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Europe and Empire$
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Massimo Cacciari and Alessandro Carrera

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823267163

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823267163.001.0001

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Empire and Katechon: A Question of Political Theology (from Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2)

Empire and Katechon: A Question of Political Theology (from Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2)

Chapter:
(p.145) 10 Empire and Katechon: A Question of Political Theology (from Paul, 2 Thessalonians 2)
Source:
Europe and Empire
Author(s):

Massimo Cacciari

, Alessandro Carrera, Massimo Verdicchio
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823267163.003.0011

The term katechon (“he who holds back” or “that which holds back”) appears in Saint Paul’s Second Letter to the Thessalonians. The passage has generated a substantial literature from the early Fathers of the Church up to Carl Schmitt who resurrected the term in the twentieth century. The katechon is the power that holds back the triumph of the iniquity that will be followed by the Second Coming of Christ. Therefore, the katechon slows down the apocalypse. Cacciari joins the ranks of Schmitt scholars and Italian philosophers such as Roberto Esposito and Giorgio Agamben in applying the katechon to political theory with a strong historico-genealogical approach. He reviews all the most important assessments of the katechon to conclude that the katechon is very likely to be the Church itself, which in its coming to terms with secular political institutions always needs “more time” before the end of time.

Keywords:   Augustine, empire, katechon, Saint Paul, political theology, Carl Schmitt, Tertullian

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