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By Colby Dickinson

Although the paintings of Italian theorist Giorgio Agamben has been expanding in attractiveness over the past numerous years within the English-speaking international, little paintings has been performed at once at the theological legacy which truly dominates the general strength of his severe analyses, a subject which has intrigued his readers because the ebook of his brief booklet on Saint Paul’s ‘Letter to the Romans’. Agamben and Theology intends to light up this sort of connection by means of studying the theologically inflected phrases that experience come to dominate his paintings over the years, together with the messianic, the sacred, sovereignty, glory, production, unique sin, redemption and revelation.

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Understood thus, potentiality, by its very nature, demonstrates a connectedness between beings that results from a lack within our being, a failure to pass into actuality that is in reality a defining characteristic of who we are as human-speaking-beings. Language, then, can be seen as the attempt to articulate this lack at our core, an attempt which often flounders insofar as it circulates around our potentiality and is often partially utilized to try to avoid the realization that this lack is what makes us genuinely who we are.

10 The suspension at stake here is therefore elsewhere characterized by Agamben as the potentiality symbolized in Bartleby’s “I prefer not to” (cf. CC 35–37; P 243–271). Or as he will put it in this context, it is a potentiality capable of being its own impotentiality, that is, capable of suspending its own possibility (HS 45). It is thus the refusal to engage with the “will-to-power” which lies at the heart of the “dead law,” or 47 Agamben and Theology the Western political and economic projects as we have come to know them.

Already at this early stage of our analysis, Agamben’s indebtedness to a Spinozistic philosophy of affirming life begins to move out beyond what appears at times to be the nihilistic (“negative”) furor of his arguments. This is a point well worth remembering throughout the next several chapters and is something which I will take up in the conclusion of this work with more deliberate focus. That is, it is very important to bear in mind the fact that, despite what appears to be a complete erasure of all things theological or linguistic, or even meaningful, there is yet an absolute affirmation of life lurking underneath it all that cannot be ignored.

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Agamben and Theology by Colby Dickinson


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