Desacralizing political theology: Dionysius the Areopagite and Giorgio Agamben

Journal article


Newheiser, David 2020. Desacralizing political theology: Dionysius the Areopagite and Giorgio Agamben. Modern Theology. 36 (1), pp. 76 - 89. https://doi.org/10.1111/moth.12506
AuthorsNewheiser, David
Abstract

Giorgio Agamben argues that Christian thought provides the paradigm of modern governmental power, which reinforces mundane government by investing it with glory. Agamben claims that Dionysius the Areopagite exemplifies this structure; in his view, Dionysian negative theology serves to sacralize ecclesiastical power. In response, I argue that Dionysius desacralizes every authority, affirming that some things are sacred even as he subjects that affirmation to thoroughgoing critique. Against both dogmatic adherence and pure profanation, Dionysius models a politics that draws on the power of the sacred while holding it open to unpredictable development.

Year2020
JournalModern Theology
Journal citation36 (1), pp. 76 - 89
PublisherWiley-Blackwell
ISSN1468-0025
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/moth.12506
Page range76 - 89
Research GroupInstitute for Religion and Critical Inquiry
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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