The Devil in Politics

Convenors: Ana PETRACHE and Laurențiu GHEORGHE

Why is politics defined as a transaction with the Devil? Does this definition assume a justification of evil, a useful metaphor or an export of responsibility? Is the political struggle built on the Schmittian distinction between friend-foe or dose the diazotization of the enemy serve as a legitimation tool? Is speaking about the devil a secularization of the theological concept of evil, designed to simplify the political discourse, or is it something in the political experience so strange and so deep that it needs to be justified by a mythological figure? What is the relationship between violence, political order and evil?
In the public space, there are a lot of religious and non-religious eschatological expectations. Nowadays one can find more apocalyptical references in newspapers that in the church’s sermons. When the devil is not in the church anymore, he finds his place in the political realm. Reflecting upon the political usage of the notion of devil implies paying attention to the theological usages of a very controversial notion.
We invite you to a common reflection about the role and meaning of the devil, concerning how it was understood in Christianity and Islam, but most importantly, how this notion is used when one speaks about evil in politics: totalitarian regimes, terrorist attacks or disproportionate usage of violence.

First meeting – 6 April, 18.30. The seminar will take place on alternate Thursdays. 

1. The Antichrist – 20 April
Vladimir Soloviov, Povestiri despre Antihrist, Humanitas, 1992.
Denis De Rougemont, and Mircea Ivănescu. Partea diavolului. Anastasia, 1994.
Dostoievski, F. “Demonii, Editura Cartea Românească, Bucureşti , 1962.
Leszek Kolakowski, « Politica si diavolul», in Modernitatea sub un neobosit colimatoriu; Curtea Veche, 2007, p.251-276

2. Eschatological narratives and political discourses – 4 May
BAUCKHAM, R., MOLTMANN,(1999) God Will Be All in All, The Eschatology of Jurgen Moltmann, T&T Clark, 1999, pp 265-291.
Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Dacă Dumnezeu ar fi un activist pentru drepturile omului, Idea, 2016.

3. The schimittian distinction friend -foe – 18 May
Carl Schmitt, The concept of the political: Expanded edition. University of Chicago Press, 2008.
Carl Schmitt, Political theology: Four chapters on the concept of sovereignty. University of Chicago Press, 1985.

4. The truth as a tool to the Lie – 8 June
Herman, Edward S., and Noam Chomsky. Manufacturing consent: The political economy of the mass media. Random House, 2010.
Giovanni Sartori, and Mihai Elin. Homo videns: imbecilizarea prin televiziune şi post-gândirea. Humanitas, 2005.
Rorty, R, « Prioritatea democraţiei în raport cu filosofia» in Rorty, R. Obiectivitate, Relativism şi Adevăr. Eseuri filosofice 1. Editura Univers, Bucureşti, 2001.

5. The totalitarian regime as turning away altruism – 22 June
Arendt, Hannah, Ion Dur, and Mircea Ivănescu. Originile totalitarismului. Humanitas, 2006.
Baehr, Peter, and Gordon C. Wells. “Debating totalitarianism: an exchange of letters between Hannah Arendt and Eric Voegelin.” History and Theory 51.3 (2012): 364-380.
Alain Besançon, Les origines intellectuelles du léninisme. Calmann-Lévy, 1994.

6. The legend of the grand inquisitor – 6 July
Marele Inchizitor, Dostoievski și noi, Polirom, 1997.
Théodore Paléologue, Sous l’oeil du grand inquisiteur: Carl Schmitt et l’héritage de la théologie politique. Cerf, 2004.

7. Hobbes’s Political Theology – 20 July
Hobbes, Thomas, and Michael Oakeshott. Leviathan. Edited with an Introduction by Michael Oakeshott. 1946 , Thrid Part, On Christian Commonwealth.
Schmitt, Carl, and George Schwab. The Leviathan in the state theory of Thomas Hobbes: meaning and failure of a political symbol. University of Chicago Press, 2008.
Yves Charles Zarka. La décision métaphysique de Hobbes : conditions de la politique. Vol. 1. Vrin, 1987.
Palaver Wolfgang Hobbes and the kathechon, the secularization of sacrificial christianity, Contagion: Journal of Violence, Mimesis and Culture, vol 2, spring 1995, pp 57-74.

8. The devil in Islam, influence concerning political theologies – 3 August
Cook, David. Contemporary Muslim apocalyptic literature. Syracuse University Press, 2008.

9. Divine justice and terrorisme – 17 August
Bruce Lincoln, Holy terrors: Thinking about religion after September 11. University of Chicago Press, 2010.
Olivier Roy, La Sainte Ignorance. Le temps de la religion sans culture, Seuil, 2008.

10. Theodicey and theology of history – 31 August
Augustine, Saint, and Marcus Dods. The city of God. Hendrickson Publishers, 2008.
De Lubac, Henri. “Augustinisme politique?.” Théologies d’occasion (1984): 255-308.
Arquilliére, H. X. “L’augustinisme politique 2é. éd.” Vrin. Paris (1972): 71-94.