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TwoThe Machine of Political Theology and the Place of Thought$
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Roberto Esposito

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823267613

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823267613.001.0001

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Passage

Passage

Katechon

Chapter:
(p.76) Passage
Source:
Two
Author(s):

Roberto Esposito

, Zakiya Hanafi
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823267613.003.0004

The concept of ‘katechon,’ which Carl Schmitt talks about especially in his book The Nomos of the Earth, is taken from a passage in Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians. What Paul means by this enigmatic expression is a historical or spiritual power that holds back the arrival of the Antichrist, thereby delaying it. But in doing so, the katechon also delays the Second Coming of Christ (parousia) and the final triumph of Good over Evil. By containing within itself the evil that it opposes, the katechon is a classic figure of political theology. It is difficult to identify the historical subject of the katechon: it may refer to the Roman Empire but also to the Church. In our current state of globalization, the katechon can be recognized in a unification of the world based on its division between a wealthy, dominant part and a poor, subordinate part.

Keywords:   The Church, empire, evil, (Saint) Paul, Schmitt

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