On political theology: A controversy between Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt - FAKKIR

On political theology: A controversy between Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt

FAKKIR.XYZ | JURNAL – This article pays special attention to the large number of references to political theology by Hans Kelsen and Carl Schmitt, particularly in the interwar period, and seeks to interpret these references in a new way. While Schmitt’s analogies between God and state are to be expected considering his strong Catholic roots, such comparisons are much more surprising for a positivist like Hans Kelsen, who always tried to relieve state and law from transcendental elements. The article concludes that, far from being marginal in the doctrinal dispute between Schmitt and Kelsen, references to political theology express and summarize their
major controversy about the relation between state and law, as well as about the sources of the state’s unity. The heart of the disputatio between the two jurists concerned the ability of the political power to emancipate itself from the juridical order. The ‘legal miracle’—in this context meaning the occasional autonomization of the state from law—was for Schmitt the manifestation of sovereign power. However, for Kelsen it represented the negation of the state’s essence, whose actions must be determined only by the legal order.

 

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