Tuesday, 25 March 2008

O Roma felice! O Roma nobile!

I have only three things to say about this conference: Oh. My. God.

To get you in the mood, here’s a stirring passage from Giorgio Agamben: “The Pauline decomposition of messianic presence is similar to the one in Kafka’s extraordinary theologoumenon, in which the Messiah does not come on the day of his arrival, but only on the day after; not on the last day but on the very last day…. I found a perfect parallel in an Islamic text that reads, ‘My coming and the hour are so close to one another that the hour of my coming risks arriving before me.’ The Messiah has already arrived, the messianic event has already happened, but its presence contains within itself another time, which stretches its parousia, not in order to defer it, but, on the contrary, to make it graspable. For this reason, each instant may be, to use [Walter] Benjamin’s words, the ‘small door through which the Messiah enters’.” (Agamben, The Time That Remains, p. 71)

And – I can’t help myself – here’s a passage from Jacob Taubes: “I contend that this concept of nihilism, as developed here by Benjamin, is the guiding thread also of the hos me in Corinthians and Romans. The world decays, the morphe of this world has passed. Here, the relationship to the world is, as the young Benjamin understands it, world politics as nihilism. And that is something that Nietzsche understood, that behind all this there is a profound nihilism at work, that it is at work as world politics, toward the destruction of the Roman Empire. This is why you can’t make Lutheran deals with Romans 13, unless you give up the entire frame.” (Taubes, The Political Theology of Paul, p. 72.)

14 Comments:

byron smith said...

O happy day!

Now all I need is a few thousand dollars to get there...

Troy Polidori said...

If ever the Babel experiment was to work...

Apolonio said...

Holy !@#$. That's an awesome lineup.

dan said...

Yeah, I've had my eyes on that conference for about a week now. So, I've come up with an idea -- remember, Ben, how you've sometimes done fundraising, or engaged in gift-giving, for people on this blog? Well, I reckon it's about time you did this again. So, why not raise funds for me to attend this conference (with my wife, of course)?

I'll be waiting for the cheque in the mail.

;)

kim fabricius said...

From the title (large print) - and the architecture? - I thought your "Oh. My. God.", Ben, was taking the piss (I was looking yesterday at Goya's "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters"). Then I looked at the lineup ...

Ben Myers said...

Yes, it's quite a lineup. I'll bet you five bucks even the Pope will make an appearance. (Admittedly, Benedict is not quite as famous as some of the keynote speakers, but nonetheless...)

scott said...

There goes my research travel money.

Derek said...

Kim,

I did the same thing.

Ben,

Next time you find such a great conference line-up, use the acronym "omg" instead of saying the actual words. This is how my middle school students use the phrase, so that would best capture the adolescent-like joy at such a wonderful conference.

Anonymous said...

Troy's comment is spot on.

It could be said that the giant (phallic) image on the publicity brochure is a tower of babel (babble). Not altogether unlike those twin towers in New York. And therefore expressive of the same power and control motive.

That bright shiny and hard-edged image which only reflects the light. And which has nothing whatsoever to do with the timeless "symbol" of spontaneously appearing fragile Beauty. Namely a flower.

All the big time babblers of big religion will be there.

Eric Lee said...

Since the sculpture was mentioned (albeit crudely):

If anybody is interested in the artist behind the sculpture in the conference poster, here is a link to her site's statement of work.

James K.A. Smith said...

I find the rationale of this conference, er, 'intriguing.' I wouldn't go to the mat on this, but I think this represents the crystallization of a certain 'turn' (Kehre!) in Milbank's thought (not to say that the COTP is just Milbank's workshop). By that I mean that I think it's pretty hard to square this account of reason's univeralism with the way Milbank talked in _Theology and Social Theory_. In TST, I think Milbank is much closer to Hauerwas (I'm trying to imagine how Stanley will speak to the rationale outlined for the conference--_With the Grain of the Universe_ gives us a hint, I guess). After TST, particularly from _Being Reconciled_ onward, one finds a great distance from something like Hauerwas' project--and something closer to a "Catholic" (albeit nouvelle theologie) confidence in 'natural' reason. Perhaps Islam is the push here. But I've just found it interesting to track this development, and the conference sort of confirms the trajectory it seems to me. But I could be misreading this.

Dave Belcher said...

Jamie,

I remember you already arguing something along these lines a couple of years ago at the AAR (I think it was in San Antonio), but Milbank was unable to attend (meeting with the pope or something) and Boersma took on Milbank's prosopon, so to speak...has Milbank ever (in)formally addressed your case?

peace...and I agree with your findings that this is a turn...I think it is latent in the early work but he need not have taken it in this particular direction.

Anthony Paul Smith said...

Smith,

Yeah, I see a similar change and I'm worried it is reaction to "Islam" (though I'm very unhappy with the understanding of Islam that the Nottingham Rad Ox crew works from). This is just hearsay, since it was amongst a conversation and I'm not sure he will hold to this position ultimately, but he has even gone so far as to claim that the problem with Islam is that it doesn't allow for the secular.

It should be interesting to see how people respond to the conference precis, considering it is quite manifesto and not seemingly open to differences (which, obviously, if Agamben and Zizek, who are quite different from one another, are speaking there it must be).

d. w. horstkoetter said...

o.O


I can't even think of anything witty to say, I just want to go. If only research travel money would kick in before this, instead of after.

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