Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty

Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty

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By (author) Carl Schmitt, Edited by George Schwab, Foreword by Tracy B. Strong

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  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Format: Paperback | 116 pages
  • Dimensions: 134mm x 214mm x 12mm | 200g
  • Publication date: 17 February 2006
  • Publication City/Country: Chicago, IL
  • ISBN 10: 0226738892
  • ISBN 13: 9780226738895
  • Edition statement: Univ of Chicago.
  • Sales rank: 65,078

Product description

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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Author information

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.

Review quote

"Political Theology is about the nature, and thus about the prerogatives, of sovereign political authority in the West.... It is perhaps the piece that best serves as an introduction to Schmitt's thought." - from the Foreword by Tracy B. Strong"