A sovereign act of negation

Schmitt's political theology and its ideal medievalism

Clare Monagle*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


This article argues that Carl Schmitt's political theology is premised on an idealised and totalising vision of the Middle Ages. That is, he casts modern political concepts as debased and corrupt in comparison to the proper politics of the Medieval Church, as he sees it. Drawing on a historically contextualized reading of the Fourth Lateran Council, which took place in 1215, the article's author argues that Schmitt's medieval comparison is much more complicatedthan he suggests. Schmitt's historical vision is, thus, a wilful projection of unity onto a diverse and distant past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-127
Number of pages13
JournalCulture, Theory and Critique
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

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