Paul W. Kahn presents political theology as a secular inquiry into ultimate meanings sustaining an American faith in the popular sovereign. He works out this view through an engagement with Carl Schmitt's 1922 classic, Political Theology: Four Chapters on the Concept of Sovereignty. Kahn offers a new version of each chapter, which is responsive to the American political imaginary. As in Schmitt's work, sovereignty remains central, yet Kahn shows how popular sovereignty creates an ethos of sacrifice in the modern state. Turning to law, Kahn demonstrates how the line between exception and judicial decision is not as sharp as Schmitt may have led us to believe. He reminds readers that American political life begins with the revolutionary willingness to sacrifice and that both sacrifice and law continue to ground the American political imagination. Kahn offers a political theology that has at its center the practice of freedom realized in political decisions, legal judgments, and finally in philosophical inquiry itself.
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