Theses On Political Theology

The expression political theology is a tautology. Theology is political out of her nature; it is political in her potentiality. This tautology is my way to speak up the loss of her political character: her subjugation to the spirit of a world which is passing away [1Cor.7:31].


Theology is political out of her nature: a gesture which states a potentiality. Theology, like philosophy, is neither a deed nor discourse; as these are comprehended in the everyday interrelational context. Yet, with theology we can erect between us the potentiality of the potentiality theology stands for. This in-between is what makes her ethical-political by nature in a particular way. And this particularity lies in the apophatic character of that in-between.
Theology's apophatic character is determined both by language's transcendence, as well as by the transcendence of the experience theology voices out. This double conditionality makes theology not simply a source of ethics, but ethical proper: ethical as an occurrence of mediation. In this sense, theology is mute. Like philosophy, theology is an end of conversation, is naming. The difference here is that while philosophy is only an end, theology is at the same time an end and an introduction of a new dialogue. A dialogue beyond the boundaries of the experience of language, though still inside language. Theology lies in between time and eternity, on the passage from history to eschata. This is her messianic character: the silence before the entrance in the holy of holies of the eternal being. A silence which, by stammering out names of this passing world, calls(-upon) what it knows in a mirror as its telos.

§ A theology too clung to these names can be only ideology——a dead end. A theology too clung to this reflected image is nihilistic esotericism——a denial of the creative and cohesive power of Logos. Theology is neither of this world nor eschata——she is a boundary. And this boundary does not have any locality; because world and eschata do not contradistinguished as autonomous distinct realities, but exist as different modes meeting in the same body, the body of the incarnate Logos. The only ground of theology is this body and the only meeting is the obedience-accordance [2Κor.9:13] of creation's will to Creator's will. Whenever this meeting takes place we have theology: new names comes to life as newborns of the fertilization of human logos by the godlike Logos. Each such new name is a new boundary: a modal end of history and a new beginnig of it; not as a repetition nor as an evolution, but, as a continual recreation of the time till its fullness [Εph.1:10].


Theology is true to her name——in tune with Logos' word/work——when she wants the world's salvation. This implies, first, that theology accepts the world, and accepts it critically: the world in its nature, as activity-manifestation of God's love, and not in its fallen state, as a mesh of strife. Second, that theology is up to interpreting human knowledge in every stage of it. Whenever theology either bypasses human knowledge, unable to come in dialogue with it, or is resigned to it, then theology fails her cause.
Theology is neither of this world, nor out of this world. Theology is the critical consciousness of the world, its political eco-nomics. A political economics which does not seek for the administration of the world, but for its transformation into its natural end, into church: a messianic community of calling on fullness of life.

§ The interpretation of human knowledge in every stage of it is an ethical-political act par excellence; and at the same time the condition for ethics. This interpretation is the self-awareness of human consciousness as the source of knowledge (where knowledge: the representation-realization of things and their relations by human consciousness) and, out of that, as the source of any relation of the knowing subject (either a relation of violence or a relation of freedom and love). In other words, consciousness as a knowledge-workshop is the root of any political reality, and the interpretation of knowledge is the foundation of any political stance.
At the root of this complex is always the human language: the womb of human consciousness and the fabric it is formed and enhanced on. Out of that, the political action is always dialogue, and theology is its critical condition. Since only theology can be critical to language (the beginning of any critique) from a point outside language's fabric—to weigh it continually against the incarnate Logos' logos [Heb.4:12 & Εph.4:14], whose fallen image it is.


Theology's apophatic character lies in her logical non-violence: her repudiation of any final determination of reality, while at the same time she does not cease to interpret this reality in a way that keeps open the perspective of a final disclosure of its truth. (This disclosure cannot be but out of time's boundaries—hence the apophatic character of theological interpretation——and this entails the endless development of this end.)
Such an apophatic interpretation of the world and the relations that constitute it is the only possible interpretation that eliminates the logical violence of the interpretations come from the self-determined mind and the real violence they bring.

§ Theology as apophatic logos——logos being referred logically to creative logos of creator Logos——is the logical denial of any utopia; either a natural one or an ethical one. Since any utopia is an effort of the autonomized imagery to replace the creative and cohesive presence of the Spirit in the world-creation of Logos with a concept which does not exist but as imposition-violence of the autonomized imagery's will for dominion over reality through an arbitrary (self-determined) interpretation of the world as structure where the worldly relations produce the rationale and the meaning this imagery needs in order to be the evaluator of everything [Gen.3:5]. Any political imperative, any law, stands on this spurious ground and exists only as violence over things——the violence of a beast in its exertion to keep the life fleeing from it. Any utopia is fruit of this 'tree of knowledge', which is “the emblem of judgment of the judge”; and “this immense irony marks the mythic origin of law” (Walter Benjamin). So, the logical denial of utopia is the first and foremost contribution of theology against the violence which devours the world-creation of the creator Logos. And out of that, theology, whenever she verifies her name, is always political par excellence.


Political theology, contrary to utopia, is theology which indicates the natural relation of the creator Logos with the creation, which manifests the mode of union-in-love, of godlike logicality.
Logos, with language, the gift of godlike image, bestows to man the potential to relate with his creator. The naturalness of this relation is its logicality: that language (logos), as far as it remains natural logos (that is an image of the creative logos of Logos), brings about relation——communes its linguistic being by naming the things [Gen.2:19], which already exist out of Logos' calling into being (by His original naming); and by this communion (the “intensive totality of language”) the person comes to logical relation with the named things and meets the other persons who have this gift of naming and of communicating their logical-linguistic being (the “extensive totality of language”). The name is the relation. And this relation is between logical beings (persons) as a manifestation of their common logical nature, as the potentiality of their political substance.

§ In the state of apostasy-autonomization of human logos, following the fall from the natural logicality, mind-ego seeking for a self-referred-rational ground misrepresents nature and recognizes as its source the relations as existentially autonomous actualities, either endlessly casual or endlessly causal, yet in both cases endlessly banal. The outcome of this falsity is the abstraction of reductionism. And the reductionistic mind, whether it regards reality a systemic rizome or a nexus of abstract and dire necessity, in order to prevail as such it needs to break continually the unity of the experience into countless fragments of heteronomous units, whose sole actuality is an over-productive (of soulless progenies) imagery [Jn.8:44].
Theology's responsibility is to denounce before of human consciousness the violence of the reductionistic delusion against things and persons [Col.2:4 & 8]. And the first step for this is the recognition of human nature's unity and the denial of personhood's fragmentation into body and mind (Augustine's man [De Mor. Eccl. I,27,52]: a mind using a body [cf. Plotinus, Enn. 6,7,5]); on which fragmentation stands all the falsity and violence of bourgeois society, of the kingdom of Caesar.


When Jesus contradistinguishes the kingdom of God to the kingdom of Caesar [Μt.22:21] he does it absolutely [Μt.6:24]; and all the more so on the basis of the monetaristic dimension of Roman dominium, which is the heart and the foundation of Roman law. (It is noteworthy that the final reaction of the world against Jesus was happen on this legal basis [Jn.19:12] and through that means [Μt.26:15 & 28:12].)
The kingdom of Caesar is the kingdom of Roman law, that is the kingdom of the abstract-reductionistic spirit: the triumph of the autonomized imagery's dominion over the nature. Here everything is property and violence——persona is only an owner, and everything else is res. But this person (a legal entity by its establishment, an ethical-political entity by its activity) not having any other steady substance except its property, and all the more so in its more abstract edition (money: arbitrary value of things and deeds), is an insulated unit in constant oscillation between the legal hypostasis of 'person' and of 'thing' pursuing its own unity in the abstract unity of commodity (in other words, into its splintered nature) which is being idealized as capital. The person's hypostasis is being assessed at the counters bankers' counters [Μt.21:12].
In this kingdom, where estranged, endlessly colliding, moral subjects (=thrown down < p.p. of the Lat. v. jacere=throw) can relate only trivially; the only unwavering persona is capital, since only this acts steadily as a 'person' and not as a 'thing', being the only commonly acceptable and unfaltering substance, which reproduces ceaselessly itself (as interest) in a limitless expansion-dominion over the world. This kingdom is the apotheosis of the reductionistic spirit, the absolute denunciation of Logos' creative and cohesive energy, what we call bourgeois society.

§ The fate of the money of Judas' betrayal [Μt.27:7] affirms that the framework of Jesus' clash with the world, at least in its last phase, is Roman law's dominion over things as the exclusive exploiter and evaluator of them: the money from the sale of the teacher after the death of the seller realized as res nullius [cf. Justinian, Institutiones, Lib.II Tit.I 7-10], and all the more so, ironically, in this most ironic instance of the Gospel, as res religius (dedicated to the underworld gods). Varying therefore Benjamin's remark [cf. §3], we would say: this immense irony marks the origin of the messianic end of law.


If there is an Antichrist, this is bourgeois society. Because, as Christ is the incarnate Logos, bourgeois society is the incarnate concept. But this incarnation, as well as the concept it incarnates, is spurious, an idol. An idol which exist only because man wants its existence; because only in this idol the false consciousness of the autonomized subject finds its image, its confirmation. Yet this confirmation is at the same time the annulment of that subject, the choice for a death without end, the denial of the natural personhood and its modification into a commodity: the totalitarianism of bureaucratic society, the end of love, the end of history.

§ In the imaginary framework of bourgeois society, and all the more so in its most totalitarian edition, that of bureaucratic-monetaristic society, the 'sovereignty of no one', personal experience (diachrony) is being expropriated in the swirl of imaginary structure (fake synchrony). This is the end of history, the denial of political (logically ethical) nature of man, the quintessence of violence. On the contrary, theology, as logos saying-communicating personal experience proper [Gal.2:20], is ethics'-politics' linguistic conditionality par excellence. Theology is the voice of experience and, as such, she alone can stand as a bar against the violence of a world which derives its legitimacy from the imagery, idol's 'magical nihilism'. Theology is (can be) political as logical-linguistic space of ethics——a field where every moment the ethical form emerges as life and, at the same time, collapses as idol——a space of seeking the political (dia-logical) freedom. And freedom here means the endless activity, the limitless beauty, the in-between. And this in-between, whose experience and not the idea is theology's ethics, is a body: the body of the living Christ. Since theology's source, as well as her ethics, is not Christ's words, but Christ himself [Jn.14:6], his dia-logic body. For that, this theology, this ethics, does not turn petrified into a law, but rather endures as uninterrupted dia-lectic act of messianic freedom [1Cor.7:29-31], or as irony which deconstructs the bourgeois imagery [Μt.17:27].


The kingdom of the Father (eternity) is not a final end of history (human time), but rather its end as an antithesis between diachrony (extensive totality of being) and synchrony (intensive totality of being) by their accord with the will of the Father [1Cor.15:28]. The time which started with Logos' incarnation and which leads at this end is the messianic time [1Cor.15:20-27]. And this time becomes empirically known to man in the Eucharist [Jn.6:51].