Faculty Publications

Document Type


Publication Date



This article examines the idea of law within two recent philosophical approaches to a theological text. Giorgio Agamben and Alain Badiou, two postmodern philosophers on the political left, look to the letters of St. Paul for the definition and extraction of the political subject. They look to Paul’s messianism and his conversion to discover, within their own philosophical projects, what is truly political within the Western philosophical tradition, for which Paul’s theology is unconditional. The article focuses on the conception of law that, in turn, derives from these projects. The article suggests that within both, despite the objective rejection of positive law, a formalist conception of law returns as the necessary passage between the theological context and the political subject. The article concludes with a discussion of the risks, for the political subject, of the return of this idea of law as the passage to the subject’s political realization.