In “Critique of Violence,” Benjamin writes that the “educative power, which in its perfected form stands outside the law, is one of [divine violence’s] manifestations.” To recognize the connection Benjamin makes between a messianic power and acts of pedagogy allows us to revisit Benjamin’s earlier writings on education with an eye toward uncovering their radical messianic potential. Against the manifestations of the “mythic violence” inherent in the institutions of law, education answers with a bloodless pedagogical violence. If not itself divine, educative power works in tandem with “divinity” to produce responses that are not predetermined by what already is or by our notions of what must be.

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