On Agamben, Donatism, Pelagianism, and the Missing Links
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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of Pages: 160
Width: 13.8 cm
Height: 21.6 cm
Peter Iver Kaufman shows that, although Giorgio Agamben represents Augustine as an admired pioneer of an alternative form of life, he also considers Augustine an obstacle keeping readers from discovering their potential. Kaufman develops a compelling, radical alternative to progressive politics by continuing the line of thought he introduced in On Agamben, Arendt, Christianity, and the Dark Arts of Civilization. Kaufman starts with a comparison of Agamben and Augustine’s projects, both of which challenge reigning concepts of citizenship. He argues that Agamben, troubled by Augustine’s opposition to Donatists and Pelagians, failed to forge links between his own redefinitions of authenticity and “the coming community” and the bishop’s understandings of grace, community, and compassion. On Agamben, Donatism, Pelagianism, and the Missing Links sheds new light on Augustine’s “political theology,” introducing ways it can be used as a resource for alternative polities while supplementing Agamben’s scholarship and scholarship on Agamben.
Kaufman's analyses take us back in time-but also strangely back to ourselves-in the name of a vexed and even traumatic desire for political alternatives. In this journey Kaufman shows himself to be the historian of Christianity able to send vivifying shockwaves through the many contemporary discussions of political theology in critical theory and continental philosophy. No one who attends to Kaufman's Augustine will ever see Agamben-or indeed their own political situation-in the same way again. -- Ward Blanton, University of Kent, UK