The Kingdom and the Glory

Why has power in the West assumed the form of an “economy,” that is, of a government of men and things? If power is essentially government, why does it need glory, that is, the ceremonial and liturgical apparatus that has always accompanied it?

The greatest novelty to emerge from The Kingdom and the Glory is that modern power is not only government but also glory, and that the ceremonial, liturgical, and acclamatory aspects that we have regarded as vestiges of the past actually constitute the basis of Western power. Through a fascinating analysis of liturgical acclamations and ceremonial symbols of power—the throne, the crown, purple cloth, the Fasces, and more—Agamben develops an original genealogy that illuminates the startling function of consent and of the media in modern democracies. With this book, the work begun with Homo Sacer reaches a decisive point, profoundly challenging and renewing our vision of politics.

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One thought on “The Kingdom and the Glory

  1. When at my Catholic university we were mandated to take a philosophy course based on our major. Thus, among many philosophy courses, I took the philosophy of science. Whatever that was.

    Now the author suggests the concept, the study, the exploration of political theology. Whoa! Awfully deep.

    What does the author suggest at this line?

    “The life that we live is only the life through which we live; only our power of acting and living.”

    What does this mean to one on the bottom rung of the latter living in a democracy? Permanence, perhaps?

    Further, I wonder whether the author has a valid thesis or is he merely stirring the coals of a long- dead firepit?

    But then perhaps the theological spark is not at all dead as we read the SCOTUS Decision today on contraception. That decision, motivated by political theology, ought to keep most lower class Americans stuck on the same rung of the latter.

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