The Schmittian Messiah in Agamben's The Time That Remains
Britt, Brian M.
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For Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, and Slavoj Zitek the New Testament writings attributed to Paul have much to say on contemporary debates over politics and religious tradition. Taking the measure of this new intellectual trend calls for careful readings of books on the subject, among the most interesting of which is Agamben's The Time That Remains, a series of seminar lectures that explores the influence of Paul's letters on messianic thought. Here, Britt reveals that his primary concern is not Agamben's reading of Paul but his reading of Walter Benjamin as a Pauline thinker through the lens of Carl Schmitt's political theology. Agamben claims that Benjamin's writings on messianism can be shown, through a set of allusions and quotations, to depend directly on Paul's writings. He argues that Agamben misreads and misunderstands Benjamin's messianic thought, projecting a Schmittian model of religion onto Benjamin's conception of tradition.