This essay attempts a rather minimalistic reconstruction of different understandings of the notion of calling (klēsis, vocatio, Beruf) from Paul to Giorgio Agamben in an effort to better understand and more accurately gauge Agamben's reading of Paul's Letter to the Romans. At issue is in part the political and the eschatological dimensions of the Pauline usage of klēsis and of related political-theological concepts at work in Martin Luther, Max Weber, and Agamben. The essay should be read as a point of departure for two considerations that seem of particular interest: the (biopolitical) implications of the emergence of the modern notion of Beruf, and the relevance and possibility of a “secularized” or “postsecular” messianism.

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