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7 The Miraculous Birth of the Given: Reflections on Hannah Arendt and Franz Rosenzweig

Edited by Randi Rashkover and Martin Kav Indiana University Press ePub

In his Political Theology Carl Schmitt famously claimed that all significant political concepts are reinhabitations of theological concepts and that the power of the sovereign to declare a state of exception (that is, to interrupt and suspend the order of formal legality) was like a “miracle” as “the power of real life breaks through the crust of a mechanism that has become torpid by repetition.”1 Schmitt’s recourse to the metaphor of the miracle was intended to capture the interruptive force of the sovereign decision, its introduction of a radical break in existing patterns of life. To this end, he repeatedly emphasized the gap separating the sovereign’s constituent power from the subsequently constituted and institutionalized powers of the juridical state, and he located the dignity of the political sphere precisely in the irreducibility of the former to the latter. In her own explicitly post-theological theorizing of the political, Hannah Arendt follows Schmitt in appealing to the language of miracles. And Schmitt’s emphasis on the unexpected and interruptive force of the “miraculous” instituting deed is also characteristic of many of Hannah Arendt’s best known invocations of the term. Thus, in “What Is Freedom?” she claims that “every act, seen from the perspective not of the agent but of the process in whose framework it occurs and whose automatism it interrupts, is a ‘miracle’—that is, something which could not be expected.”2 Or again, in The Human Condition, when distinguishing action from the related activities of labor and work, she notes that “just as, from the standpoint of nature, the rectilinear movement of man’s lifespan between birth and death looks like a peculiar deviation from the common natural rule of cyclical movement, thus action, seen from the viewpoint of the automatic processes which seem to determine the course of the world, looks like a miracle.”3 These passages suggest that what is miraculous in action is its interruptive force, its power to introduce a break in the “automatic processes” of everyday life,4 and they appear to support the impression of a strong affinity between the Schmittian and Arendtian conceptions of miracle.

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2. “A Clairvoyant of the First Water”

Sarah Diane Sasson Indiana University Press ePub


“A Clairvoyant of the First Water”

Nineteenth-century Americans from all walks of life believed in signs, premonitions, dreams, waking visions, and messages received orally or “impressed on the mind,” which were interpreted as evidence of a spiritual reality that existed alongside the physical world. They sought proof of immortality, not in scripture, nor theology, nor the reassurance of the clergy, but in communications from those who had “passed to the other side.” In 1848, mysterious rappings were reported at the Hydesville, New York home of Margaret and Catherine (Kate) Fox. Soon, messages from the spirit world swept over the country, producing an industry of mediums, trance lecturers, and writers who supported themselves as professional spiritualists. Mainstream clergy denounced spiritualism, but many liberal congregations included members who followed unconventional religious paths. In Brooklyn, spiritualism was so widespread that the Daily Eagle regularly reported on it, albeit with bemused condescension.

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Onan Comes In From the Cold

Robert Flynn University of North Texas Press PDF

Onan Comes In

From The Cold j

When John was born, his mother said, “It’s a boy.” When Roybal was born, she said, “Another boy.” When John was a child, his mother told friends, “He’s a good boy.” When Roybal was a child, she told strangers, “I wanted another child but not this one.”

In Chillicothe Middle School, John was called Big John.

John liked being called Big John. Roybal was called Roybal and boys stretched it out and accented the last syllable—

Royyyy-bullllll. Roybal hated his name although his mother said he was named after a movie star. When he got to college where there was a library, he discovered the movie star was

Royal Ballet.

In high school Big John made good grades because he was an athlete with boyish charm and joked with his teachers. He never did homework because he was too busy chasing balls, girls, or a good time. He scored high on exams because the smart kids passed him the answers to win his smile.

Roybal made bad grades because he was smarter than his brother or anyone else in his school but he wanted to be liked and the smartest kid was never liked. He never did homework because he already knew all that stuff. He aced exams but his teachers gave him bad grades because they thought he cheated.

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2. Spirit and Nature: Pentecostal Pneumatology in Dialogue with Tillich’s Pneumatological Ontology

Edited by Nimi Wariboko and Amos Yong Indiana University Press ePub

The doctrine of the Spirit is central to both Tillich’s theology and Pentecostal experience, despite the fact that little has been written about the pneumatology of either. Tillich did not develop a systematic pneumatological focus until late in life.1 Pentecostals have just begun to formulate their pneumatological convictions as theological propositions.2 The present chapter attempts to bring both worlds into dialogue. I argue that Tillich’s work forms a bridge for contemporary Pentecostal thought to both Protestant liberalism and German idealism by creating a synthesis of Schelling’s philosophy of nature and Schleiermacher’s doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The result is a theory of being that posits the Spirit as a central link between the concerns of religion, culture, and morality. My goal is twofold: first, to shed light on the ontological and pneumatological foundations of Tillich’s thought, and second, to provide with these elaborations a foundation for a Pentecostal pneumatological ontology. In turn, I am also allowing Pentecostal theology to critically engage Tillich’s proposal. In Tillich’s framework of the unity of nature and spirit, the formulation of a Pentecostal pneumatology can find its ontological foundation.

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4 “Yet Many Do Not Declare Themselves for Fear”

Juan Francisco Martinez University of North Texas Press PDF

“Yet Many Do Not Declare Themselves for Fear”


the Mexican Americans in the Southwest. A few tentative efforts were made in Texas and New Mexico, but they all ended by 1861 after a limited response from the Mexican American population, inadequate financial support for the missionaries, and the onset of the Civil War.


Sumner Bacon, a Cumberland Presbyterian, began working among Anglo American colonists in Mexican Tejas in 1829. In

1833 he secured a commission from the American Bible Society to distribute English and Spanish Bibles. He was able to distribute Spanish Bibles among several people, although apparently it violated Mexican law. Bacon found little support for this effort and there were no reported results.

When Texas became an independent republic in 1836, Old

School Presbyterians decided to consider it a foreign field. In

1839 the foreign mission board assigned William C. Blair to work among Mexicans in the southwestern part of the republic. Blair arrived in Texas in 1840 and settled in Victoria on the

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