A New Graduate Seminar
Theological Origins of the Contemporary Critical Discourse
CEES 551. Graduate interdisciplinary seminar.
Instructor: Professor Michal Markowski (PRLS)
The central thesis of Carl Schmitt’s political theology maintains that the main concepts in the political discourse of modernity are just secularized theological notions. This approach, as valid as it is, needs a radical expansion beyond the issue of sovereignty, to which it usually is reduced.
The seminar will propose that most of the contemporary critical vocabulary was designed either as a continuation or, most often, a negation of the basic theological concepts based on Christian theology established by Saint Paul. A derivative thesis of the seminar states that without a clear understanding of that basis, not only does the Christian-based culture and literature remain incomprehensible, but also its secular counterpart keeps obscuring its origins. To come to terms with those imbrications and to enlarge the critical vocabulary of the students, the seminar will offer a close and critical reading of Paul’s texts in vernacular languages (English, Russian, German, Spanish, French, and, if necessary, Polish) with the constant reference to the classical versions adopted by different churches (Greek and Latin). The differences between Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodoxy will also be discussed.
The seminar aims to create a multicultural, multilingual critical milieu to acknowledge and discuss this part of the modern tradition that has been largely ignored or insufficiently reflected upon among modern scholars.