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The Origin of the PoliticalHannah Arendt or Simone Weil?$
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Roberto Esposito

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823276264

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823276264.001.0001

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Principium and Initium

Principium and Initium

(p.12) 3 Principium and Initium
The Origin of the Political

Roberto Esposito

, Vincenzo Binetti, Gareth Williams
Fordham University Press

This chapter argues that Homer's originarity—the fact that he precedes even the beginnings of historiography—is what attracts the attention of both Arendt and Weil in relation to the event that he translates into verse. The event narrated in the Iliad is understood by both Arendt and Weil as what “comes before.” It is this inaugural character that obliges that they both address its phenomenology, meaning, and effect. This inaugural character is not only at the origin; it is the origin of our story. It is the origin of our story at least to the extent that it has assumed a truly political dimension. The event, in other words, opens up the time of politics and inevitably predetermines it. It is this bond between origin and politics—the political destiny of the origin but also the constitutive originarity of politics—that captures the attention of both thinkers, who had already made the polis the primary concern of their reflection.

Keywords:   Hannah Arendt, Simone Weil, Homer, politics, polis, originarity, philosophy

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