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Paulus som messiansk tänkare hos Lars Ahlin och Giorgio Agamben

  • Kari Lövaas


What does it mean to live in the world, albeit not of the world? This Pauline dictum plays a decisive role in several texts published by the Swedish author Lars Ahlin during the 1960s. It also structures the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben's analysis of messianic time in his book on Paul, The Time That Remains (2000). By way of comparing Ahlin's and Agamben's readings of Paul's "now-time", this article on the one hand shows the relevance of Ahlin's thoughts to post-secular theory. On the other hand, it problematizes some of the conclusions Agamben draws from his analysis. Ahlin and Agamben seem to converge in seeing Paul as a spokesman of the radical transience of worldly affairs, which implies rejecting the existence of eternal values. Whereas Ahlin, however, seems to believe in a truly living God transcending the created world and human systems of value, Agamben on his part rejects every notion of transcendence. In his conceptualization of messianic time as a "happy life", Agamben seems to promote the possibility to repeal the fallen state of man already here and now. Ahlin on his side insists on the unfulfilled aspect of the history of redemption, which implies a turn to ethics, as well as a reformist political stance.