Palintropos Harmoniê: Jacob Taubes and Carl Schmitt “im liebenden Streit” Bruce Rosenstock Jacob Taubes (1923–87) is perhaps most widely known today for his lectures on Paul’s Letter to the Romans. These lectures, delivered one month before Taubes’s death, were transcribed and published under the title Die politische Theologie des Paulus (The Political Theology of Paul).1 Besides the title’s allusion to the 1922 essay Politische Theologie 2 by Carl Schmitt (1888–1985),3 there are quite a number of direct invocations of Schmitt in that work. By the time of the lectures, Taubes had visited Schmitt at his home in Plettenberg three times.4 Their discussions had covered much of the same material that 1. Jacob Taubes, Die politische Theologie des Paulus, ed. Aleida Assmann, Jan Assmann, et al. (Munich: Fink, 1993); The Political Theology of Paul, trans. Dana Hollander (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004). All references are to the translation, hereafter cited as PTP. 2. Carl Schmitt, Politische Theologie: Vier Kapitel zur Lehre der Souveränität, 2nd ed. (Munich: Duncker und Humblot, 1934). Hereafter cited as PT. 3. The literature on Carl Schmitt is extensive. A selective bibliography of recent publications (since 2007) is maintained at the Carl-Schmitt-Gesellschaft (www.carl-schmitt.de/neueste_vero effentlichungen.php). Reinhard Mehring, Carl Schmitt: Aufstieg und Fall (Munich: Beck, 2009), offers a full and insightful intellectual biography of Schmitt. A briefer introduction to the development of Schmitt’s thought is provided in Lutz Niethammer, “Die polemische Anstrengung des Begriffs: Über die exemplarische Faszination Carl Schmitts,” in Nationalsozialismus in den Kultur wissenschaften, ed. Hartmut Lehmann and Otto Gerhard Oexle, 2 vols. (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 2004), 2:41–82. 4. His visits took place in early September 1978, then on November 23, 1978, and finally in February 1980. See the “Zeittafel” in Herbert Kopp-Oberstebrink, Thorsten Palzhoff, and Martin Treml, New German Critique 121, Vol. 41, No. 1, Winter 2014 DOI 10.1215/0094033X-2398633 © 2014 by New German Critique, Inc.
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Taubes later treated in his lectures on Paul. Taubes relates that in one of their meetings he and Schmitt studied together, line by line, chapters 11–13 of Romans (PTP, 51). In chapter 11 Paul introduces what he calls the “mystery” (mystêrion) of God’s “hardening the heart” of the Jewish people against the gospel (Romans 11:25). Taubes drew Schmitt’s attention to the verse in which this mystery is most concisely expressed: “In respect of the gospel, they [the Jews] are enemies for your sake; but in respect of chosenness, they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers” (Romans 11:28; trans. mine). Taubes wanted to show Schmitt that when it came to Paul’s description of the relationship between God and the Jewish people, Schmitt’s friend-enemy distinction reaches not only its greatest intensity but also its greatest complexity.5 For if the friend-enemy distinction defines the “concept of the political,” as Schmitt had claimed,6 then here, in this one verse in Romans 11, we encounter the site where the political and the theological cross. In a letter to Schmitt just after his first visit to Plettenberg, Taubes prepared the ground for their discussion about Romans. He writes: “Vielleicht kommt noch der Moment, wo wir über die mir jüdisch wie christlich bedeutsamste politische Theologie Römer XI sprechen können. Dort fällt das Wort ‘Feind’ und zwar im absoluten Sinn, aber, das scheint mir der springendste aller Springpunkte, verstrebt mit ‘geliebt’” (Perhaps the moment will yet arrive when we can speak about what I take to be the most significant Jewish as well as Christian political theology in Romans 11. The word enemy occurs there, and indeed in its absolute sense, but, and this seems to me to be the most crucial of all crucial points, it is undergirded with beloved) (JT-CS, 61; letter 15, September 18, 1978). Besides containing the crux of Jewish and Christian political theology, Romans also announces an apocalyptic “time of emergency” (kairos,7 13:11) stretching between the resureds., Jacob Taubes—Carl Schmitt: Briefwechsel mit Materialen (Munich: Fink, 2012), 305–11. Hereafter cited as JT-CS. 5. In “Paulinische Feindschaft,” his essay in JT-CS about the Taubes-Schmitt correspondence, Martin Treml draws attention to the complex friend-enemy identity of the Jewish people for Paul in Romans 11:28: “Feinde und Freunde/Geliebte sind hier nicht nur durch den Blickwinkel unterschieden, sondern in ihrer heilsgeschichtlicher Funktion. Keine dieser beiden Gemeinschaften ist jedoch verloren, ‘denn Gottes Gaben und Berufung können ihn nicht gereuen’ (11,29)” (Enemies and friends/ beloved are here not only distinguished as perspectives, but in relation to their function in salvation history. But neither of these two communities [Israel “of the flesh,” “spiritual” Israel “from the gentiles”] is lost, since “God cannot repent himself of his gifts and election” (11,29)) (JT-CS, 297). 6. “Die spezifisch politische Unterscheidung, auf welche sich die politischen Handlungen und Motive zurückführen lassen, ist die Unterscheidung von Freund und Feind.” Carl Schmitt, Der Begriff des Politischen, 2nd ed. (Munich: Duncker und Humblot, 1932), 26. 7. One of the base meanings of kairos given by the Liddel-Scott Greek-English dictionary is “critical time.”
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rection of Christ and the end-time ingathering of the “fullness of the gentiles” (11:25), at which point “all Israel will be saved” (11:26). In this kairotic time of emergency, the chosen people become the people of the exception, neither entirely inside nor outside the covenant.8 Adopting the term katechontic 9 from Schmitt as a way to refer to history stretched between the death of Christ and the eschaton, Taubes informs Schmitt in another letter from 1978, just a couple of months before his first visit to Plettenberg, that “I’ve been thinking a lot about the ‘katechontic’ form of existence, since here also is where the Mysterium Judaicum belongs” (JT-CS, 57; letter 14, July 8, 1978). The Mysterium Judaicum—the Pauline mystêrion concerning the friend-enemy role of the Jewish people during the kairos—thus figures as “der springendenste aller Springpunkte” (the most crucial point of all) in Taubes’s engagement with both Paul and Schmitt on the ground of political theology. This essay focuses on Taubes’s decades-long engagement with Schmitt, an engagement that Taubes, only days before his death, characterized as one of “liebender Streit” (loving strife). I begin by outlining Taubes’s reflections on Schmitt’s political theology, using Taubes’s early letters to his friend Armin Mohler (1952) together with Taubes’s posthumously published text on Schmitt, Ad Carl Schmitt (1987), as my two points of reference. I then examine the “loving strife” between Taubes and Schmitt, turning to Taubes’s earliest and perhaps most definitive statement about the kairotic nature of Western history, his Abendländische Eschatologie.10 I explicate what I call the celestial 8. Schmitt had argued that the sovereign decision about a “time of emergency” (Ausnahmezustand) is the political correlative of the theological notion of the miracle because the decision and the miracle are revelatory of sovereign power’s fundamentally supralegal nature: “Der Ausnahmezustand hat für die Jurisprudenz eine analoge Bedeutung wie das Wunder für die Theologie” (The time of emergency has an analogous meaning in jurisprudence to miracle in theology) (PT, 43). While Schmitt never explicitly said that the “miracle” of the Incarnation inaugurated an ongoing “time of emergency,” he comes close to making this point in his essay “Drei Stufen historischen Sinngebung”: “Die Christenheit ist in ihrem Wesenskern keine Moral und keine Doktrin, keine Bußpredigt und keine Religion im Sinne der vergleichenden Religionswissenschaft, sondern ein geschichtliches Ereignis von unendlichen, unbesitzbarer, unokkupierbarer Einmaligkeit. Es ist der Inkarnation in der Jungfrau” (Christianity is in its essential core neither a morality, nor a doctrine, nor a call for repentance, nor a religion in the sense of the science of comparative religions, but a historical event of unending, unmasterable, unconquerable uniqueness. It is the Incarnation in the Virgin) (“Drei Stufen historischen Sinngebung,” Universitas: Zeitschrift für Wissenschaft, Kunst und Literatur 8 : 930). Taubes wants to show Schmitt that Paul, properly read, links the meaning of the “historical event” of the Incarnation for the gentiles to the “mystery” of the Jewish people. 9. I discuss Schmitt’s use of the notion of the Katechon, “Restrainer,” below. 10. Jacob Taubes, Abendländische Eschatologie (Bern: Francke, 1947); Occidental Eschatol ogy, trans. Dana Hollander (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009). All references are to the translation, hereafter cited as OE.
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mechanics of the apocalypse in which the two men embody opposing but inseparable revolutionary force vectors, one retarding and the other accelerating the “time it takes time to end” in Giorgio Agamben’s felicitous formula for capturing the uncanny temporality of the Pauline kairos.11 I conclude by discussing the intertwined positions of Taubes and Schmitt in light of Paul’s understanding of the kairos as the working out of the historical polarity dividing Rome and Israel. Only a few extended treatments of Taubes’s engagement with Schmitt exist, and this essay cannot do justice to all its aspects.12 Indeed, if all I manage to do is complicate the topic, I will perhaps have achieved all I can within these confines. Taubes’s engagement with Schmitt via Paul’s notion of the Mysterium Judaicum goes back to 1952. In a letter written in that year to Mohler, Taubes says that “Judaism ‘is’ pol[itical] theology—that is its cross.” In this letter, Taubes also tells Mohler that his most significant intellectual engagement at that time was with the work of Carl Schmitt (“neben [besides] Heidegger,” he adds parenthetically). Taubes speaks of his disappointment with Schmitt’s Der Nomos der Erde (The Nomos of the Earth)13 because of its failure to confront the “concentration camps and the gas chambers” even though it claimed to deal with the new postwar situation confronting humanity. Taubes concludes the letter by telling Mohler that, in reflecting on how Judaism “is” political theology, he is drawn “immer wieder—gegen meinen ‘Willen’— zu Paulus” (again and again—against my “will”—to Paul).14 Taubes’s decadeslong engagement with Schmitt is part and parcel of his effort, as he puts it in the same letter to Mohler, to understand what it means to “live in a decisive sense post Christum” (im entscheidenden Sinne post Christum leben) 11. Giorgio Agamben, The Time That Remains: A Commentary on the Letter to the Romans, trans. Patricia Dailey (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2005), 67. 12. Besides Treml, “Paulinische Feindschaft,” the most notable discussion of the Taubes-Schmitt engagement is Reinhard Mehring, “Karl Löwith, Carl Schmitt, Jacob Taubes, und ‘das Ende der Geschichte,’” Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte 48, no. 3 (1996): 231–48. See also Johannes Reipen, “‘Gegenstrebige Fügung’!?: Jacob Taubes ad Carl Schmitt,” in Abendländische Eschatologie: Ad Jacob Taubes, ed. Richard Faber, Eveline Goodman-Thau, and Thomas Macho (Würzburg: Königshausen und Neumann, 2001), 509–30. There is a suggestive treatment of the complicated interrelationship between “Apokalyptik” (Taubes) and “Katechontik” (Schmitt) in Jürgen Ebach, “Zeit als Frist: Zur Lektüre der Apokalypse-Abschnitte in der Abendländische Eschatologie,” in Abendländische Eschatologie: Ad Jacob Taubes, 75–92. 13. Carl Schmitt, Der Nomos der Erde im Völkerrecht des Jus Publicum Europaeum (Cologne: Greven, 1950). 14. Taubes’s letter to Armin Mohler was first published in Jacob Taubes, Ad Carl Schmitt: Gegenstrebige Fügung (Berlin: Merve, 1987), 31–35. Hereafter cited as ACS. It is also found in JT-CS, 130–33. For the English translation, see PTP, 107–10.
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(JT-CS, 132).15 To live “in a decisive sense post Christum” is to live after the Romans’ execution of Jesus, when Israel and Rome enter into an apocalyptic contest over the “fate of humanity” (Schicksal des Menschen), as Taubes puts it in his letter to Mohler (JT-CS, 131). Taubes suggests that this post-Christum contest is a contest between the “Nomos Christi” (law of Christ) and Roman imperial law. The contest, as Taubes goes on to explain, is between apocalyp tic love (the agape announced in the entolê kainê, “new commandment,” of the Gospel of John [13:34]) and “the total dominion of violence” (die totale Gewaltherrschaft) (JT-CS, 131). Thirty-five years later, in PTP, Taubes (speaking for/as Paul in Romans) makes the same point: “It isn’t nomos but rather the one who is nailed to the cross by nomos who is the imperator!” (PTP, 24). The conflict between the Nomos Christi and the imperial nomos of Rome (that Taubes identifies as what really lies behind Schmitt’s allegedly new “Nomos der Erde”) is what Taubes seeks not only to think about but, more importantly, to live decisively, in what he describes, just days before his death, as his decades-long “liebender Streit” (loving strife) with Schmitt.16 To better 15. It is not entirely clear to me why Taubes emphasizes live. Immediately before he speaks of living in a decisive sense post-Christum, he told Mohler that the questions confronting humanity in his day were as follows: “In the absence of divine right, must the West be drowned in blood and madness?” and “What does right [Recht] look like given that atheism is our destiny?” Taubes then says that in confronting these questions “the present situation is much more difficult than the one at the turn of the Christian era [Zeitenwende] because we, despite the boom on religion’s stock exchange (nothing more than reactionary self-righteousness!), live in the decisive sense post Christum.” Earlier in the letter, Taubes had referred to and concurred with Schmitt’s claim in Nomos der Erde that there is a deep parallel between the present moment and the beginning of the Christian era (Zeitwende). Somehow, those who today live post-Christum are in a more difficult situation than Paul’s contemporaries. It is possible that Taubes, when he emphasizes live, means that the present generation, unlike the first generation of Christ-believers, no longer believes that its life span will soon be cut short with the Second Coming. The question about right then arises: did the innocent Christ have no right on his side, or was his execution justified because he seemed to threaten Roman and Jewish authority? Is murder justified if it protects the stability of the state? Or, as Taubes puts it, “In the absence of divine right, must the West be drowned in blood and madness?” This at least is how I would construe Taubes’s meaning: to live post-Christum is to live in the era when divine justice seems permanently delayed, if not entirely absent. 16. I am not claiming that Schmitt was the only thinker with whom Taubes critically engaged in his efforts to come to grips with Paul’s messianism. Taubes developed his notion of the Mysterium Judaicum thinking about Paul not only in relation to Schmitt’s notion of the “katechontic form of existence” but also in relation to Gershom Scholem’s notion that the “price” of Jewish messianism was “a life lived in deferment [Aufschub].” In “The Price of Messianism,” Taubes argues for the importance of the Pauline interiorization of the messianic idea that calls all established law (nomos/Torah) into question, without attempting to realize its antinomian critique in a new historical order or “utopia” through concrete political action. Both Paul’s new “Roman” community of interiorized messianists and the Torah-observing Jews who are the gospel’s “enemies for the sake of the gentiles” can be said to “live in
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understand the general outline of Taubes’s engagement with Schmitt’s political theology, we may perhaps most aptly take our bearings from the phrase “liebender Streit” itself. The story behind this phrase leads us from Martin Heidegger to Heraclitus and back to Taubes’s and Schmitt’s “gegenstrebige Fügung” (counterstriving jointure) of opposed revolutionary forces maintaining the kairos, the “time it takes time to end.” deferment”; that is, they have a “katechontic form of existence” in common. We can say that Taubes himself, not a Torah-observant Jew, interiorizes the messianic idea but not the specific reference of that idea to any single historical figure, whether it be Jesus, Bar Kochbar, or Sabbatai Zvi, since it is the failure of the historical figure that precipitates the interiorization in the first place. Since Taubes wrote his essay “The Price of Messianism” around 1981, it may well be that thinking about Schmitt’s “katechontic form of existence” led him to see how it could be deployed to criticize Scholem’s “life lived in deferment.” For Taubes’s discussion of Scholem, see Taubes, “The Price of Messianism,” in From Cult to Culture: Fragments toward a Critique of Historical Reason, ed. Charlotte E. Fonrobert and Amir Engel (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press), 3–9. Hereafter cited as FCC. Taubes’s criticism of what he claimed was Scholem’s oversimplified dichotomization of Christian interiorized messianism and Jewish history-focused messianism is also found in Taubes, “Walter Benjamin—ein moderner Marcionit? Scholem’s Benjamin-Interpretation religiongeschichtlich überprüft,” in Antike und Moderne: Zu Walter Benjamin’s “Passage,” ed. Norbert Bolz and Richard Faber (Würzburg: Königshausen + Neumann, 1986), 138–47. The article is republished in Taubes, Der Preis des Mes sianismus: Briefe von Jacob Taubes an Gerschom Scholem und andere Materialen, ed. Elettra Stimilli, trans. Astrida Ment (Würzburg: Königshausen + Neumann, 2006), 53–66. Elettra Stimilli draws attention to Taubes’s letter to Schmitt in which Taubes speaks of the “katechontic form of existence” as a part of the “Mysterium Judaicum.” Stimilli connects this reference to Taubes’s criticism of Scholem’s “life in deferment” as the “price of messianism.” See Stimilli, “Der Messianismus als politisches Problem,” in Taubes, Der Preis des Messianismus, 131–79, esp. 155–64. In addition to Scholem, Taubes also develops his thinking about Paul and the Mysterium Judaicum in response to Martin Buber’s criticism of the Pauline theology of history in which, according to Buber, the prophetic call to actively participate in the unfolding of the messianic future is turned into the requirement to passively assent to a dogma, turning emunah (trust in Hebrew) into pistis (belief in Greek). Taubes counters that Paul, and indeed Deutero-Isaiah before him, calls for an intensification of messianism in the face of the failure of the messianic mission of God’s servant. This intensification results, for Deutero-Isaiah and Paul, in an “encystment” of messianism not into dogmatic mystery but into a powerful tension with all the apparent “successful” powers of the world. See Taubes, “Martin Buber and the Philosophy of History,” in FCC, 10–27. What makes Schmitt so important for Taubes is that Schmitt, in contrast to Scholem and Buber, resists all forms of “neutralizing” history as nothing more than a product of human power struggles without any relation to eschatology. Both Scholem and Buber want to establish a sharp dividing line between messianism and the political forces that shape history. They both believe that, for the Jewish people at least, the intrusion of messianic fervor into history spells disaster. Taubes criticizes both Scholem and Buber for failing to see that messianism can never exist in a sphere separate from politics, but that messianism is an ever-intensifying protest against the failure of politics (nomos) to be the site of redemption. This leads to antinomian messianic revolution, and also to counterrevolutionary apocalypticism. Taubes thus understands himself to be closer in spirit to Schmitt, who rejected any attempt to “neutralize” history’s eschatological dimension, than to either Scholem or Buber. For a more detailed examination of Taubes’s critique of Scholem, see Thomas Macho, “Der intellektuelle Bruch zwischen Gershom Scholem und Jacob Taubes: Zur Frage nach der Preis des Messianismus,” in Faber et al., Abendländische Eschatologie: Ad Jacob Taubes, 532–44.
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At around the same time as his lectures on Paul, Taubes gave his approval for a small volume collecting his writings about Schmitt to Peter Gente, editor of the Merve publishing house. The collection was posthumously published as Ad Carl Schmitt: Gegenstrebige Fügung (Ad Carl Schmitt: Counterstriving Jointure; ACS).17 Taubes gave Gente the following brief instructions about how to title the collection: “Nennen Sie es: mit Carl Schmitt im liebenden Streit oder so ähnlich; das ist von Heraklit, das müssen Sie noch genau nachsehen” (Title it: with Carl Schmitt in loving strife or something to that effect; it’s from Heraclitus, you have to find the exact wording) (ACS, 79–80). The phrase, however, is not, at least in so many words, found in Heraclitus. It actually comes from the first strophe of Heimkunft: an die Verwandten (Homecoming: for the kindred ) by Friedrich Hölderlin (1770–1843). It happens that this is the first poem discussed by Heidegger in his 1944 Erläuterungen zu Hölderlins Dichtung (Elucidations of Hölderlin’s Poetry).18 Heidegger never directly discusses the phrase “liebender Streit” in this book, but he does quote it, without giving its source, in his Brief über den Humanismus (Letter concerning Humanism).19 Heidegger’s Humanismusbrief is a text that Taubes explicitly references in the same 1952 letter to Mohler that criticizes Schmitt’s Der Nomos der Erde (JT-CS, 132). In the Humanismusbrief Heidegger speaks about the nature of authentic disputes in the history of thinking. He says that “alles Widerlegen im Felde des wesentliches Denkens ist töricht” (all contradiction in the field of real thinking is foolish). He then adds: “Der Streit zwischen den Denkern ist ‘der liebende Streit’ der Sache selbst” (Strife between thinkers is the “loving strife” within the subject matter itself) (Humanismus brief, 24).20 It is clear, therefore, that Taubes is indebted to Heidegger for the 17. See n. 14. 18. For the Hölderlin poem, see Friedrich Hölderlin, Sämtliche Werke und Briefe, ed. Jochen Schmidt, 3 vols. (Berlin: Deutscher Klassiker Verlag, 1992), 1:291–95. For Heidegger’s extensive discussion of the poem, see Martin Heidegger, Erläuterungen zu Hölderlins Dichtung (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1944); Elucidations of Hölderlin’s Poetry, trans. Keith Hoeller (Amherst, NY: Humanity, 2000). Heidegger does refer to Heraclitus in the Hölderlin book, but not in relation to the phrase “liebender Streit.” 19. Martin Heidegger, Brief über den Humanismus (Frankfurt am Main: Klostermann, 1947). 20. For the letter, see JT-CS, 137–38, with the editors’ note on the phrase “liebender Streit” on 139. In another letter to Mohler, also from 1952, Taubes in fact says that his relationship to Heidegger was one of “Gegenseitigkeit ‘im liebenden Streit’” (opposition “in loving strife”). Taubes was working at the time on his essay “The Development of the Ontological Question in Recent German Philosophy,” Review of Metaphysics 6, no. 4 (1953): 651–64. The essay’s final lines perhaps indicate why Taubes will part with Heidegger and find in Schmitt his partner “in loving strife.” The essay concludes with this summary of Heidegger’s philosophical project: “The ontological question [of Aristotle about the nature of being] and the critical question [of Kant about our knowledge of being]
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phrase “loving strife.” Perhaps Taubes simply took it for granted that Heidegger found the phrase in his cherished pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus. The phrase certainly has a Heraclitean aura. Heraclitus was known for his enigmatic way of juxtaposing terms that were apparently opposed to one another. But what led Taubes, just before his death, to choose this phrase to characterize his relationship to Schmitt was most likely not merely his appreciation of its enigmatic, Heraclitean aura. He likely recalled the context of the phase in Heidegger’s Humanismusbrief. Taubes would have understood that his “loving strife” with Schmitt, insofar as it arises from their “authentic thinking” (wesentliches Denken), brings to expression the “loving strife” in the very subject of their strife, in “die Sache selbst.” And that is, as I have shown, nothing other than the loving strife at the heart of the eschatological conflict during the post-Christum kairos between apocalyptic love and the total dominion of violence, between Israel and Rome, or, most simply put, between “love” and “strife.” And at the center (the “most crucial of all crucial points”) is the Mysterium Judaicum, the loving strife embodied in God’s relation to the Jewish people as both “enemy” and “beloved.” For Taubes to “live decisively” postChristum thus requires that he position himself squarely within the heart of “loving strife,” and he does this by entering into “loving strife” with Schmitt, the defender of the new katechontic Nomos of the Earth. Although Taubes’s choice of the phrase “loving strife” to describe his relationship with Schmitt seems to connect more with Heidegger’s use of it in the Humanismusbrief than with its alleged appearance in Heraclitus, it is none theless worthwhile to follow the story of the phrase to its conclusion. Gente decided that the Greek phrase in Heraclitus that seemed to best match the meaning of “liebender Streit” was palintropos harmoniê. In the standard collection of the fragments of the pre-Socratics assembled by the German classicist Hermann Diels and later reworked by Walther Kranz,21 Heraclitus’s phrase palintropos harmoniê in fragment 51 is translated as “gegenstrebige Vereinigung” (counterstriving conjunction), although in fragment 54 harmoniê, in another context, is translated as “Fügung” (jointure). Thus we get the subtitle are identical and reduce to man (homo absconditus) as the source of all questions. But is man his own source? To this question Heidegger fails to give an answer” (644). In other words, Taubes believes that Heidegger’s attempt to show that “theological concepts are . . . neutral categories describing the human condition” (662) is not as profound a form of questioning of the human as that of Schmitt, for whom theological concepts are irreducible to secular ones. 21. Hermann Diels and Walther Kranz, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, 7th ed., 2 vols. (BerlinCharlottenburg: Wiedmannsche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1954).
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to the collection of essays in Ad Carl Schmitt: Counterstriving Jointure.22 As it turns out, the Heraclitean phrase palintropos harmoniê was quite felicitously chosen by Gente as the best rendering for “liebender Streit.” But before I can show why this is the case, I need to introduce the critical notion of the Galgen frist (time of reprieve) that Taubes claims is at the heart of his and Schmitt’s experience of history. The Galgenfrist is one and the same as the Pauline kai ros, the “time it takes time to end.” Time’s delayed ending in the Galgenfrist reveals the “counterstriving jointure” of forces at work within the revolutionary and counterrevolutionary movements that define historical time. The most extended discussion of Schmitt in Ad Carl Schmitt is the essay “Carl Schmitt: Ein Apokalyptiker der Gegenrevolution” (“Carl Schmitt: An Apocalypticist of the Counterrevolution”).23 The essay was originally delivered as a lecture following Schmitt’s death on April 7, 1985. In his lecture Taubes states that both he and Schmitt share “that experience of time and history as deferral, as a time of reprieve” (jene Erfahrung von Zeit und Geschichte als Frist, als Galgenfrist). This common experience of time, Taubes says, is “a Christian experience of history” (eine christliche Erfahrung der Geschichte).24 22. The back cover of ACS takes the translation of the Heraclitus fragment it quotes directly from the translation in Diels and Kranz, but it changes Vereinigung to Fügung. Above the quotation it places, in Hebrew, the opening of Proverbs 27:6, “Faithful are the wounds of a lover.” The Hebrew phrase also appears in a letter (no. 15, September 18, 1979) of Taubes to Schmitt, describing Erik Peterson’s attempt in Der Monotheismus als politisches Problem: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der politischen Theologie im Imperium Romanum (Leipzig: Hegner, 1935) to “wound” Schmitt but also to warn him as a friend of the danger of his close association with Adolf Hitler. “Sie haben keinen besseren Freund als Peterson gehabt” (You have had no better friend than Peterson), Taubes tells Schmitt, then quotes the “Psalmist.” For the letter, see JT-CS, 59, with the editors’ note on 63–64. Diels’s first edition of Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (1903) translates fragment 51 as “Sie verstehen nicht wie das auseinander Strebende ineinander geht: gegestrebige Vereinigung wie bei Bogen und der Laier” (They [humans] do not understand how the against-one-another striving goes toward one another: a counterstriving unification as with the bow and the lyre). The reworked translation of Kranz, the one found on the back cover of ACS, reads: “Sie verstehen nicht, wie es auseinander getragen mit sich selbst im Sinn zusammen geht: gegenstrebige Vereinigung wie die des Bogens und der Laier” (They do not understand how what is drawn taut agrees with itself in sense: the counterstriving unification of the bow and the lyre). The literal meaning of palintropos is not “counterstriving” but “backward turning” or “averted.” A more literal rendering of the whole fragment would be “They do not understand how the thing that differs [diapheromenon] with itself, agrees [homologei] with itself: the backward-turning harmony of the bow and the lyre.” 23. The lecture was published in Die Tageszeitung, July 20, 1985, and republished in ACS, 7–30. 24. ACS, 22. Perhaps when Taubes says that the “experience of time as a time of reprieve” is a “christliche” experience, he should be taken to mean that this experience characterizes not believers in Jesus as Christ but those who have interiorized the messianic idea after the apparent failure of the Messiah to realize the kingdom of God on earth. The “messianic experience of history” would refer to the expectation of a future time when the Messiah will usher in the kingdom of God, but a
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Taubes adds that, although he and Schmitt both experience history as a time of reprieve, the difference between them is that Schmitt “thinks apocalyptically, from the side of the powers, from above” (denkt apocalyptisch . . . von den Gewalten, von oben her), whereas he, Taubes, thinks “from below” (von unten her). Taubes thus conceived of himself and Schmitt as occupying opposite poles within a single shared experience of time as a Galgenfrist. In describing his relationship to Schmitt in the Galgenfrist, Taubes’s combination of temporal metaphors (deferral, time of reprieve) and spatial metaphors (above, below), together with the dynamic metaphors of the title of ACS (loving strife, i.e., counterstriving jointure), is confusing, to say the least. What exactly does it mean to say that the end of time can be deferred “from above” or “from below”? Does the “time of reprieve” take a different shape brought about “from above” rather than “from below”? Of what significance is Taubes’s description of Schmitt’s time of deferral as “counterrevolutionary”? Is it possible that Schmitt’s time of deferral is a form of temporal retardation or dila tion? Would that mean that Taubes’s is a form of acceleration? How does this relate to a “harmony” or Fügung that is also “counterstriving”? And, finally, if Schmitt’s time of deferral is counterrevolutionary and Taubes’s is revolutionary, might we say that both together constitute a single revolution or orbit around a point—the end point of time—that history’s trajectory speeds toward and flies away from, like a planet around the sun? These are some of the questions elicited by a close reading of “Carl Schmitt: Apocalypticist of the Counterrevolution” in light of the epigrammatic title that Taubes suggested for the small volume in which it is collected, Ad Carl Schmitt. I argue that in the “loving strife” of Taubes and Schmitt we can discern an elliptical eschatological orbit that holds both men in its rhythmic alternation of acceleration and retardation, approach and withdrawal, in relation to an apocalypse that historical time, as mathematicians would say, “tends toward” (strebt gegen) without ever reaching. In this gegenstrebige elliptical orbit, “Schmitt” and “Taubes” come to name not so much historical individuals as historical force vectors. By examining Taubes’s description of the “loving strife” that links him with Schmitt, I believe that we will understand better how, for both men, history is caught in the gravitational pull of an apocalyptic revolution, what Taubes called the “Christian experience of history.” Unpacking the full “Christian experience of history” refers to an interim period when, in a certain sense, time has already run out. Without being a Christian (believer in Jesus as Messiah), Taubes shares with Schmitt this “Christian experience of history” because he interiorizes the Jewish messianic idea as it comes to expression in Jewish apocalypticism, the idea that the messianic era has already (invisibly) dawned.
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significance of Taubes’s “loving strife” with Schmitt enables us to appreciate how their eschatological orbit fits within a broader celestial mechanics of the apocalypse that is explicitly invoked in the work of each thinker.25 And even when Taubes does not invoke Schmitt overtly, Schmitt nonetheless occupies the position of a sort of counterearth sharing the same orbit, exerting an uncanny counterrevolutionary and “counterstriving” attraction on Taubes’s revolutionary apocalypticism. Finally, I show that the “gegenstrebige Fügung,” the jointure binding Schmitt and Taubes together in the Galgenfrist, rotates around the Mysterium Judaicum, the “‘katechontic’ form of existence” during which God balances the Jewish people—and, indeed, all of creation—between destruction and redemption. Let me begin this analysis of Taubes’s and Schmitt’s involvement in a “celestial mechanics of the apocalypse” by unpacking the meaning of “katechontic” (lit. “restraining”), the term that Taubes borrowed from Schmitt to explicate the Mysterium Judaicum. It seems intuitively obvious that “counterstriving” and “restraining” are somehow related. And in fact Taubes explains in “Carl Schmitt: Apocalypticist of the Counterrevolution” that the Galgenfrist for Schmitt is connected to the Katechon (the Restrainer). In a passage that Taubes quotes from Der Nomos der Erde, Schmitt defines the Katechon, a term he takes from 2 Thessalonians 26, as “die geschichtliche Macht, die das Erscheinen des Antichrist und das Ende des gegenwärtigen Äon aufzuhalten vermag” (the historical force that is able to restrain the appearance of the Antichrist and the end of our present aeon).26 Following an exegetical tradition going back to Tertullian, Schmitt identifies the historical force named by Paul as that of the Roman Empire. Schmitt conceives of history after Christ as unfolding in the Galgenfrist held open by the force of an eschaton-delaying, imperial Katechon. Taubes, on the contrary, sees history as driven toward the eschaton by an accelerating force “from below.” If we accept Taubes’s characterization of the difference between himself and Schmitt, then the perspectives “from below” and “from above” should correspond to two forces, one revolutionary and the other counterrevolutionary. Taubes’s description of 25. One might say that the film Melancholia (dir. Lars von Trier, 2011) dramatizes the literal working out of another such celestial mechanics of the apocalypse. The film’s premise is that earth and another errant planetary body enter into a spiraling “dance of death.” 26. Schmitt, Der Nomos der Erde, 29. Schmitt first refers to the “Restrainer” in 1942, in “Beschleuniger wider Willen oder: Problematik der westlichen Hemisphäre,” repr. in Carl Schmitt, Staat, Grossraum, Nomos: Arbeiten as den Jahren, 1916–1969, ed. Günter Maschke (Berlin: Duncker und Humblot, 1995), 431–40; the reference to the Katechon is on 436. A bibliographic annotation on Schmitt’s Katechon by Maschke may be found on 438–50.
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the difference between himself and Schmitt might be taken to mean that they differ as to which of the two forces is responsible for the Galgenfrist, with Schmitt claiming that the honor goes to the Katechon and Taubes siding with the revolutionary force “from below.” But this does not do justice to what Taubes is saying, nor does it do justice to Schmitt’s position.27 If Taubes says that he and Schmitt are both engaged in a “counterstriving jointure,” how can we say who is restraining whom? What does Schmitt say about the Katechon in Der Nomos der Erde? He tells us that the katechontic force restrains the appearance of the Antichrist. The reprieve or Galgenfrist thus seemingly represents extra time given to history before the Antichrist is permitted to hold sway over humanity. With the coming of the Antichrist, history enters its endgame phase. In the apocalypse, the Antichrist will be vanquished and the Final Judgment will be rendered on all humanity. The katechontic force that restrains the Antichrist is necessary to allow history to continue. Schmitt’s katechontic force “from above” is, therefore, anti-apocalyptic. Taubes’s force “from below,” however, pushes history toward the apocalypse, hastening the end of the present eon. This makes sense of the fact that for Taubes, Schmitt has an “anti-apocalyptic affect” (ACS, 21), even though Schmitt “thinks apocalyptically.” Taubes’s antikatechontic force from below seems intent on shortening the time before the eon’s end, whereas Schmitt’s katechontic force from above is intent on extending the time. But when we frame the relationship between the forces in these terms, we see that both forces are required to maintain the temporality of the Galgenfrist. If the katechontic force were to achieve a total victory over the opposing force from below, there would be complete historical stasis; if, on the other hand, the force operating from below were to be victorious, the end of history would arrive the next moment. A victory of either force, thus, would put an end to history. Thus to experience time and history as Galgenfrist 27. Giorgio Agamben’s interpretation of the Katechon in 2 Thessalonians (Time That Remains, 108–11) sides with Schmitt in identifying the force that delays the end of time with Imperial Rome, but it disagrees with Schmitt in that Agamben argues that Paul does not view the Katechon as a posi tive force restraining the “lawlessness” (anomia) of Satanic dominion (the violence leading to the Last Judgment). Agamben argues that “lawlessness” for Paul in this passage is positive, referring to the inoperativity of the older order of imperial Nomos in the community of agape, the community of the “Nomos Christi.” Taubes, I argue, offers a more complicated picture than Agamben’s. The revolutionary force “from below” does indeed tend toward antinomian, messianic “lawlessness,” but it contains the seeds of its own self-destruction in its radicalization as “nihilistic revolution.” Taubes, unlike Agamben, finds a positive role in the everyday structures of law and order that restrain the nihilistic impulse in “lawlessness.” Only in the “counterstriving jointure” of both forces can the Gal genfrist remain open. Agamben loses sight of the complex interplay of forces that makes it impossible to describe one as positive and the other as negative.
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means that both forces must be in a constant struggle, although neither must annihilate the other. Each force restrains the victory of the other. We are now in better position to understand what Taubes meant when he said that both he and Schmitt shared a single experience of time and history, although from different positions. Taubes understood that, despite the different positions that they occupied within the Galgenfrist, he and Schmitt depended on each other for their very existence in the Galgenfrist. Whether we translate harmoniê in the phrase palintropos harmoniê from Heraclitus’s fragment 51 as “Vereinigung” (conjunction) or “Fügung” (jointure), the point remains the same: Taubes thought of the relationship between his perspective and Schmitt’s as representing a tense conjunction of opposing forces, even a loving conjunction of opposing forces. Taubes recognized that in the time of reprieve that is the “Christian experience of history,” a bifocal perspective that looks from both above and below would see a complementary conjunction of retarding and accelerating forces, each restraining the other. Even though these forces might align as “friend” and “enemy,” Taubes suggests that they are inextricably tied together, each requiring the other for the tension of the Galgenfrist to be held in place. In the fragment of Heraclitus that Gente chose as the closest rendering of “liebender Streit,” Heraclitus says that examples of the palintropos harmoniê are the bow and the lyre. In the bow and the lyre two opposing end points are drawn together by a single taut string. Interpreters of Heraclitus argue about how exactly the bow and lyre instantiate a palintropos harmoniê, but it is clear that somehow opposing forces or opposing points form a single unity that cannot exist apart from the opposition. G. S. Kirk and J. E. Raven, the most prominent English commentators on the pre-Socratic fragments, support this reading of Heraclitus. They write that the fragment asserts that there is a connection or joining (the literal sense of harmoniê) through opposite tensions . . . just as the tension in the string of bow or lyre, being exactly balanced by the outward tension exerted by the arms of the instrument, produces a coherent, unified, stable and efficient complex. We may infer that if the balance between opposites were not maintained, for example if “the hot” (i.e. the sum of hot substances) began seriously to outweigh the cold, or night day, then the unity and coherence of the world would cease, just as, if the tension in the bow-string exceeds the tension in the arms, the whole complex is destroyed.28 28. G. S. Kirk and J. E. Raven, The Presocratic Philosophers: A Critical History with a Selec tion of Texts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1957), 194.
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Kirk and Raven offer a persuasive exegesis of what Heraclitus might mean by saying that the bow and the lyre possess a palintropos harmoniê, but does this exegesis apply to the relationship between Schmitt’s katechontic force and Taubes’s anti-katechontic force? It seems questionable to describe the relationship between these opposed forces as a “coherent, unified, stable, and efficient complex” in the way that Kirk and Raven describe the palintropos harmoniê of the bow and the lyre.29 Let us recall that we are talking about accelerating and retarding forces that operate during a time of revolution. The Galgenfrist is not a time during which the “unity and coherence of the world” is revealed but when, in fact, “the whole complex” is threatened with revolutionary destruction. To understand the true nature of the palintropos harmoniê of the kate chontic and anti-katechontic forces as Taubes conceives of them, it is helpful to turn to his Occidental Eschatology.30 Without using the term Galgenfrist, Taubes speaks at great length in the first chapter of OE about revolution and the expectation of the end of history. He explains that “apocalypticism is revolutionary because it beholds the turning point not in some indeterminate future, but entirely proximate” (OE, 10). He then explains in greater detail that the telos of the revolution binds the forces of chaos, which otherwise would burst all forms and overreach established boundaries. Even revolution has its forms and is “formalized,” particularly when it shatters the rigid structures of the world. The apocalyptic principle combines within it a form-destroying [gestalt-zerstörend] and a forming [gestaltend ] power. Depending on the situation and the task, only one of the two components emerges, but neither can be absent. If the demonic, destructive element is missing, the petrified order, the prevailing positivity of the world cannot be overcome. But if the “new covenant” fails to shine through in this destructive element, the revolution inevitably sinks into empty nothingness. . . . If the revolution points to nothing beyond itself, it will end in a movement, dynamic in nature, but lead29. Or, we could say that Kirk and Raven overemphasized the “stable and efficient” aspect of the bow and lyre. Perhaps it would have been better had they drawn out the conflictual nature of the conjunction, where each side seems about to destroy the other. 30. Peter E. Gordon insightfully draws out the contrasting views of Löwith and Taubes about the eschatological dimension of history in “Jacob Taubes, Karl Löwith, and the Interpretation of Jewish History,” in German-Jewish Thought between Religion and Politics, ed. Christian Wiese and Martina Urban (Göttingen: de Gruyter, 2012), 349–70. Löwith was one of the earliest critics of Schmitt, and it is quite clear, as Mehring points out in “Karl Löwith, Carl Schmitt, Jacob Taubes, und ‘das Ende der Geschichte,’” that Löwith stands on one side of the question of the eschatological dimension in history (whether it is anything more than a dangerous illusion) and that Schmitt and Taubes stand on the other.
Bruce Rosenstock 69 ing into empty nothingness. A “nihilistic revolution” does not pursue any goal [telos], but takes its aim from the “movement” itself and, in so doing, comes close to satanic practice. (OE, 10–11)
Here we have a close approximation of what Taubes will in ACS describe as the katechontic and the revolutionary anti-katechontic forces. Taubes characterizes the form-destroying power as “demonic” and potentially “satanic,” and certainly Schmitt would agree: the accelerating force, he says, hastens the Antichrist. The challenge as Taubes describes it is to keep the “turning point” from losing its relationship with the revolution. The challenge, in other words, is to keep the telos from disappearing into the infinite horizon, thus dividing, as it were, the revolutionary turning from its point and thereby making revolution into an end in itself and, consequently, endless. Taubes calls such an endless revolution a “nihilistic revolution.” This sounds very similar to what Hannah Arendt describes in The Origins of Totalitarianism, published several years after OE, as the logic of totalitarian movements.31 “Revolutionary humanity,” Taubes says near the end of OE, “is an existence in the state of leaping [im Sprung], a fractured [zer-sprungene] existence longing for unity” (176). Revolutionary humanity lives under the threat of losing its telos and falling into a condition of endless, “nihilistic revolution.” For revolutionary humanity, the tension between the katechontic force from above and the demonic force from below is seemingly always in danger of being snapped or sprung. Taubes says that humanity’s fractured revolutionary condition would be one of “naked existence,” the absolute minimum of human existence reduced to constant “anxiety and guilt (Kierkegaard), hunger and misery (Marx), despair and death” (OE, 191–92). (I explain in what follows why Taubes invokes Kierkegaard and Marx, but for now it is important to understand what he means by a fractured or sprung revolutionary existence.) Based on these passages in OE, we may say that the Galgenfrist is, according to Taubes, a time when humanity is given a reprieve from being reduced to a condition of “naked existence.” For the reprieve to hold, the tension between the forces must not be sprung. Bearing in mind Taubes’s analysis of the tense condition of revolutionary humanity, we may return to the question of how palintropos harmoniê appropriately names the relationship that obtains between Schmitt and Taubes. Extrapolating from OE’s discussion of the “forming” and “form-destroying” forces at work in every revolutionary turning point, we can see that these 31. See the final chapter, “Ideology and Terror,” in Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitari anism (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973), 460–82.
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forces do in fact form a palintropos harmoniê. The experience of historical time as held in the tension of forming and form-destroying forces is what Taubes in ACS will describe as the time of the Galgenfrist. The Galgenfrist is the experience of history as turning back (the literal meaning of palintropos) from the nihilistic satanism of revolutionary movement without any telos, but it is not a time of rigid fixity and changelessness. It is a time when the world is threatened with being reduced to a condition of fractured, naked existence. The Galgenfrist is a time when the bow is so strained that the string is at the point of breaking. In this condition history is threatened with being split from its telos and becoming pure, endless, and pointless movement. It is also possible that history’s katechontic force will triumph, and history will fall into unending stasis. Taubes’s reflections about the character of revolutionary apocalypticism as maintaining the tension of two opposing forces, one driving history toward straight-line movement without any end point and the other seeking a complete cessation of movement, prefigure the “loving strife” that he describes as conjoining him and Schmitt in a palintropos harmoniê. Taubes’s conception of history as Galgenfrist seems to have the Antichrist (the “demonic” and “formdestroying” power) in its sights as both the alluring and the repelling figure around which history’s opposing forces pivot. The revolutionary apocalypticist draws on the “demonic” and destructive force of “satanic” nihilism, but she also must not allow this force to spring loose from her form-creating power. Although Taubes uses terms like demonic and satanic to describe the force of nihilistic revolution, it is actually God in whom these forces are operative. In the epilogue to OE, Taubes suggests that to prevent humanity from falling into a fractured, zer-sprungene condition of “naked existence,” two sides of a single divine power must be held together. The divine power circumscribes humanity, Taubes says, from above and below. He explains that God draws us from above toward an ecstatic loving fusion with himself and that from below we are tempted by a demonic resistance to God. But, Taubes says, these opposites— love and demonic resistance—coincide “before and in God” (OE, 193). The pull of the Antichrist, we might say, is also a part of God. We can hear in this description of God as containing two opposing forces the strong influence of Friedrich Schelling, but tracing the sources of Taubes’s thought is not, at the moment, my concern. I am interested in unraveling the theme of the Galgen frist as a key to understanding Taubes’s relation to Schmitt as a palintropos harmoniê. We need to understand how revolutionary apocalypticism, even in its “demonic” opposition to God, still holds history in relation to God.
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The epilogue of OE offers some indispensable clues to understanding how the Galgenfrist positions humanity in the role of holding God and his tory together. It is humanity’s task to deploy but also restrain the demonic force within God himself that seeks to sever itself from God. In turning this force back toward God, God himself is held in a tense unity of opposed forces. In the final pages of OE, Taubes calls for a healing of the rift between “above” and “below” through a “coincidentia oppositorum” of divine forces. He contrasts this rebinding of above and below with what Søren Kierkegaard and Karl Marx in different ways seek to accomplish. Both men, Taubes explains, want to sever history from God. Their revolutionary goals, as I explain presently, stand in stark contrast with the loving strife that binds together Schmitt and Taubes. Kierkegaard and Marx threaten to cut the bond, the jointure, that holds God and history together. Schmitt and Taubes seek to hold the counter striving jointure (gegenstrebige Fügung) in place. Taubes explains that Kierkegaard reduces the temporal duration of history to a “naked existence” without any relationship to God. Only the “single one” in a single, ahistorical moment of decision allows the finite human being to relate himself or herself to God. Marx, too, would remove God from history. For Marx, history, after its last decisive transformation, will be nothing other than an endless process of production and consumption (OE, 193). Taubes underscores how both Kierkegaard and Marx call for a final revolutionary decision, an Entscheidung that is also a Scheidung, a cutting or scission. Taubes suggests that Kierkegaard and Marx are not in tension with each other, but rather they push humanity in one and the same direction. Kierkegaard would push the “single one” out of his participation in history understood as a salvific process directed toward an ever-impending eschaton. Kierkegaard replaces this historic temporality of apocalyptic decision with a purely interior and ahistorical decision. Marx, on the other hand, would completely immerse the human’s “species being” in a history that, like Kierkegaard’s history, has neither telos nor eschaton. Marx thus transforms history into an endless and goalless movement, the same at every instant. If humanity is not going to be hurled into the empty nothingness of a fractured, zer-sprungene revolution with either Kierkegaard or Marx, it must discover a new “coincidentia oppositorum” of the counterstriving divine forces at work in history. Humanity must discover its revolutionary apocalyptic task by standing at the point where the counterstriving forces (form-creating and form-destroying) are held in tension. It must maintain these forces together within a God who encompasses both forces, “who is beyond what is higher and beneath what is lower” (OE, 193).
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With Taubes’s appeal to humanity to stand within the tension of a divinely anchored “coincidentia oppositorum” at the close of OE, we have something that seems to point toward a God-centered palintropos harmoniê between Taubes and Schmitt.32 Can we map Schmitt’s counterrevolutionary katechontic force and Taubes’s revolutionary apocalyptic force onto the figure of the divinity that encompasses humanity “from beyond what is higher and beneath what is lower”? To answer this question, I want to return to ACS once more. Taubes and Schmitt, from 1947, stand in the relationship of a sort of earth and counterearth, twin shadow planets, each following an elliptical God-centered trajectory. Their elliptical orbit embodies, as I have said, a celes tial mechanics of the apocalypse. We have so far reached some understanding of the forces at work in this celestial mechanics, but now we need to enter into the uncanny relationship of attraction and repulsion in which Taubes and Schmitt seem caught. It will not be accidental that this relationship seems to date from 1947, not long after the detonation of atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki inaugurated an age when humanity stood on the brink of selfdestruction. In the final essay of ACS, “1948–1978: Dreissig Jahre Verweigerung” (“1948–1978: Thirty Years of Refusal”), Taubes insists that “Schmitt’s interest was in only one thing: that the party, that the chaos not rise to the top, that the state remain. No matter what the price” (PTP, 103). A little farther along in the essay, Taubes says that Schmitt’s Katechon “holds down the chaos that pushes up from below.” Taubes adds that Schmitt is someone “invested in this world” who “sees in the apocalypse, whatever its form, the adversary and does everything to keep it subjugated and repressed.” “You see what I want from Schmitt,” Taubes concludes. “I want to show him that the separation of powers between worldly and spiritual is absolutely necessary. This boundary, if it is not drawn, we will lose our Occidental breath” (PTP, 103). I suggest that in this “boundary” that allows the Occident to breathe we have another representation of the Galgenfrist. The Galgenfrist, it should be recalled, literally refers to a reprieve issued to a criminal condemned to death as he stands with his neck in the noose, in the Galgen. The noose drawn around the neck of the Occident will tighten to the point of asphyxiation if God is drawn too close to humanity. 32. Taubes, as I explained in n. 20, rejects Heidegger’s reduction of the theological to “neutral concepts describing the human situation.” OE is heavily indebted to Heidegger, but by 1952 Taubes will find that Schmitt is the more important partner in his own attempt “in a decisive sense to live post Christum.”
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We can understand the nature of this threatened asphyxiation better if we recall what Taubes says about God in the epilogue to OE. We found there an image of God as holding the counterstraining form-creating and formdestroying forces within himself. The forces pull humanity toward ecstatic union with God and also toward nihilistic revolution in infinite distance from God. Humanity exists in the midst of these forces, but it is not exactly at the very center, for that is the position that God occupies. Taubes makes this point on the very last page of OE. Taubes says that humanity, if it recognizes God as the center rather than attempt to put itself at the center, will maintain its hold on existence as ek-sistence.33 If humanity insists on putting itself at the center, it will no longer ex-ist in the midst of the divine forces: “Because everything is in God, everything is ek-sistent; everything has its center outside of itself, in God. Only man can turn away from God’s center and be in-sistent. Man becomes stiff against God and finds the center of things in himself” (OE, 193). Humanity ex-ists outside the center, but in God. As Taubes says in the first chapter of OE, humanity is poised at a revolutionary turning point where humanity’s in-sistence threatens its very ex-istence. The date of the publication of OE is 1947. This is the date when humanity finds itself especially confronted with the challenge of this revolutionary turn, or decision. The year also marks a turning point in Taubes’s relation to Schmitt. Taubes, as he explains in the essay “1948–1978: Thirty Years of Postponement,” begins to think seriously about Schmitt only in 1948. He knew of him before this year, but it was only in 1948 that Taubes, recalling that Schmitt had written something about nomos in one of his early works on constitutional theory, decides to pursue the reference further (PTP, 98–99). OE, therefore, is not written with Schmitt in mind, but both men are following a similar postwar trajectory or, better put, orbit. Both men understand the turning point in history marked by 1947 in astronomical terms that suggest that a new era (Zeitwende) has dawned on humanity. Taubes explains in the closing pages of OE that “Classical, Christian, Western” history has ended and a “post-Christian” new eon is beginning, and at this revolutionary, apocalyptic turning point two forces, both found in God, strain against each other: a force pulling humanity toward God and a force driving it away from God. Taubes is asking us to picture this revolutionary turning point as also the turning point in the revolution of humanity around God. Like a planet (the Greek root means “wander” or “err”), humanity is 33. The notion that the human’s task is to rise from mere existence (the being of the thing) to ex-istence (being-there in the temporality of a future-directed project) is central to Heidegger in Sein und Zeit (1927) up through his Brief über den Humanismus.
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prone to lose its relation to its center: “The question is why this error which hurls man to utter remoteness [Gott-ferne] is so particularly prevalent in him” (OE, 193). The challenge facing the revolutionary apocalypticist is, one might say, to stay in orbit around God. Throughout OE Taubes employs celestial metaphors to capture the significance of the revolutionary turning point that the apocalypticist must keep in sight. In the epilogue Taubes speaks about how the change from the old eon to the new is more profound than “what the calendar can measure,” and he declares that we are now in the midst of a night, but we await a new day. Taubes speaks of a certain eclipse of God: “This is the darkness and night of the world [Unmachtung der Welt]” (OE, 194). Taubes had devoted a great deal of effort earlier in OE to show how the Copernican break with the Ptolemaic cosmos marked a moment not unlike the one he describes in the epilogue. There is therefore reason to think that what we are meant to imagine in those final pages of OE is another such cosmological revolution. History is entering a new orbit, and its shape is, like that of the Copernican orbit as Johannes Kepler discovered, that of ellipse. The curve of an ellipse looks as if it resulted from a circle that had been stretched by two equal and opposed forces. If we draw a line through the two most separated points, the center will lie at the line’s midpoint. There are two other points on that line, midway between the center and the extreme end points of the line: the “foci” of the ellipse. In the ellipse that describes the earth’s orbit, the sun is actually not at the center of the orbit but at one of the foci. As the earth revolves in an elliptical orbit around the sun, its turning points are called the apogee (the farthest point from the sun) and the perigee (the nearest point to the sun). Taubes speaks in the first chapter of OE about an “eschatological ellipse.” Both foci are occupied by two different aspects of God. One focus of the ellipse is occupied by God the Creator, the aspect of God that brings the world into being and sets time and history in motion. This is what Taubes calls the “axiological focus” of the eschatological ellipse. The other focus is occupied by God the Redeemer. This is the “teleological focus.” History as the revolutionary apocalypticist sees it is the movement (or revolution) of humanity around both foci, with every point on the orbit in tense and dynamic relation with both foci. This relation actually changes through history. When the eschatological imagination arises in ancient Israel, it shatters the cyclical conception of history that prevails in paganism. But ever since the nineteenth century, the eschatological imagination is in turn threatened by two new challenges to the topology of the ellipse. According to the “historicist” spirit of the century, Taubes explains, the axiological focus is made into every
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single point in the trajectory of history: “All ages are equally near to God. . . . All events are of equal value [gleich gültig] and therefore indifferent [gleich gültig]” (OE, 13). History becomes, in Benjamin’s phrase (adopted from Henri Bergson) “empty, homogeneous time.” On the other hand, in the view of the century’s progressivist spirit, the teleological focus is an infinitely distant goal: “The ideology of progress . . . devalues each moment of history in favor of an ideal” (OE, 13). Historicism and progressivism threaten to flatten the ellipse into a single line, turning history into a sheer, godforsaken movement. Kierke gaard, as I have shown, responds to the indifference of historicism by calling for an ahistorical decision, or break, that is purely internal and “subjective.” Marx, on the contrary, radicalizes progressivism, making constant movement the immanent goal of history. The eschatological tension of history’s orbit around God is either internalized or externalized. With Kierkegaard, the axiological focus has become fixed and interiorized within an atemporal selfhood cut off from history’s trajectory around God. With Marx, the teleological focus has been externalized into the very trajectory of history itself, so that history no longer has a turning point when it once more enters into relation with its axiological focus, God. Humanity has not yet fallen into the condition of naked existence entirely cut off from the God-foci. Rather, humanity now confronts the task of maintaining history’s orbit around the twin foci of the eschatological ellipse. To assist humanity in fulfilling this task, Taubes’s authorship, beginning with OE in 1947, returns again and again to explore the various facets of the celestial mechanics of the apocalypse. At the end of OE, Taubes asks his readers to join him in refocusing history around God. To recognize that God is at the foci of history’s revolutionary ellipse enables humanity to pull itself back from flying off into the nothingness of error (wandering) when it reaches the apogee of its revolution about God. This is the special challenge of the apocalyptic imaginary, as Joshua Robert Gold puts it in his essay on Taubes: “Apocalyptic thought,” Gold writes, “must guard against its own destructive inclination.”34 At its greatest distance from God (Gott-ferne), history threatens to terminate in the annihilation of humanity from the face of the earth. At its closest proximity to God, it threatens to terminate in the pure inwardness of world-denying spirituality. “In the world seen as history, mankind stands in the middle between God and the world,” Taubes says in OE (19). To lose sight of the position of humanity between God and the world is to enter the blind night that Taubes calls the “unmaking of the world” (Unmachtung der Welt). 34. Joshua Robert Gold, “Jacob Taubes: ‘Apocalypse from Below,’” Telos, no. 134 (2006): 147.
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Now that we have a deeper appreciation for Taubes’s celestial mechanics of the apocalypse as it is developed in OE, I want to return to ACS and Taubes’s characterization of the experience of time that he shares with Schmitt as the time of the Galgenfrist. It might seem as if the time of reprieve has nothing to do with the eschatological ellipse of OE. But this would be a mistake. We have seen that in the essay “1948–1978: Thirty Years of Refusal,” Taubes says that Schmitt’s Katechon threatens to cut off the breath of Occidental humanity. The Katechon, according to Taubes, seeks to reverse or retard the revolutionary forces that keep humanity in its eschatological elliptical orbit. But how would the Katechon tighten the noose, the Galgen, and asphyxiate Occidental humanity? The tension in humanity’s revolutionary trajectory would be destroyed, not because humanity flies off into some kind of “nihilistic revolution,” but because it draws too close to God. If Schmitt’s Katechon restrained the revolutionary force and drew humanity closer to union with God at its axiological focus, history would cease to be a tense struggle between accelerating and retarding forces. History would circle tightly around God and, without any capacity to accelerate itself away from this circular orbit entirely defined by the axiological God of Creation, humanity would lose what Taubes calls autonomy. The pagan cyclical celestial mechanics would return in full force, but this time it would not be nature’s cycle that history repeats but the rise and fall of katechontic empires.35 Acceleration having slowed, history would circle with one, unchanging velocity around God, one empire succeeding another with no respite or breathing space afforded to the revolutionary force seeking autonomy “from below.” The ellipse would have become a circle, like a noose drawn tight around a neck. The trick, as Taubes pictures it, is to retard the acceleration just enough to keep history from flying loose or springing loose from God but not so much as to reduce history to a repetitive cycle of imperial growth and decay. How can this “trick” be accomplished? Taubes never gives us a recipe for calibrating the right balance between the accelerating and retarding forces of history. There is a human drive to be free from the constraints of the God of Creation that propels history into new and unpredictable paths, but that same drive, if it is carried too far, can lose its relation to the God of Redemption and then become the pure drive to revolt against all constraints, the essence of the “nihilistic revolution.” The gnostic rebellion against the God of Creation, 35. For a much fuller discussion of how Schmitt’s Katechon is part of a “rise and fall of empires” view of history, see Julia Hell, “Katechon: Carl Schmitt’s Imperial Theology and the Ruins of the Future,” Germanic Review 84, no. 4 (2009): 283–326.
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Taubes suggests, finds its historically useful expression in the radical critique of the status quo and all forms of constraint-imposing nomos. But it must not be externalized in the violent destruction of all the “normal” structures sustaining everyday life. Here is where the “trick” of retarding the revolutionary acceleration away from the focus occupied by the God of Creation comes into play. Taubes does not want to join the side that retards the revolutionary force through a new counterrevolutionary katechontic order of imperial nomos, the side occupied by Schmitt. Taubes speaks rather of a restraining of the revolutionary force through “katechontic” halachah. The halachah is no less opposed to the “total dominion of violence” than is antinomian messianism, but it also stands opposed to the “ecstasy and delirium” of “the enthusiasm of love.”36 The halachah represents “the rational and everyday sobriety of justice” (FCC, 57). To be sure, this may not exactly be the Orthodox version of halachah. Emphasizing the “sobriety of justice,” Taubes seems closer to Aristotle. Aristotle speaks of a certain kind of justice called “equity” (epieikeia), the “justice that goes beyond the written law” (Rhetoric 1374a31). In his letter to Mohler of 1952, Taubes, in explaining why “Judaism ‘is’ pol[iti cal] theology,” says, “Law is not the first and last after all, . . . there are even between man and man relationships that ‘exceed,’ ‘transcend’ law—love, mercy, forgiveness” (PTP, 110). While Taubes seems in this letter to connect this transcendence of the law with Paul’s antinomian critique of law (whether Roman law or halachah), perhaps it is better to understand Taubes to be saying that the law can be transcended without being destroyed. This transcendencecum-preservation of the law is the very essence of equity justice according to Aristotle. In the Rhetoric, Aristotle says that it is “equitable to pardon human weakness” and “to look not to the letter of the law but to the intention of the legislator.” Perhaps it should not be too surprising that Aristotle links this kind of justice with the term kairos, since kairos is precisely the time of exception and equity is the justice of the exception to the strict letter of the law.37 While it may not seem true of most modern rabbinic decisors (poskim), it is certainly the case that the late antique and early modern practice of halachic rabbinic decision stressed equity (and emphasized judicial discretion) rather than 36. Jacob Taubes, “The Issue between Judaism and Christianity: Facing Up to the Unresolvable Difference,” in FCC, 57, 58. 37. For a brilliant discussion of the rhetorical function of kairos in Aristotle and its importance for understanding Paul’s concept of kairos, see James L. Kinneavy, “Kairos in Classical and Modern Rhetorical Theory,” in Rhetoric and Kairos: History, Theory, and Praxis, ed. Phillip Sipiora and James S. Baumlin (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002), 58–76. I rely on Kinneavy’s translations of the passages I quote from Aristotle’s Rhetoric.
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rule-governed strict proceduralism,38 and this is something that the rabbinically trained Taubes would certainly know. To summarize, the “trick” of preventing antinomian messianism from flying off into revolutionary nihilism is the trick underlying rabbinic and Aristotelian equity justice, the kairotic justice “beyond the written law.” Taubes would want to remind us, though, that the force operating within this kairotic equity justice is also the force of kai rotic eschatological love. Paul, as a halachicly trained Pharisee, understood that in the kairos opened up by the Messiah’s resurrection, the halachah as kairotic justice still was joined at the root with its “enemy,” the gospel of kai rotic love. Taubes, as I have shown, calls this the Mysterium Judaicum. For Taubes, humanity is at a revolutionary turning point where accelerating and retarding forces are in such tension as to threaten the total destruction of order while promising the possibility of a new order only if the tension does not snap or draw too taut. In OE Taubes positions his reading of history within a tradition of revolutionary apocalypticism going back to ancient Israel. I do not dispute the basic truth of Taubes’s genealogy, but I find in one of the strangest passages in the Platonic corpus a similar conception of history as marked by revolutionary upheavals corresponding to celestial upheavals. Taubes never refers to this passage as far as I know, but in 1947 Schmitt is brought to reflect on it in relation to the “Weltzeitalter der Umkehr- und Gegenbewegung” (world age of reverse and countermovement) that humanity, he says, is living in. I discuss Schmitt’s reflection on humanity’s revolutionary moment in what follows, but first I must examine the Platonic text itself. The passage I have in mind is found in the late-period dialogue, the Statesman (269c4–279e4).39 Plato tells the story of the alternation of the direction of the earth’s revolution and of the historical ages corresponding to each period of this revolution. We are not, of course, talking about the earth’s orbit around the sun, since Plato believed the earth was rotating around its own axis at the center of the cosmos. In the historical period preceding the one we now live in, God himself directly turned the earth and ruled as a shepherd king, attending to the needs of each single human the way a shepherd tends to the needs of each sheep in the flock. In this golden age, humans were born directly 38. For a treatment of judicial discretion and equity in halachah, see Joel Roth, The Halachic Process: A Systematic Analysis (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America Press, 1986). 39. Plato, Platonis Opera, vol. 2, Oxford Classical Texts (Oxford: Clarendon, 1903). The Greek title of the dialogue is Politikos, and this is the title that Schmitt uses. Translations throughout are mine. References are to the Stephanus page numbers of this edition.
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from the earth rather than through sexual reproduction. Dwelling under the direct supervision of God, their lives were perfectly good, but they accomplished no great deeds. There are only a certain number of rebirths assigned to those earth-born humans, and when the cycle of their births and deaths has run its course, God withdraws himself from the world and lets the earth, a living being, turn itself in the opposite direction. Humans now must govern themselves with such traditions about what divine justice is as can be salvaged from the cataclysmic destruction loosed on the earth when it changed rotation. When the earth moves through its own power without God, the “original condition of disharmony” (to tês palaias anarmostias pathos, 273c8) of the world’s corporeal nature begins to reassert itself. Humans hold back the complete return of this disharmonious condition by imitating God’s previous direct beneficence through agriculture and other technical means, and they attempt to emulate God’s direct shepherding kingship by creating laws to govern themselves. But their efforts are doomed. The power of disharmony is too great, and the traces of God’s presence grow more and more indistinct. Just as the world comes to the brink of destruction (diaphthoras kindunon aphikneitai, 273d3), God holds it back from descending into the “infinite sea of dissimilitude” (ton tês anomoiotêtos apeiron onta ponton, 273d6–e1) and begins once again to spin the earth in the contrary direction. Thus Plato describes what he calls the “greatest and most complete turning [tropê] of all turnings” (Statesman 270c1–2). As I have said, Taubes never to my knowledge refers to this passage. But Schmitt does, in a brief but pregnant note in his Glossarium dated November 7, 1947.40 The note fully justifies Taubes’s appropriation of Schmitt as someone who stands in a relation of “counterstriving jointure” (gegenstrebige Fügung) with him. Comparing the note with Taubes’s celestial mechanics of the apocalypse in OE, we certainly can say that Schmitt and Taubes were thinking along similar lines about the historical condition of humanity after World War II. In the winter of 1947, Schmitt, like Taubes, saw himself as located at a revolutionary turning point in history. Here is the section of the note in which Schmitt refers to Plato’s Statesman:41 40. Carl Schmitt and Eberhard Medem, Glossarium: Aufzeichnungen der Jahre, 1947–1951 (Berlin: Duncker und Humblot, 1991). 41. In the note as it is printed in Glossarium, the Greek is not transliterated but given in the original and left untranslated. However, some of the Greek has been garbled, but it can be easily restored, since Schmitt is quoting directly from the Politicus 270d1. It is not clear to me why Schmitt identifies this passage as “cap. 13f.” His Greek edition of Plato was apparently not the Oxford Classical Text edition.
80 Palintropos Harmoniê metabolê, tropê, phora (Politikos, cap. 13f.) genos oligon ti perileipetai; pathêmata polla kai thaumasta in einer solcher metabolê sitzen wir heute; zyklisch gedacht; Weltzeitalter der Umkehr- und Gegenbewegung; enantia. [change, turning, movement (Politicus, cap. 13f.) a certain small race [of humans] is left behind; many and amazing experi ences; we sit today in one such revolution; cyclically conceived; world time period of reverse and countermotion; opposites]
Schmitt’s invocation of the notion that he is living through a major revolution in the celestial mechanics of history is, when brought into relation with Taubes’s reflections about the eschatological ellipse in OE in the same year, uncanny. But despite some obvious similarities in outlook, there seems to be nothing about the eschaton or the Katechon in Schmitt’s note. However, if we place the reference to Plato’s Statesman in the context of the opening section of this note, another impression entirely emerges. We are then brought face-toface with the heart of Schmitt’s apocalypticism. If we are going to get to the bottom of the uncanny “counterstriving jointure” between Taubes and Schmitt, it is necessary to spend a little more time with Schmitt’s note. Schmitt’s note of July 11, 1947, begins with a reference to the contemporary “jewification” (Verjudung) of the society. For Schmitt, this jewification means the loss of the eschatological tension of the prior eon: Die Religion der Wartenden: auf den noch nicht gekommenen Messias, auf den gekommenen, aber doch noch einmal wiederkommenden Messias, auf den Tröster und den Heiligen Geist, auf das klassenlose Gesellschaft und das ewige Reich. Die Trinität als Ausdruck dieses Wartens. Was Bruno Bauer die Verjudung nennt, ist die Etablierung des Wartezustandes, der für unabsehbare Dauer eingerichtete, immer komfortabler werdende Wartesaal. Sic exspectatur iudicium! Es will sich der Wanderer zu Wartenden legen. [The religion of those who wait: on the not-yet-arrived Messiah, on the Messiah who arrived but who is going to return once more, on the Consoler and the Holy Spirit, on the classless society and on the eternal Kingdom. The Trinity as an expression of waiting. What Bruno Bauer called jewifica tion is the establishment of the condition of waiting, of the ever more comfortable waiting room that has been set up for an incalculable duration. This is how the [Last] Judgment is looked forward to! The Wandering One wants to settle down as the Waiting One.]
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This passage is remarkable for many reasons. It describes the transformation of Christianity into Judaism, noting that now both religions have “waiting” as their essence. This is not a waiting in any kind of fear and trembling before the coming judgment. Far from it. It is a comfortable life in at least what appears to be a secure “waiting room.” The note also reflects Schmitt’s love of wordplay. He speaks about the “Wanderer” settling down and becoming the “War tende,” clearly a reference to the transformation of the Wandering Jew.42 In 1947, it seems that, in Schmitt’s view at least, the Jew has settled down amid the world’s new, comfortable insouciance in the face of the Last Judgment. Finally, the new comfortable waiting for the Messiah is described as a symptom of the “jewification” that is afoot in the world, a phenomenon, Schmitt says, that was announced by Bruno Bauer. This talk of the world’s “jewification” seems horrifying in light of the destruction of European Jewry. How could Schmitt speak of “Verjudung” after the war? Is this not even worse than mere silence about the Shoah? I have earlier spoken about how Taubes, in his 1952 letter to Mohler (ACS, 31–35), complains that the explanation of “the concentration camps and the gas chambers” would have been the only suitable theme for a book titled Der Nomos der Erde (1950), a title that Taubes reads as alluding to John 13:34, “A new commandment [entolê] I give to you, that you love one another.” Taubes claims that the meaning of the new world order as Schmitt describes it must answer the fundamental question: How does it stand in relation to the order of eschatological love? To answer this question, Taubes insists, requires that Schmitt “stand eye to eye” with the reality of the concentration camp and the gas chamber. Picking up something he had said on the last page of OE, Taubes says that “we live in a decisive sense post Christum” (ACS, 34; PTP, 109). That is, humanity confronts the challenge of not letting history spin out of its orbit around a God who no longer seems present in the world. Does the “post Christum” existence of the West mean that Christianity is dead? Had Taubes read Schmitt’s note of February 7, 1947, he would have perhaps found confirmation of his suspicion, voiced in his letter to Mohler, that Schmitt had decided 42. Among the materials collected in JT-CS are entries in the Mohler family guestbook written by Taubes on the occasion of his visits to his friend. On July 10, 1958, Taubes inscribes the guestbook with a brief poem: “Ein wanderer Jude / fand im Hause Mohler / —in Pariser Exil— / ein Heim” (A wandering Jew found in the Mohler house—in Parisian exile—a home). Taubes could never be described as a Wartender, at least in the sense that Schmitt uses this term. Perhaps Taubes’s insistence on remaining a “wanderer” whose “home” could only be in exile is what in part made him attractive to Schmitt as an interlocutor, since Schmitt himself, while at home in Plettenberg, always saw himself as living the life of an exile.
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that the only connection humanity really needs to make is to the earth, not to the eschaton. The “jewification” of the world can be answered, in other words, only by an attempt at paganizing the world. This is what Taubes, at least in 1952, thinks Schmitt is after in Der Nomos der Erde. He thinks that Schmitt has lost his apocalyptical fervor and has abandoned political theology for Realpolitik. Taubes insists that theology remains decisive in the sphere of the political, but that it must confront the decisive turn of history into godlessness (Gott-ferne, as he puts it in OE, or Atheismus in his letter to Mohler), and he sees the concentration camp and gas chamber as signs of this turn. But Taubes is wrong in his assessment of Schmitt’s abandonment of his eschatological fervor, as he comes to recognize. Indeed, Schmitt himself, in a letter to Mohler of 1958, declares that Taubes was right in what he said about theology in his 1952 letter (that Mohler gave to Schmitt to read): “Taubes hat recht: Heute is alles Theologie, mit Ausnahme dessen, was die Theologen von sich geben” (Taubes is right: today everything is theology, with the exception of what the theologians themselves do with it) (ACS, 37). But what, then, do we make of Schmitt’s note about the “jewification” of the world as it is revealed in the loss of eschatological tension? Is this not a confirmation of Taubes’s sense that Schmitt is blind to the eschatological dimension of the concentration camp and how it bears on the West’s post-Christum existence? In fact, a closer reading of the note shows quite the opposite. But, as we now should be prepared to expect, Schmitt’s take on the eschatological significance of the concentration camp places him in “counterstriving jointure” with Taubes. Indeed, it takes us to the point in this “loving strife” where the tension is greatest. It takes us back to the Mysterium Judaicum. We must unpack the meaning of “Verjudung” in the note if we are to fully understand the celestial mechanics of the apocalypse that captures the uncanny orbit holding Taubes and Schmitt together. Schmitt’s reference to what Bauer calls “Verjudung” is to Bauer’s viciously anti-Semitic 1863 work Das Judenthum in der Fremde (Judaism Abroad).43 This is not the first reference that Schmitt makes to this book. 43. Bruno Bauer, Das Judenthum in der Fremde (Berlin: Heinicke, 1863). Of this work Scholem wrote, “Here one comes upon everything that was later preached in the Thousand-Year Reich, and in formulations no less radical” (On Jews and Judaism in Crisis: Selected Essays [New York: Schocken, 1976], 88). Bauer actually uses the term Verjüdelung throughout the work, not Verjudung, which became a standard term in the anti-Semitic literature of Wilhelm Marr and others later in the century. This is only one of several of Schmitt’s misquotations of Bauer. He gets the date of Bauer’s book wrong (it is 1863, not 1853), and he misquotes its final line. Obviously, the book was not in front of him when he wrote to Jünger, or he must have thought that he knew it so well that he could quote it without taking it from his shelf.
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Schmitt had referred to it by title in a letter he wrote to Ernst Jünger, dated February 25, 1945.44 Schmitt was responding to some of the ruminations of Jünger about the “Exterminierung der Juden” in a letter dated February 2 of the same year. Jünger said that he saw no way back to paganism (Heidentum), but only a choice between the Old and the New Testaments. “Any attack on the New only redounds the benefit of the Old” (Jünger-Schmitt Briefe, 188). Jünger explains that this accounts for the “vast spread of the Jewish morality” (ungeheure Ausbreitung der jüdischen Moral) that, released from its link to the Jews “because of the extermination of the Jews,” has become “free and virulent.” Responding to these remarks, Schmitt tells Jünger about the last lines of “an anti-Jewish writing of Bruno Bauer’s from the year 1853 Das Judenthum in der Fremde.” He then gives what he says is a “verbatim” (wörtlich) quotation from the close of Bauer’s book: “Aber schließlich hat Gott auch die Juden erschaffen, und wenn wir sie alle totschlagen, werden wir alle ihre Stelle einnehmen” (But finally God also created the Jews, and if we kill them all, we will all take their place) (Jünger-Schmitt Briefe, 190). This is not in fact what Bauer wrote. Bauer ends his essay in a “conciliatory mood” (versöhnliche Stimmung). He declares that he wants to protect the Jews “as the representatives of the profane and business-oriented worldly sensibility” (die Vertreter der profanen und geschäftsmäßigen Weltsinns). He then quotes Luther, who said that “if all useless people died, we would have to become useless since the devil requires his useless servants. Therefore, let them [the useless people] live after all, for God has granted them life.” Now Bauer brings his work to a close with the following sentence: “So bedarf der Herr dieser Welt, um seine endlichen und profanen Zwecke zur Ausführung zu bringen, der Juden und sein Bedürfniß ist so stark, daß er seine Armee schon jetzt zum Theil auch aus der Reihe der Christen rekrutirt; wären aber die Juden nicht so müßten wir Alle ihre Stelle einnehmen” (So the Ruler of this world needs the Jews in order to fulfill his finite and profane goals, and his need is so great that he is now in the process of recruiting from the ranks of Christians for his army [of Jews]; if, however, there were no Jews, we would all have to take their place) (Das Judenthum in der Fremde, 77). Bauer’s sentiment in this passage, repeated throughout his entire book, does indeed prefigure that of Jünger in his letter to Schmitt. Both Jünger and Bauer see the spread of Jewish “morality” into Germany and Christendom more widely. For Bauer, this means a spirit of profiteering, egotism, 44. Ernst Jünger, Carl Schmitt, and Helmuth Kiesel, Briefe, 1930–1983 (Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta, 1999), 190. Hereafter cited as Jünger-Schmitt Briefe.
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and revenge (Shylock is the type for the Jewish spirit taking over Germany). Perhaps that is also what Jünger has in mind as he witnesses the war’s closing months. But this does not capture what Schmitt reads in Bauer’s final lines. He suggests that the murder of the Jews, something Bauer explicitly warns his readers against, has realized the prophecy that Bauer closes his book with: “We will all have to take their place.” At one level, this means the “jewification” of Christendom and its loss of eschatological pathos (we will all turn into “those who wait,” as he puts it in his 1947 Glossarium note). But at another level, and this is the critical level for Schmitt, it means that the army of the Antichrist will swell its ranks, accelerating the apocalypse and the Last Judgment. For Schmitt, the apocalypse will mean a worldwide war of annihilation (Vernichtungskrieg), waged not on land and sea but entirely from the air. Schmitt refers in one of his letters to Jünger from 1942 to the kabbalistic story of the “Vogel Ziz” that, like the Phoenix (Ziz is the rabbinic name for this bird), will rise from the ashes of destruction.45 He sees the revenge of the Ziz already taking place in the Allies’ firebombing of German cities (Jünger-Schmitt Briefe, 110). In Der Nomos der Erde, Schmitt describes the atom bomb as the enforcement mechanism of the new US air-based world order. In this world order, all wars are civil wars that are always “wars of annihilation” against the enemy who is placed outside the protection of all rights.46 In effect, a US-led “jewified” humanity with its “air” empire will annihilate its dehumanized, earth-dwelling enemy, resulting in an atomic holocaust that could be called the final revenge of the Jewish Ziz bird.47 Let me put the point I think Schmitt is 45. For the Ziz, together with Leviathan and Behemoth the “messianic beasts” in rabbinic lore, see Joseph Gutman, “Leviathan, Behemoth, and Ziz: Jewish Messianic Symbols in Art,” Hebrew Union College Annual 39 (1968): 219–30. Schmitt’s fascination with the Leviathan is well known. His interest in the Ziz bird has not been sufficiently attended to, however. 46. “Das Flugzeug kommt angeflogen und wirft seine Bomben auf den Boden ab; der Tiefflieger läßt sich zum Boden herab und steigt wieder auf; beide üben ihre Vernichtungsfunktion aus und uberlassen dann sofort diesen Boden mit allem, was sich an Menschen oder Sachen darauf befindet, sienem Schicksal, d.h. den Machthabern des Bodenstaates. Ebsenso wie eine Betrachtung des Verhaltnisses von Kriegart und Beute, zeigt auch eine Betrachtung des Zusammenhangs von Schutz und Gehorsam die absolute Entortung und damit den reinen Vernichtungscharacter des modernen Luftkrieges” (The airplane quickly approaches and hurls its bombs to the earth; the low-flying aircraft descends and releases its bombs and then pulls away; both exercise their annihilation function and leave this territory with whatever is found in it, whether human beings or their property, to their fate, that is, to the discretion of the territorial state. From either the perspective of the relationship of warfare to spoils of war or from the perspective of protection and obedience, this shows the absolute despatializing and consequently pure annihilation character of modern air warfare) (Schmitt, Der Nomos der Erde, 298). 47. “Heute scheint es allerdings bereits denkbar, daß die Luft das Meer und vielleicht sogar auch noch die Erde frißt und daß die Menschen ihren Planeten in eine Kombination von Rohstofflager und
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making as clearly as possible: the war of annihilation against the Jews (“Exterminierung der Juden”) will turn “us” (the perpetrators) into Jews, the victims of the next war of annihilation waged by a “jewified” air-based global empire (“jewified” because its power is disconnected from the land, the source of “gentile” power). Schmitt is almost certainly not thinking about Paul’s warning to the Romans in Romans 11 not to gloat over how the Jews have become “enemies” of God because they, the Romans, can quite quickly also become enemies of God if they act out of pride in their new election. But for a scholar as versed as Schmitt was in church legal doctrine, he would certainly have known that from Augustine on, the protection of the Jews against either violent missionizing or violent economic depredations was considered part of the church’s historical role. He would have understood, whether he had the prooftext of Romans 11 in mind or not, that the extermination of the Jews was tantamount to the most serious of all possible encroachments of the political on the theological. It would be punished by the reversal of friend-enemy roles in the divine economy of salvation: “We will take their place.” Taubes could not guess that Schmitt had indeed stood “eye to eye” with the Mysterium Judaicum even before he drew his attention to Romans 11 in Plettenberg. Schmitt wrote Der Nomos der Erde to warn of the apocalyptic dimension of the new world order. The comfortable waiting that has become humanity’s post-Christian jewified religion is delusional. Taubes, it is clear, was simply wrong about Schmitt’s turn away from eschatological thinking in Der Nomos der Erde. Schmitt precisely hopes for a new “taking” (Nahme, connected according to Schmitt with Nomos) of the earth in which katechontic powers will hold their territorial claims but will not seek for global hegemony. In the absence of the taking or “placing” (Ortung), the new order will end in the despatialization (Entortung) and annihilation (Vernichtung) of the world as we know it. So Schmitt, quite like Taubes, sees humanity as poised at a decisive turning point in history. This is the significance of his use of Plato in the Glossarium note of 1947. The “jewification” of the world must be countered by a new paganism (or, perhaps better put, Romanism), to be sure, but this is needed only to hold the earth in place. Later, in 1963, Schmitt will go so far as to propose that a new kind of “telluric” partisan fighter might emerge from the Flugzeugträger verwanden. Dann werden neue Freundschaftslinien gezogen, jenseits deren dann die Atom- und Wasserstoffbomben fallen” (Today it is entirely conceivable that the air will devour the sea and even the earth as well, and that humans will transform their planet into a combination of raw material repository and aircraft carrier. Then there will be new amity lines drawn, beyond which the atomic and hydrogen bombs will fall) (ibid., 20).
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rubble of a future atomic war and “occupy the destroyed territory.” And then, Schmitt adds, this new partisan will “add a new chapter to world history with a new form of spatial taking [Raumnahme].”48 Thus the Katechon or restrainer will hold the earth from losing its God-focused orbit, but not in the name of a battle against the Antichrist. That eschatological pathos must be superseded if humanity is to keep the earth from burning up in the flames of the selfconsuming Ziz, the Phoenix of the apocalypse. We are now at last in a position to understand the depth of the palintro pos harmoniê that holds Taubes and Schmitt in “loving strife” and that maintains history’s breathing space during the Galgenfrist. Schmitt hopes for a reprieve from the judgment that seems impending on Christian humanity for having sought to do to the Jews what Bauer prophesied would end in “all of us taking their place.” For Schmitt, the apocalyptic destruction by fire that will happen when “we take the place of the Jews” can be averted only if humanity turns back to the earth in a new telluric (or autochthonous) Romanism that is, quite ironically, the only way to preserve humanity until Christ’s Second Coming. Taubes has an altogether different sense of the time of reprieve. For Taubes, the time of reprieve requires humanity to return to the covenant, although one that is no longer the covenant of the law (nomos). If Schmitt wants to take us back to the Romans (the quintessential “takers” of the earth and the creators of European ius/nomos), then Taubes wants to take us back to the Jew Paul and his Letter to the Romans. In the end, the “loving strife” between Taubes and Schmitt is not between a Jew and a Christian but between a Pauline Jew and a Roman Christian. Let me first explain what I mean by “Pauline Jew.” I do not mean that Taubes has adopted some sort of Jewish Christianity. Taubes remains within the Mosaic covenant, but he understands Paul to have clarified the eschatological dimension always already present within the covenant. The covenant, Taubes says in OE, is what ties history to God. But to live in the time opened up by the covenant is to live in the time when the covenant itself is threatened with dissolution. “Covenant-rebellion-misfortune are the syllogisms of the prophetic message,” Taubes writes. “In prophecy, disaster is near at hand.” On the other hand, the covenant, although strained to the breaking point, will not break. “Prophecy never fails to predict salvation.” But the salvation is not the salvation of the world as such, but the salvation of a remnant who “wait in a 48. Carl Schmitt, Theorie des Partisanen: Zwischenbemerkung zum Begriff des Politischen (Berlin: Duncker und Humblot, 1963), 82.
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state of constant expectation [steten Harren]” (OE, 21). Paul, Taubes explains in OE, offers salvation to Israel on precisely these prophetic terms and deliberately figures himself as a Moses redivivus. Paul calls on his listeners to live in the tension of the breaking of the covenant. The cross is the sign that the covenant itself is caught in the tension of the Galgenfrist. Before the Latin crux entered German as Kreuz, the Old High German word galgo was used to refer to the cross. This was because death by hanging involved pulling down a strong tree branch and tying the individual to it by a rope attached to his neck. The branch was released and the individual was strangled. When Jesus died on the cross, the covenant became a noose with which to punish the executioners, but a reprieve was issued. The reprieve was issued in order for the covenant to be widened, to encompass all humanity and not simply Israel. This is how Taubes reads chapter 11 of Romans in PTP. Paul acts as Moses once did, saving Israel from destruction. There is only one covenant, but it is seen less as the covenant of a fixed and stable legal order than as the stretching to the breaking point of the law, a stretching that widens the noose and puts all humans within the tension of living with their faces toward the end of history, at the permanent turning point of revolution. What does the stretching to the breaking point of the covenant mean more precisely? In a passage from the 1952 letter to Mohler, Taubes writes that “there are relationships between one human and another that ‘exceed,’ ‘transcend’ the law—love, mercy, forgiveness (and not at all sentimentally, but in reality)” (ACS, 35; PTP, 110). He concludes: “This always leads me again and again—against my ‘will’—to Paul.” Paul is the gravitational focus for Taubes. Taubes feels history is threatened with becoming unsprung and flying off into nothingness. He reads Paul as sharing this sensibility, most acutely because of the threat to the covenant posed by carnal Israel’s rejection of Christ. Taubes does not return against his will to Paul because he is drawn to Paul’s proclamation of a new covenant, but to Paul’s proclamation of the Torah of a justice beyond the law, a justice that issues a reprieve when time has apparently run out. Those who take Paul to have preached a new covenant that breaks completely with the covenant of law break apart history’s relation to the two Godfoci of the eschatological ellipse. A radically new covenant, if it is premised on the complete rupture of the old covenant, will end up devaluing history by emphasizing God’s intersection with humanity either in a purely individual and spiritual inwardness or in a universal (catholic) world(ly) empire. Paul, for Taubes, preaches the covenant not as broken but stretched to a breaking point that defines a turning point, a tropê. As if he stood at Plato’s great tropê (turn)
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between one age and another, Paul announces a “turning back” (Umkehr) toward the rule of God, what in Hebrew is named teshuvah. This turning holds history in its eschatological orbit. Taubes returns to Paul because he takes him to preach the covenant in the critical moment (kairos) of its greatest eschatological tension. I have said that while Taubes sees himself as positioned within the covenantal tension proclaimed by Paul (in the exceptional time of the reprieve issued through God’s sovereign justice beyond the law), Schmitt positions himself as a Roman Christian at the time of Paul. Like Taubes, Schmitt senses history to be on the brink of the apocalypse. As Schmitt puts it in the final line of his 1950 essay collection Donoso Cortés in europäischer Interpretation, “The historic parallels [between the Roman Empire at the turn of the Christian era and Europe in the nineteenth century] have melted away [zergehen] and now the present God puts us to the test [uns erprobt jetzt der präsente Gott].”49 Cortés, Schmitt explained earlier in the essay, believed that the only possible regeneration of Europe lay in a return to the apocalyptic dynamism of the early church. The world of nineteenth-century Europe was possessed by nothing less than a demonic Promethean impulse to place Man in the role of God. But the logic of homo homini deus (man is god to fellow man) requires the positing of an “Untermensch” to occupy the old place of the merely human Man. This Untermensch, Schmitt explains, can only be the object of “Ausrottung” (extermination) and “Vernichtung” (annihilation) (Donoso Cortés, 111). So Cortés, to restrain this apocalyptic scenario where one human being executes final judgment on another, calls for a counterapocalyptic decision in favor of installing a dictatorial state power. We have seen that this is how Schmitt interprets Paul’s appeal to support for the Katechon in 2 Thessalonians, namely, as support for the Roman emperor as the restrainer of the Antichrist. But in 1950 Schmitt no longer considers Cortés’s position to be entirely viable. He now describes himself as a “Christian Epimetheus.” Schmitt, in a brief essay also published in 1950, “Drei Stufen historischer Sinngebung,” explains that he adopts “Christian Epimetheus” from the German poet Konrad Weiß (1880–1940). Weiß understood that more was needed in his day than holding forces to keep humanity from falling into the abyss of apocalyptic self-destruction. “He [Weiß] says that historical conditions are always more in need of conquering [gewinnen] than of holding” (931). What is called for is a full appreciation of Weiß’s “dark 49. Carl Schmitt, Donoso Cortés in europäischer Interpretation: Vier Aufsätze (Cologne: Greven, 1950), 114.
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truth” that there is nothing left to hold. The Katechon has disappeared.50 While Weiß’s theologically tinged pessimism may seem to some to be “mere mysticism about history [Geschichtsmystik],” his truth offers a “counterforce [Gegen-Kraft] against the neutralization of history into a generic humanness, into a museum of the past, into an exchangeable costume to cover the nakedness of the active meaning-positings of meaningless people [aktivische Sinn gebungen des Sinnlosen]” (931). For Schmitt, the only viable relation to history for a Christian is not “active meaning-positing” but “the active contemplation of the dark meaning of our history” (930). The Christian Epimetheus is the antidote to the Promethean hubris of pointlessly active “meaningless people.” To gaze into the dark heart of the impending apocalypse takes one on a “passage through lack, hunger, and growing impotence [Gang durch Mangel, Hunger, und stärkenden Ohnmacht]” (930). Schmitt adopts now what he calls Weiß’s “Marian conception of history,” that is, one that looks on the death of Jesus, humanity’s hope, and weeps. A decade earlier, Schmitt had looked forward to a new “Raumordnung” under a risen German Reich. Now he figures himself as the “impotent” witness to the triumph of despatializing air warfare with atomic weapons that are put in service of annihilating the “Unmenschen” of the world. Schmitt understands that Germany, divided between West and East, may soon be what US war plans called “Ground Zero” of the apocalyptic battle that he, the Christian Epimetheus, is helpless to prevent. And I am claiming that Schmitt’s “active contemplation of the dark meaning of our history” includes the thought that, as victims of this war of annihilation in the global civil war between East and West, the Germans will have “taken the place of the Jews.” As he wrote to Jünger, paraphrasing the words of Bauer, “if we kill them all, we will only take their place.” As a Christian Roman, Schmitt looks in dark resignation on the death of Jesus and also the fall of the Third Reich, the last aspirant to fulfill the role of katechontic Rome. As a Pauline Jew, Taubes internalizes the failure of all of Israel’s messianic aspirants from Jesus to Sabbatai Zvi, but he does not weep, nor does he weep over the passing of “Rome.” In 1947 Taubes, like Schmitt in his 1950 essay “Drei Stufen,” looks 50. The idea that the bomb itself might be the new Katechon seems not to have occurred to Schmitt, although it was, in essence, the position adopted by John Foster Dulles, who, in many ways, looked on history in terms not dissimilar from those of Schmitt. One might even say that Dulles is the Christian analogue of Schmitt on the winning side. For a fascinating description of Dulles’s political philosophy and philosophy of history, see Ole Holsti, “The ‘Operational Code’ Approach to the Study of Political Leaders: John Foster Dulles’ Philosophical and Instrumental Beliefs,” Canadian Journal of Political Science 3, no. 1 (1970): 123–57.
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into the darkness of history. “If, looking into the beauty of night, man does not mistake it but sees the darkness for what it is; if he recognizes his protective shells as mirages [Verstellungen]; if he perceives his insistence as dogged resistance [Versteifung] and unmasks his self-made measures for the lies and errors they are—then the day will dawn in this human world, and the transition from insistence to existence will follow” (OE, 194). Let me conclude these reflections about the palintropos harmoniê that links Taubes and Schmitt “in loving strife” by connecting this theme to Schmitt’s own thoughts about the intimate relation of friend and enemy. Adopting a phrase from the poet Theodor Däubler, Schmitt in Ex Captivate Salus (1950) reflects at some length on the enemy as “our own question as a figure” (unsre eigne Frage als Gestalt), and from the context it is clear that he intends to allude to the crisis of recognition described in G. W. F. Hegel’s master-slave dialectic.51 Taubes perhaps wants Schmitt to recognize him as he is willing to recognize Schmitt, as an enemy without whom his own position is inconceivable, as therefore both enemy and friend. But Schmitt may not be able to respond to this overture. Referring to Hegel as “the philosopher,” Schmitt calls the friend-enemy relation the negation of negation. The friendenemy relation maintains a tension between opposing poles in which neither annihilates the other. Therefore, the friend-enemy relation negates the complete negation of the other member of the pair. “Der Feind ist der Andere. Erinnere dich der großen Sätze des Philosophen: Die Beziehung im Andern auf sich selbst, das ist das wahrhaft Unendliche. Die Negation der Negation, sagt der Philosoph, ist keine Neutralisation, sondern das wahrhaft Unendliche hängt davon ab” (The enemy is the other. Recall the great line from the philosopher: one’s relationship in the other as related to oneself, that is the authentic infinite. The negation of the negation, the philosopher says, is no neutralization, but rather the authentic infinite depends upon it). Taubes goes to Plettenberg to teach Schmitt about Paul. He wants to show him that enmity is incapable of restraining annihilation, of restraining the end of history, in other words. Only the covenant can negate annihilation. Only the covenant can hold the trajectory of history in its eschatological orbit. At the teleological apogee of that orbit when history threatens to veer off into pure endless movement (the “unmaking of the world”), the Jew—and Jews like Taubes who recognize in Paul a fellow revolutionary apocalypticist of the covenant—is the one 51. Carl Schmitt, Ex captivitate salus: Erfahrungen der Zeit, 1945–47, 2nd ed. (Berlin: Duncker und Humblot, 2002), 90. The verse is from Theodor Däubler, “Sang an Palermo,” in Hymne an Italien (Munich: Müller, 1916), 58.
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who holds fast to the covenant so that humanity is not sprung free from God and hurled into nothingness. The Jew, Paul says in Romans, is the enemy of God, but beloved for the sake of the gentiles. Taubes went to Plettenberg to show Schmitt that he, Taubes, remains faithful to the covenantal tension—the straining to the covenant’s breaking point—that is part of God himself, the tension between the God of Creation and the God of Redemption, the axiological God and the teleological God defining the two foci of the eschatological ellipse. The Jew will not accept the fulfillment of Creation in Christ, and therefore stands under judgment of condemnation as “enemy of God.” But Paul beseeches God to stay his judgment and give the Jews time, which also means time for “the gentiles.” What Paul does, according to Taubes in PTP (47), is nothing less than what Moses did after the Israelites built the golden calf, and it is nothing more than what all Jews do on the Day of Atonement, namely, pray for “the suspension of the destruction that was pledged [geschworen] by God.” The Galgenfrist, the time of reprieve, is all that Moses, Paul, and the Jew ask from God. Why cannot Schmitt, who also experiences time as Gal genfrist, pray together with Taubes? The idea of the Pauline Jew as covenantly faithful to a God who needs humanity to release him from his world-destroying aspect was probably not something that Schmitt could have been expected to respond warmly to.52 But this is too facile an answer to the question of why Taubes and Schmitt cannot pray together. Schmitt cannot pray “for the suspension of judgment” because, as a Christian Epimetheus, his gaze is turned backward only on the darkness of defeat. The judgment of God on his Rome has already been executed. After the defeat of Germany, Schmitt speaks from his captivity (ex captivate) within a “jewified” world: his salvation will not come from the Jews (salus ex Judeis, John 4:22, the phrase Schmitt adapts for the title of his reflections on his fate during his interrogation by the American prosecutors in Nuremberg). For it is at the hands of the “Jews” that he suffers his incarceration. Taubes, as a Pauline Jew, looks to a future when “all Israel will be saved.” For both men, Rome and Israel have parted ways and now stand at the greatest tension of their “counterstriving jointure.” For Schmitt, this is cause for tears; for Taubes, it is an occasion of hope. How can they pray together? In the final analysis, perhaps Schmitt falls out of the equation entirely for Taubes. Perhaps it was never really Schmitt with whom Taubes fought his 52. “That I did not know!” is what Taubes reports Schmitt said when he argued that Paul saw himself as an intercessor like Moses, asking God to grant the Jews a “time of reprieve” that would also allow time to save the rest of the world (PTP, 51).
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“loving quarrel”; it was God.53 What Schmitt says about friend and enemy held in endless negation of the other without annihilating the other is exactly what Taubes says about the world and God: “God and world are not distant, but estranged and divided,” Taubes writes in OE, “and therefore hold each other in mutual tension” (39). This tension, however, is not the last word. Love, rather than enmity, “promises new things” (OE, 40). For Schmitt, history holds nothing new except new figures, Gestalten, of the enemy. But love, Taubes teaches us, is figure-destroying, gestalt-zerstörend. This is why Taubes identifies with Paul. Quoting Romans 13, where Paul says that “Love your neighbor as yourself” (and not the commandment to “love God with all your heart, all your soul, all your might”) is the fulfillment of the law, Taubes writes: “No dual commandment, but rather one commandment. I regard this as an absolutely revolutionary act” (PTP, 53). This “new commandment”—new because it is no longer secondary to love for God but the expression of a loving strife with God—is what Taubes wanted Schmitt to acknowledge as the new “nomos of the earth.” In the end, loving strife between us earthbound creatures must become, simply, love if we are not going to lose our planetary way.
53. Taubes says this much of Schmitt, that despite his battle against the Jews’ triumph over the gentiles, he “saw more clearly at a deeper level how impotent such a ‘protest’ against God and history is” (ACS, 25).
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