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The Kingdom and the Glory: For a Theological Genealogy of Economy and Government (Meridian: Crossing Aesthetics) Paperback – 13 Sep 2011

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press (13 Sept. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804760160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804760164
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"Agamben's argument is complex, multifaceted, and comprehensive, and, indeed, it offers a useful model His method is a philosophical archaeology that joins philosophy and philology in seeking those moments in history in which concepts are formulated or significantly altered and then order subsequent modes of discourse and thought with long term ramifications for human society."--Kelly C. MacPhail "Topia "

-Agamben's argument is complex, multifaceted, and comprehensive, and, indeed, it offers a useful model His method is a philosophical archaeology that joins philosophy and philology in seeking those moments in history in which concepts are formulated or significantly altered and then order subsequent modes of discourse and thought with long term ramifications for human society.---Kelly C. MacPhail -Topia -

Review

"Agamben's argument is complex, multifaceted, and comprehensive, and, indeed, it offers a useful model His method is a philosophical archaeology that joins philosophy and philology in seeking those moments in history in which concepts are formulated or significantly altered and then order subsequent modes of discourse and thought with long term ramifications for human society."―Kelly C. MacPhail, Topia

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This book is an essential complement to Homo Sacer which now, in retrospect, is clearly unfinished business. If Homo Sacer is about sovereign power, then Kingdom and the Glory represents a theory of the full articulation of power due to governance. Power indeed is revealed here as the economic articulation of Sovereignty (common auctoritas) and governance (proper potestas).
The observation that power is split between absolute rule and governmental, popular complicity is not new. But the revelation that all politics is held in the inoperative economy between the two is THE political statement of our age. This is an explosive masterpiece of political philosophy masquerading as work of theological philology. It forms a major part of a trinity of recent works by Agamben which justify all the attention his work. Along with Signature of All Things and Sacrament of Language the Agambenian critique of the metaphysics of difference is complete: power, metaphysics, language. An immense achievement grounded in systematic philosophical deduction and faultless philological induction.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Kingdom (and the Government!) and the Glory. 12 Feb. 2015
By StreetlightReader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Of the many things that can be said about the work of Giorgio Agamben, being lazy with his research isn't one of them. In fact, I imagine that if by some freak accident, all our sources regarding ancient and medieval theology were somehow lost to fire, one could, with a bit of extrapolation, reconstruct it all again just using Agamben's corpus of works. And if that really did come to pass, The Kingdom and the Glory - encyclopaedic as it is in its scope and its grasp - would be the go-to book from which to begin. Ostensibly a book about the theological roots of modern government, Agamben's actual procedure takes place by way of a meticulous - almost pedantic - tracing of the way in which theologians from Polycarp to Aquinas attempted to answer the age old chestnut: just how does God - who is supposed to be transcendent and removed from the world - go about governing that very world? Or, to put it in Agamben's preferred idiom, how does the Kingdom relate to the Government?

Agamben's answer - or at least the answer he finds in theology - is: by way of an economy. 'Economy' here understood not in the modern, narrow sense of 'distribution of goods', but in the wider sense of 'organization' and 'administration' (Agamben pretty much always uses the Greek spelling, 'oikonomia', to mark the difference). Central to the book's narrative then, is that the Christian doctrine of the trinity, in which God is at once unified and triune, and whose relations are organized by a divine oikonomia, is - in its formal functioning at least - at the core of today's apparatuses of modern government - including, perhaps especially so, democratic government. It's a wonderfully provocative thesis which ought to be read to be believed, if only for all the incredible pit stops of erudition along the way (one does wonder though where the Holy Spirit is in all this, the third figure of the trinity which Agamben only pretty much mentions in passing).

And of course there's the 'Glory', the analysis of which takes up about the latter third of the book, devoted to some wonderful excavations of the role of liturgy in Christian worship. Agamben's thesis here is that 'glory' serves to 'cover-up' the fact that the 'providential machine' - his catch phrase for the above articulation of Kingdom and Government - is fundamentally broken, 'empty' at its core, such that insofar as (spoiler alert!): "Government glorifies the Kingdom, and the Kingdom glorifies Government... the center of the machine is empty, and glory is nothing but the splendor that emanates from this emptiness, the inexhaustible kabhod [Glory] that at once reveals and veils the central vacuity of the machine".

Harsh words! And for all the academic theological discussion within - which is to say, for all of about the 250 pages of the 290 page book - the political point that Agamben attempts to impart is that this holds true for modern governmental functioning as well. Now, as a thousand readers of the book have pointed about, Agamben's 'method' here is somewhat suspect. OK, so theology ain't quite up to snuff, but does this translate so easily over into modern politics as Agamben constantly and repeatedly alludes (and I really do mean alludes, rather than 'argues')? It's an open question for me - and, in some sense, the rest of Agamben's Homo Sacer series - but it's a question that bristles with the promise of intellectual adventure.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Homo Sacer completed 21 Jan. 2014
By William D Watkin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is an essential complement to Homo Sacer which now, in retrospect, is clearly unfinished business. If Homo Sacer is about sovereign power, then Kingdom and the Glory represents a theory of the full articulation of power due to governance. Power indeed is revealed here as the economic articulation of Sovereignty (common auctoritas) and governance (proper potestas).
The observation that power is split between absolute rule and governmental, popular complicity is not new. But the revelation that all politics is held in the inoperative economy between the two is THE political statement of our age. This is an explosive masterpiece of political philosophy masquerading as work of theological philology. It forms a major part of a trinity of recent works by Agamben which justify all the attention his work. Along with Signature of All Things and Sacrament of Language the Agambenian critique of the metaphysics of difference is complete: power, metaphysics, language. An immense achievement grounded in systematic philosophical deduction and faultless philological induction.
41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Return to the Trinity: Agamben's Masterpiece 17 Oct. 2011
By Crammstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In his Metaphysics, R. G. Collingwood calls the Trinity the absolute presupposition of the West. In Capital, Karl Marx rails against the dark Trinity of land, labor and capital as a secular displacement of its theological source.
Long out of philosophical fashion, Agamben blends these two insights. He returns to the key of the Trinity to unlock, in the vocabulary of Michel Foucault, current global economic governmentality. That Agamben evokes the Trinity as the origin of the problem is unsurprising but, unlike Foucault, who can see only oppression in the Christian tradition, Agamben opens a speculative window onto the radically liberationist side of the `economic' Trinity. I highly recommend this book, not only as a masterpiece by one of Europe's leading political thinkers, but as an overdue reconsideration of the potentialities of Trinitarian thought, tracing its lineage deep and long in the West.
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