Political TheologyCarl Schmitt
Written amid the chaos of early Weimar Germany in 1922, Schmitt’s Political Theology was translated to English by political scientist and Holocaust survivor George D. Schwab in 1985, but was only available in academic and elite circles until the 2006 publication by the University of Chicago Press. Since then, Political Theology has gained renown among English-speaking dissidents for its hard-hitting analysis on the relationship between political leaders, the norms of legal order, and “the state of exception”, as well as his definition of the ‘Sovereign’.
To Schmitt, the Sovereign is he who has the authority of decision on ‘the state of exception’, an emergency state of affairs in which the normal legal processes are either invalid or cannot be applied and thus there is no way to act constructively but to break them. Overarching all of this is the existence of ‘political theology’; the fact that secularized concepts are fundamentally theological in nature, and the effect this fact has on the political world.
The C.J. Miller translation is the second complete English translation of Political Theology, being made available in 2020 to the general public through Antelope Hill Publishing. This translation is truer to the original German and avoids any commentary or apologia for the plain words of Schmitt. The work consists of four essays, which address, respectively: Sovereignty, political power, ‘decisionism’ (decision theory), and the state of exception.
Author: Carl Schmitt