The Ill Legitimacies of the Modern Age

Carl Schmitt, Hans Blumenberg In Correspondence, Ulrike Kistner
In making the case for the public role of religion in post-modernity, post-secularism posits the trans-latability of the claims of religion into claims on the grounds of morality and rationality. While much scope is given to this interrelation, the problem of legitimacy/legitimation, if not conjured away altogether, has received rather less attention. Placing it centre-stage, this article proposes to investigate it within the framework of political theology. To the re-statement of the
more » ... nt of the problematic of 'secu-lar modernity', the debates between Carl Schmitt and Hans Blumenberg make a definitive contribution , which I would like to consider in this article. In the eyes of some commentators, Schmitt and Blumenberg hold opposed positions on modernity-Schmitt asserting the persistence of political theology in the political forms of modern societies, and Blumenberg tracing the recession of the theological, making way for reflexive modernity. However, far from a simple opposition, we can observe a complex intertwinement of their respective positions. With the shifting sand between them, the common ground of their opposition disintegrates, opening paths for investigating an interarticu-lation of their claims, now no longer mutually exclusive or contradictory, with possibilities for an account of the role of the theologico-political distinct from, and beyond (post-) secularism debates. Die Kontinuität der Geschichte über die Epochenschwelle hinweg liegt nicht im Fortbestand ideeller Substanzen, sondern in der Hypothek der Probleme, die auch und wieder zu wissen auferlegt, was schon einmal gewusst worden war. (Blumenberg 1996 [1966]:59)