Written at the height of the Greek/German economic standoff of July 2015, this review article finds in Stathis Gourgouris's Lessons in Secular Criticism a powerful critique of some of the legacies of Europe's attachment to Greece as well as a reactivation of some of its potentials. Arguing for a newly articulated referentiality between the classical tradition and the streets of contemporary Athens, Gourgouris provides a kind of political philology, a sense of every generation's potential emancipatory activation of language. Political philology might be understood to operate as a frontal critique of political theology and partner to the secular humanism proposed by Edward Said. The political and aesthetic activation of secular criticism involves a practical poetics as well as a critique of the conceits of the postsecular, of the notion of a political theology, and the claims of heteronomy.
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Michael P. Steinberg; Political Philology. boundary 2 1 November 2016; 43 (4): 155–167. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-3653773
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