One of the many challenges for readers of Agamben’s sprawling and heterogeneous body of work is what to make of his increasingly insistent focus on theology. Agamben’s Coming Philosophy brings together Colby Dickinson, the author of Agamben and Theology, and Adam Kotsko, the translator of several of Agamben’s more recent theologically-oriented books, to discuss Agamben’s unique approach to theology—and its profound implications for understanding Agamben’s philosophical project and the deepest political and ethical problems of our time.
The book covers the whole range of Agamben’s work, from his earliest reflections to his forthcoming magnum opus, The Use of Bodies. Along the way, the authors provide an overview of Agamben’s project as a whole, as well as incisive reflections on individual works and isolated themes. This volume is essential reading for anyone grappling with Agamben’s work. The theological starting point leads to a thorough examination of Agamben’s methodology, his relationship with his primary sources (most notably Walter Benjamin), and his relevance for questions of politics, ethics, and philosophy.
Acknowledgments / Abbreviations / Introduction, Adam Kotsko and Colby Dickinson / / Part I: Agamben as a Reader of Benjamin / 1. On the ‘Coming Philosophy’, Colby Dickinson / 2. Reading the ‘Critique of Violence’, Adam Kotsko / 3. Gestures of Text and Violence, Colby Dickinson / 4. Citing ‘Whatever’ Authority, Colby Dickinson / Part II: Futures of Political Theology / 5. Immanence as Revelation, Colby Dickinson / 6. Agamben’s Messianic Nihilism, Colby Dickinson / 7. The Divisions of Sovereignty, Colby Dickinson / 8. Perhaps Psychoanalysis?, Adam Kotsko / Part III: Methods, Economies, Theologies / 9. Genealogy and Political Theology, Adam Kotsko / 10. The ‘Absence’ of Gender, Colby Dickinson / 11. The Theology of Neoliberalism, Adam Kotsko / 12. Cur Deus Homo Sacer?, Colby Dickinson / 13. Paul and the Jewish Alternative, Adam Kotsko / 14. What is to be Done? The Endgame of the Homo Sacer Series, Adam Kotsko / 15. Conclusion: Finding a New Use for Theology, Colby Dickinson and Adam Kotsko / Bibliography / Index
Colby Dickinson is assistant professor of theology at Loyola University, Chicago. He is the author of Agamben and Theology (2011) and Between the Canon and the Messiah (2013), as well as numerous articles on contemporary continental philosophy and theology. He is editor of The Postmodern ‘Saints’ of France (2013) and The Shaping of Tradition: Context and Normativity (2013).
Adam Kotsko is assistant professor of humanities at Shimer College, Chicago. He is the author of Žižek and Theology (2008), Politics of Redemption (2010), and Why We Love Sociopaths: A Guide to Late Capitalist Television (2012). He is the translator of Agamben’s The Sacrament of Language (2010), The Highest Poverty (2013), Opus Dei (2013), Pilate and Jesus (forthcoming) and The Use of Bodies (forthcoming). He blogs at An und für sich (itself.wordpress.com).
It is only through [the] theological dimension that we can discern the radical emancipatory project which sustains Agamben’s work. For this reason, Dickinson’s and Kotsko’s book is indispensable for everyone who wants not only to understand where we are today, but also to discern the possibilities for breaking out of our impasses. In short, their book is simply a book for everyone – for everyone who is ready to think.
I read Colby Dickinson and Adam Kotsko’s unprecedented book as a masterly constructed musical fugue, in which two different voices dialogue and alternate, not only throwing an entirely new light on my work, but also exploring in their adagios and crescendos a new possible use for both philosophy and theology.