A philosopher, rabbi, religious historian, and Gnostic, Jacob Taubes was for many years a correspondent and interlocutor of Carl Schmitt (1888-1985), a German jurist, philosopher, political theorist, law professor-and self-professed Nazi. Despite their unlikely association, Taubes and Schmitt shared an abiding interest in the fundamental problems of political theology, believing the great challenges of modern political theory were ancient in pedigree and, in many cases, anticipated the works of Judeo-Christian eschatologists. In this collection of Taubes's writings on Schmitt, the two intellectuals work through ideas of the apocalypse and other central concepts of political theology. Taubes acknowledges Schmitt's reservations about the weakness of liberal democracy yet distances himself from his prescription to rectify it, arguing the apocalyptic worldview requires less of a rigid hierarchical social ordering than a community committed to the importance of decision making.
In these writings, a sharper and more nuanced portrait of Schmitt's thought emerges, as well as a more complicated understanding of Taubes, who has shaped the work of Giorgio Agamben, Peter Sloterdijk, and other major twentieth-century theorists.
Jacob Taubes (1923-1987) was professor of Jewish studies and hermeneutics at the Free University of Berlin. His books include From Cult to Culture: Fragments Toward a Critique of Historical Reason; Occidental Eschatology; and The Political Theology of Paul. Keith Tribe is an independent scholar and the author of Strategies of Economic Order: German Economics, 1750-1950. He is also the translator of works by Reinhart Koselleck and Wilhelm Hennis. Mike Grimshaw is associate professor in sociology at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
Introduction: "A Very Rare Thing", by Michael Grimshaw Carl Schmitt: Apocalyptic Prophet of the Counter-revolution Letter to Armin Mohler Appendix: Four Passages from Letters of Carl Schmitt to Armin Mohler Letter to Carl Schmitt Extract from a Dispute About Carl Schmitt 1948-1978: Thirty Years of Refusal Editorial Note, by Peter Gente