Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse:" A Postulate of Biblical Criminal Law

In his classic essay, "Some Postulates of Biblical Criminal Law,"* Moshe Greenberg threw down the gauntlet at historical and comparative approaches that he saw as draining the life and meaning from our analysis of biblical law: "...until the values that the law embodies are understood, it is questionable whether any individual law can be properly appreciated, let alone profitably compared with another in a foreign system."

Greenberg then observed two crucial distinctions between "biblical" (meaning all of the legal material in the Torah, treated as a single system) and Mesopotamian law: First, Mesopotamian law is authored by the king, while biblical law is never authored by a human:
"Not only is Moses denied any part in the formation of the Pentateuchal laws, no Israelite king is said to have authored a law code, nor is any king censured for so doing. The only legislator the Bible knows is God; the only legislation is that mediated by a prophet."
Second, in biblical law human life has an absolute value: unlike supposedly more advanced Mesopotamia or supposedly more primitive bedouin cultures, you cannot pay money ("damages," in our terms) to restore a life. For these two distinctions alone his article retains enduring value.

But Greenberg then makes a move with stunning potential consequences: Offhandedly fusing historically and juridically distinct laws from Deuteronomy and the Covenant Code of Exodus with Priestly law, he concludes that "In the sphere of the criminal law, the effect of this divine authorship of all law is to make crimes sins, a violation of the will of God," citing Numbers 15:30's claim that anyone who violates the law "affronts the Lord, and will be cut off from among the people." "The way is thus prepared," writes Greenberg, "to regard offenses as absolute wrongs, transcending the power of men to pardon or expunge."

Indeed. The greatest impact of the idea that any violation of biblical law was an unforgivable offense against God came from another brilliant holistic Jewish interpreter who also treated the entire Torah as a single legal statement:
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law...
St. Paul's audacious claim in Galatians 3:10-13 is that the law had become a curse because any violation of the law is not merely wrong--a human act that must be made right by human means, but a sin against God, a cosmic stain that human power can never wipe away. And Judeans who had experienced repeated, crushing defeats and exiles, all of which seemed predicted in just that section of Deuteronomy Paul uses, might have understood just what he was saying. We remain defeated; we must have violated some part of this sweeping law, which has cursed us; our law is a curse. Of course, there was a corresponding positive holistic reading of the text, well known and popular in Paul's time but in which he was understandably uninterested: the idea that repentance and the Day of Atonement together completely remove precisely this cosmic stain.

My argument, implied in the joke fusion of my title, is that when "holistic" reading frees scholars from historical context--the obligation to heed individual biblical voices--they may unintentionally conjure up powerful ghosts that only theology can confront. Come to think of it, speaking of powerful theological ghosts the next post should be about Jacob Taubes.

* Greenberg's "Some Postulates of Biblical Criminal Law" was originally published in Studies in Bible and Jewish Religion, the Yehezkel Kaufmann Jubilee Volume, ed. Menahem Haran (Jerusalem, 1960), and its interest in discovering a qualitatively distinctive biblical-Jewish approach to law that could not be explained by social evolution fit well with the dedicatee's brilliant nationalist project.

Monday, December 14, 2009

UCLA Talk: Epigraphy and the Invention of the Jewish People

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 from 4:00pm - 7:00pm, I'll talk about what my empirical work on Iron Age Israelite writing and identity says about the historicity of Jewish peoplehood. Hint: it's real, but it was never about blood or authenticity.

Second Book - Rituals of Revelation: The Ancient Near Eastern Roots of Jewish Mysticism

Because I can't stop now. I'm submitting this to Brill at the end of the summer (perhaps the De Vermis Mysteriis to The Invention of Hebrew's Necronomicon?):

The origins of Jewish mysticism are hotly contested: many of its most mysterious and compelling elements are found in Mesopotamian and early Jewish texts but not in the Hebrew Bible. How do we explain the new myths and rituals of Jewish mysticism? This project builds on recent advances in interpreting the data for connections between early Jewish and ancient Near Eastern intellectual culture. The Jewish intellectual culture of Qumran participated in
an international high culture through the medium of Aramaic, as exemplified by the astronomy of the book of Enoch, the first apocalypse and a key text in early mysticism. The project examines not only borrowing but how people experienced these myths religiously. How did the belief arise that this cosmic knowledge could be embodied by worshippers? I investigate mysticism not as an ineffable and inexplicable internal state, but as linguistic practice. Beginning with Sumerian incantations in which the exorcist claims to be Adapa, the semi divine sage who went to heaven, I will explore how the grammar and pragmatics of this ancient Near Eastern ritual tradition let practicioners adopt illuminated divine personae. The project is equally concerned with historical causation: why do these traditions only emerge in Judaism during the Hellenistic period? Here the loss of native kingship and the increasing autonomy and creativity of scribal culture are key. Myths of sovereign power are transferred from a top- down model in which the heavenly ruler empowers the earthly one to judge and militarily protect the individual to a model of audience, in which the individual appears before the heavenly throne to share liturgically in the benefits of cosmic rule and heavenly knowledge. Ritual enacts politics, as early Jewish mysticism empowers worshippers to live out Near Eastern myth under the new conditions of Hellenistic colonialism.

Me, Thomas Friedman, and Obama's mom

Aside from the satisfaction of showing those people who had faith in you that they were right, you really did have it in you, one of the remarkable things about having a book out in the world is the way it starts to show up, seemingly unbidden, in places that mean a lot to you. Today that tireless and good-hearted informant, my mom, told me that my book had landed on the front table of the Seminary Co-op bookstore.

Growing up in Hyde Park, home of the University of Chicago, I got a strong minority of my education and maybe a majority of my inspiration from spending time in that comforting maze, hidden safely in the bowels of the Chicago Theological Seminary. The front table was where I, and untold numbers of the scholars and students at Chicago, found out what was happening in intellectual life outside of the neighborhood. In high school I remember the first time I wandered into the University's Regenstein library to find a book on H.P. Lovecraft. I remember being stunned, mesmerized by the fact that there were books next to this one that I'd never heard of. Some had been well-used, and some seemed not to have been touched since they first made their way to these quiet shelves. Someone could have written something amazing 50 years ago and I might open that book and discover it. Hidden, waiting for that accident to unlock the remarkable potential in it. Yes I mean the Necronomicon.

Now that my book is slowly and tentatively making its way through the academic libraries and bookshelves of the world, my book too could unlock untold eldritch horror on a helpless world. Thanks, mom.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Invention of Hebrew Exists!

15 copies of my first book were delivered to my hotel room Monday here in New Orleans: a new feeling to hold something in your hands whose every word you've gone over and over in word documents, printouts, and emails, now an object out there in the world for anyone to read. I'll be excited, and no doubt surprised, to see what happens now that it's out of my head and in other people's hands.

Friday, May 01, 2009

"I am Adapa, Sage of Eridu" How and Why did Mesopotamian Exorcists Embody their Ancestors?

Rencontre Assyriologique paper, coming to Paris this summer!

The modern “Friday Apostolics” of Zimbabwe actually embody their revealers, speaking as Moses and St. Paul; by contrast, ancient Jews did not directly embody Moses in performance. But did Mesopotamian exorcists become the mythical fish-man who revealed their secrets? The semi-human sage Adapa might be considered the patron saint of Mesopotamian ritual. He also became the mediator of privileged knowledge par excellence—a culture hero for the scribes who managed writing and ritual for Mesopotamian courts. But ritual experts were not satisfied to inherit his knowledge—in certain texts they claim to not just be descended from him but to be him. Beginning with its roots in archaic Sumerian art and ritual, this paper will examine narratives, images, and ritual performances in which Mesopotamian scholars embodied their mythical ancestor. Taking a cue from linguistic anthropology, we will ask on what planes this embodiment was accomplished and what its effects were.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The "Dr. Manhattan" Theory of Jewish Mysticism

If nothing else, movies are good for two things: 1) seeing things blow up 2) giving me tools to think with. The Watchmen movie wrapped one of each goodie together for me in a single scene.

On the one hand: Worst use of Dylan ever ("the times they are a' changin'" alongside shifting historical scenes is the new version of the wooden B&W movie standby where they show the pages blowing off a day calendar), worst use of Leonard Cohen ever, but that's because almost all uses of Leonard Cohen are subverted by lyrics that veer between slashing insight and intolerable schlock, and his fatal attraction to musical settings that resemble a beer commercial. There remains the undeniable ethical truth of the Cohen lines (which I thank Elliot Wolfson for quoting to me):

"Tho' your promise count for nothing
You must keep it nonetheless"

On the other: the Dr. Manhattan origin scene gives me something new: a perfect angle on the argument in early Jewish mysticism that Qumran texts like the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice do not present real mysticism because they do not depict "ontic transformation"--that is, they do not show us a dude actually turning into God.

This will be known henceforth as the "Dr. Manhattan" standard for mystical experience.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Talking at Princeton Theological Seminary on March 17

I'll be talking to Chip Dobbs-Allsopp's Northwest Semitic Epigraphy class this Tuesday on my new book (copyedited proofs arrive Wednesday!), the topic will be something like "History Begins as the Voice of the King." Hit me up on facebook or send me a paper airplane if you're in the area!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Anarchist Philology?

A big influence on my work on the relationship between writing and political order, David Graeber's Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology asks, among other things, whether there ever was a West, and whether Athenian democracy was one of its gifts to the world or an odd repackaging of something most people normally do when nobody's pushing them around.

It was published by Prickly Paradigm, a pamphlet series designed to dispense big, relevant social theories in tasty little doses--and now the first run is available for free download. Scholars of the ancient world looking to upset their applecarts a little and have fun at the same time could do worse than play around here...

Friday, March 06, 2009

Three drowned books: Jeremiah 51 and the cultural "nature" of textuality

What did Jeremiah and his school think a text was? Building on Edward Silver's reading of Jeremiah 36 as based on a trope of materialization, this paper reads Jeremiah 51's command to weight the scroll of his prophecy and sink it in the Euphrates as the key moment in the articulation of a Jeremian language ideology that runs counter to modern assumptions about textuality. At least for this Jeremiah, the word of God was something that need to be both read and destroyed to be effective. It then reads Jeremiah's destruction of the materialized word of God with two other drowned books: those of the early 17th-century Marathi poet Tukaram and the early 17th-century English playwright William Shakespeare.

The conflicting tropes of destruction and salvation, communication and incommunication, mediation and concealment (consider Darius' invisible Behistun inscription or Ezekiel's edible, unread scroll), that these accounts manifest suggest that cross-culturally, textuality may lack fundamental features, such as fixity and openness to critique, that have been attributed to it in the late 20th-century Western scholarly tradition represented by Ong, Goody et al. In conclusion, the paper will suggest a different cross-culturally emergent feature of
textuality, that of materialization, that emerges from comparison. The recommendation is then that any discussion of textuality should begin with study of the local language ideologies, production formats and participation frameworks in which a text-artifact emerged.

Possibly to be given in the 2009 SBL's Textuality section.

Erving Goffman, "Footings" in Forms of Talk -- concepts of 'production format' and 'participation framework'
Sheldon Pollock, The Language of the Gods in the World of Men on Tukaram
Edward Silver, "Entextualization and Prophetic Action: Jeremiah 36 as Literary Artifact" (2008 SBL paper)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Political Theology of Leviticus 16: The People as Agents of History

Scholarship has reached a consensus that the Priestly authors placed Leviticus 16, the "day of atonement" or Scapegoat ritual, at the architectural center of the Torah. As the ritual that begins the year and purifies the cosmically central sanctuary, it also lies at the center of ritual space and time. And it has been widely noted that the ritual prescribed shares essential features with other ancient Near Eastern expiation rituals.

What has not been recognized is the politics this implies. Unlike almost every other known ancient Near Eastern expiation ritual, the day of atonement is not performed on behalf of a king, country, or medical patient, but on behalf of a collective: the people of Israel. Is it an accident, then, that the one other known ritual from the entire ancient Near East done on behalf of collective population groups was KTU 1.40, the most widely-used ritual at Ugarit? For Ugarit is home, not only to the first known literary use of the alphabet, but also to the world's first vernacular literature, designed to speak to a 'people' in their own language.

If this ritual connection between the world's first and second known vernacular literatures is not an accident, then we gain here an insight into the origins and development of a previously unrecognized but powerful West Semitic political theory, one that had its greatest impact in what Foucault was to call"Biblical History."

This is: 1) the expansion of an idea I published in Maarav 2004, "What was the alphabet for?" 2) A teaser for my forthcoming book, The Invention of Hebrew (Illinois, 2009), and 3) A paper I might give at this year's Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in New Orleans.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Do we know the Hebrew alphabet? A lesson on the difference between writing and language

How many consonants did Hebrew have?

This is a trick question. The answer depends on what you mean by a consonant: spoken or written. Today everybody knows we count 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet. But everybody knows, and forgets, that it has 23 consonants: original Śin is still with us. Sorry.

Writing is the only way we can learn what the ancients said, but writing is not language. And as writing reveals, it always conceals something of what it transmits.

There's no better example of this than the way writing masks the sounds of speech even as it immortalizes them. Since the 19th century, scholars have argued that there were actually 25 sounds in ancient Hebrew and Aramaic: it has been long noted--and best argued by Joshua Blau--that the Septuagint distinguished original ǵayin and ḥa in many place names and other transliterations. During the 80's, Richard Steiner first realized that there was an entire Aramean religious liturgy--really a kind of alternate-universe Hebrew Bible, including a pagan version of Psalm 20 with Baal instead of the Lord, and mourning for an Exile (with the Assyrians around, lots of people got exiled), transcribed into Demotic in Egypt, that distinguished these two consonants.

The Hebrew and Aramaic writing systems had concealed some of the most basic facts of Hebrew and Aramaic from us for almost 2,000 years. This has to do with their own histories--they're both derived from Phoenician, which lost those two sounds, along with original śin, sometime before the first Phoenician writing (11th century B.C.E., depending on what you mean by "Phoenician").

I stole the lousy Śin joke from Richard Steiner, who published the definitive treatment of all these issues. The answer to the question of when, and how, Hebrew went from having 25 consonants to 23 holds lessons for us about the relationship between writing and language, as well as for when different parts of the Septuagint were created.

Blau, Joshua, 1982. On Polyphony in Biblical Hebrew. Proceedings of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities VI/2.

Steiner, Richard L. 2005. “On the dating of Hebrew Sound Changes (*ḫ>ḥ and *ǵ>ˁ) and Greek Translations (2 Esdras and Judith) JBL 124:229-67

--originally posted June 30, 2005, updated today.

The first source-critical Bible goes online

This could be a watershed in the history of Bible criticism: the first online source-critical presentation of the Hebrew Bible, through II Samuel 5, went up this weekend. From now on, students and scholars looking for an accessible, well-founded treatment of the probable sources of the biblical text can start here

The author is Tzemah Yoreh, one of Israel Knohl's star students at Hebrew University and now a professor at AJU. While Yoreh's vision is not the only plausible one, it has two big advantages: 1) A short, eloquent introduction explains Yoreh's method, which is organic. It relies on Occam's Razor, the idea that the best explanations use as few assumptions as necessary. The result is a new version of the supplementary hypothesis, the idea that the Bible comes not from an assembly of sources but a series of interpretive additions, as religious thinkers collectively wove and rewove traditional texts they considered sacred. Like the process of inner-biblical interpretation illuminated by scholars like Sarna, Fishbane, Levinson, and Sommer, each source wrote with scripture by building on the sources it found. The Bible Yoreh shows us is not just a set of fragments, obscurely cobbled together by narrow elites for ulterior motives (though his analysis raises essential questions of social location and group interest too) but coherent acts of poiesis: collective cultural world-making.

2) Yoreh's presentation is simpler and seems more coherent than the fragmentary hypothesis which has come to dominate European scholarship. Under this hypothesis--nicely summarized by Kevin Wilson-- the Priestly source wove together five fragmentary blocks of tradition, that were sometimes aware of each other and sometimes not. Yoreh's parsimony does not make him right, but he's got one big thing going for him: nobody else has put all of their results together in a useful form and published them online. This kind of public scholarship, which takes both work and courage, should become a fundamental go-to for students and a helpful tool for scholars to think with.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

How to get into grad school: An anthropologist's view

From my friend Rex (an anthropologist who works on Papua New Guinea and gaming and who has some excellent ideas on the relationship between the Babylonian Epic of Creation and Western Political Theory), "What we look for in applicants."

With the addition of languages (know a Semitic or at least a dead one or, for archaeology, have field experience), this is a good guide for Near Eastern and Biblical Studies too.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Acquiring a body of light through speech

Here's how to do it: read Seth Sanders' essay in this collection of early Jewish and Christian Mysticism studies:

It investigates mysticism as linguistic practice by comparing Babylonian and Second Temple Jewish journeys to heaven. Previous debate focused on how the first heavenly journeys emerged and whether they were vision or fiction: did people think they could actually become angels? It contains some of the core arguments of my forthcoming Myths of Revelation (in revision for Brill) draws on linguistic anthropology to reexamines Jewish mysticism’s ancient Near Eastern roots. The experiences behind the texts are lost, but we can historically trace the possibilities they generated through verbal performance. Rather than an essence, Jewish mysticism was a constellation of new genres and ritual roles that let participants realize ancient Near Eastern myth under the imperial politics of Hellenism. And seeing mystical discourse concretely, as both textual interpretation and ritual action, raises new questions: how do changes in written participant roles affect our very idea of human nature and its limits?

Mythic and Ritual Genocides in the Bible, or, Why We Should be Afraid to Read Atrocities as Stories and Why We Need To.

A talk for students of the Trinity College Religion Department on what many have seen as the most morally difficult part of the Hebrew Bible: divinely commanded genocides, and trying to figure out how we can respond to them in a way that is moral but not anachronistic.

Those who wish to remind themselves of the worst parts of the Old Testament are invited to glance at Joshua 6-8 and I Samuel 15, which look rather fictional, and compare it to the actual 9th-century BCE inscription of Mesha, king of Moab (also mentioned and fought against in the Bible), who uses precisely the Biblical vocabulary of ritual genocide to claim:

“And I killed all the people of the city as a sacrifice for Kemosh and for Moab. And I brought back the fire-hearth of his uncle from there; and I brought it before the face of Kemosh in Qerioit, and I made the men of Sharon live there, as well as the men of Maharit. And Kemosh said to me, "Go, take Nebo from Israel." And I went in the night and fought against it from the daybreak until midday, and I took it and I killed the whole population: seven thousand male subjects and aliens, and female subjects, aliens, and servant girls. For I had put it to the ban for Ashtar Kemosh.”

It will draw on the pioneering work of Lauren Monroe, "Israelite, Moabite and Sabaean War-herem Traditions and the Forging of National Identity: Reconsidering the Sabaean Text RES 3945 in Light of Biblical and Moabite Evidence," Vetus Testamentum (2007) 318-341.

As well as Bruce Lincoln's wonderfully challenging little essay, "Myth and History in the Study of Myth: An Obscure Text of Georges Dumézil, Its Context and Subtext" in his Death, War, and Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology & Practice (Chicago, 1991)

And perhaps Michael Taussig's wild, intelligent, loosely-argued but usefully provocative "The Language of Flowers".

Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Mythic Foundations of Western Political Thought

Says Seth: An argument that I started having with myself about where politics comes from. I picked it in my first book, and this semester I have the chance to share this argument with 7 intrepid students.

Course Outline

It’s often assumed that religion is just a cover for politics: having God on your side justifies anything, no matter how costly or self-serving. But what if it’s actually the other way around--what if religion is the source of politics? If not, why did ancient people treat kings like Gods, and why do we still obey rulers we've never met? We will study myths of foundation and order from the world's first states in Mesopotamia and their legacy in the Bible. In these myths God gains sovereignty by slaying Leviathan, the cosmic dragon. We will analyze some alternatives that Western political thought offers: are they more reasonable? Did the West ultimately abolish Leviathan or has it merely replaced it with its own myths?

Mark Lilla The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics and the Modern West
David Graeber Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Cambridge textbook version)
Carl Schmitt, Political Theology
Simon Parker, Ugaritic Narrative Poetry
Benjamin Foster Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature

David Miller Political Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction
Marc Van de Meiroop A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000 - 323 BC
God, The Holy Bible (HarperCollins study bible or any other version)

1. Tuesday, January 20 Introduction.

2. Thursday, January 22 Political Philosophy as a Great Separation
Mark Lilla, The Stillborn God
“The Crisis,” “The Great Separation”

3. Tuesday, January 27 Separation and its Discontents
Lilla, “The Ethical God,”
Add/Drop Period ends. Last day to declare a class Pass/Low Pass/Fail.

4. Thursday, January 29 Why The State?
David Graeber, Fragments 46-70
David Miller, Political Philosophy chapters 1 and 2

5. Tuesday, February 3 The Foundation of God’s Kingdom
from Foster, Before the Muses “The Valorous Sun; Hammurabi, King of Justice”
from van de Mieroop, the Old Babylonian Period
First 3-page paper: Examining an Argument in Political Philosophy:
From any of the readings, analyze in depth one argument about one point
First page: analyze how the argument works and what it is trying to accomplish, what is at stake in this particular debate.
Second page: go through the evidence and steps. Be precise, citing the most decisive phrases and sentences by page number (no need for block quotes) and, every time you cite, analyze what it's accomplishing in the argument.
Third page: where would you go from here? If not fully convinced what would you need to decide? If convincing what can you do with it now?

6. Thursday, February 5 The Slaying of Leviathan
from Foster, Before the Muses “The Epic of Creation”

7. Tuesday, February 10 The State’s Ancient Other: The West Semitic Ideal I
Thorkild Jakobsen, “Primitive Democracy in Mesopotamia”

Read the two very short, but important, letters from Adad (the local West Semitic version of Marduk) to Zimri-Lim in Foster 143-144.
What theory of legitimacy is implied in the second letter? How does it compare to the theory of legitimacy Hammurabi propounds in the epilogue to the laws? How does it compare to the theory of the Epic of Creation?

8. Thursday, February 12 Negotiated Sovereignty: The West Semitic Ideal II
From Parker, Ugaritic Narrative Poetry, Baal epic

9. Tuesday, February 17 Divine Myths of Justice: Yahweh Dethrones the Gods
from Parker, Ugaritic Narrative Poetry, Kirta epic
Psalm 82

10. Thursday, February 19 Human Myths of Justice: Absalom Dethrones David
II Samuel
from Herodotus, History

11. Tuesday, February 24 Human Myths of Justice: Killing a Tyrant
From Livy, Roman History
From Dumezil, “Myth into History” in Archaic Roman Religion

Thursday, February 26 No class--Trinity days

12. Tuesday, March 3 Classical vs. Biblical Political Myth
Foucault, “Omnes et Singulatim: Towards a Critique of Political Reason"

13. Thursday, March 5 The Messiah: the death and resurrection of a political myth
Isaiah, Suffering Servant
KTU 1.161 Ugaritic funerary ceremony
Daniel 7 son of man
Gospels Son of Man passages
SECOND PAPER: The Ideals of an Ancient Myth

14. Tuesday, March 10 Is the State a Machine for Happiness?
from Aristotle, Politics

15. Thursday, March 12 Is the State a Ritual Device?
From Aristotle, Politics
Dupont, Florence (1989) ‘The Emperor-God's Other Body', in Michel Feher et al. ( eds) Zone 5: Fragments for a History of the Human Body, Part 3

Tuesday, March 17 SPRING VACATION

Thursday, March 19 SPRING VACATION

16. Tuesday, March 24 Religion as a Tool for Politics
Machiavelli, from Discourses on Livy

17. Thursday, March 26 Politics as a Tool for Religion
Hocart, from Kings and Councilors

18. Tuesday, March 31 Politics as Cosmology
Geertz, from Negara
Quentin Skinner, review of Geertz

19. Thursday, April Jurisprudence as Myth and Ritual: The Medieval King’s Two Bodies
Kantorowicz, from The King’s Two Bodies: An Essay in Medieval Political Theology
THIRD PAPER: A Medieval Political Myth

20. Tuesday, April 7 The Return of Leviathan
Hobbes, from Leviathan

21. Thursday, April 9
Hobbes, from Leviathan

22. Tuesday, April 14
Weber, “Politics as a Vocation”

23. Thursday, April 16
Lincoln, Religion, Empire and Torture

24. Tuesday, April 21
Carl Schmitt, Political Theology

25. Thursday, April 23
Lilla, Stillborn God
FOURTH PAPER: Modern Political Myth

26 Tuesday, April 28
Simon Critchley, “Crypto-Schmittianism”

Take-home exam.