This article starts from the observation that Giorgio Agamben, in making the Roman sacratio the emblem for the modern political condition, passes over the peculiarities of the curse as a speech act. He suggests that Walter Benjamin offers the tools for such an analysis and hence for determining the linguistic conditions of political theology. He demonstrates the curse's ineluctable role in the theopolitical programs of Carl Schmitt, Martin Buber, and Erik Peterson and argues that the complications of secularization—famously debated between Schmitt and Hans Blumenberg—are best understood with the linguistic and performative transformations of sacred cursing in mind.
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New German Critique, Inc.