legitimacy, On the Three Types of Juristic Thought, Political Romanticism, Nomos of the Earth, Roman Catholicism and Political Form, Crisis of Parliamentary Democracy, and The Concept of the Political, the last available from the University of Chicago Press.

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