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Katechon: Carl Schmitt’s Theology of Empire

Katechon: Carl Schmitt’s Theology of Empire

Chapter:
(p.403) Twenty-Four Katechon: Carl Schmitt’s Theology of Empire
Source:
The Conquest of Ruins
Author(s):
Julia Hell
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226588223.003.0025

In chapter twenty-four the author explores how Carl Schmitt evolved into the neo-Roman theorist of empire, imperial mimesis, and imperial imaginary. With his katechontic theory of empire and imperial mimesis, Schmitt sums up the entire neo-Roman imperial tradition. Polybios developed his ideas about imperial endtimes at the moment when Rome conquered Carthage. Schmitt’s idea of the restrainer who postpones the empire’s end emerged in the early 1940s, when Werner Best, the leading theorist of “great space orders” in the SS, argued that the Nazi empire might be in the process of repeating Rome’s fall. The chapter concludes with Schmitt’s return to his concept of the Pauline katechon in the 1970s.

Keywords:   Carl Schmitt, Oswald Spengler, Werner Best, Herman Melville, katechon, Großraum, Reich, Nomos, imperial theology, state of exception

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