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Ernst Bloch's Messianism. The Inheritance of a Theological Trope and its Political-Philosophical Significance

Citation: Filauri, Federico (2024) Ernst Bloch's Messianism. The Inheritance of a Theological Trope and its Political-Philosophical Significance. Doctoral thesis, School of Advanced Study.

Filauri_PhD Thesis.pdf

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The thesis consists in a historical-philosophical study of German-Jewish thought of the Twentieth Century, with an emphasis on theological-political aspects, aiming to contribute to the understanding of the religious background within which Ernst Bloch acquired and reformulated messianic tropes by analysing their multiple shades of meaning. The thesis starts with a brief survey of past and current scholarship on Bloch’s messianism, underlining the shortcomings of available interpretations. The thesis then reconstructs the complexities of the meaning of ‘messianism’ by tracing a social history of the term, from its emergence in German Romanticism, to Polish Romantic Messianism, liberal Judaism and its counterpoint in the radicalisation of the Jewish messianic idea at the beginning of the 20th century, discussing Bloch and his contemporaries. From there, the thesis focuses on Bloch only, analysing the various sources of his philosophy of religion, showing how Jewish, Christian and Gnostic mythologems are selected and used. This leads to the discussion of some theoretical aspects of Bloch’s philosophy. In so far as mythologems are politically charged, inherited and tap into the principle of hope, the thesis needs to clarify Bloch’s broader concept of the ‘political’, the process of inheritance and the notion of ‘principle’. These discussions allow to move on to the re-appraisal of Bloch’s messianism. The thesis demonstrates the role and value of the various mythologems in composing an original appropriation of the messianic trope. The thesis shows how Judeo-Christian mythologems, tinged with Gnostic overtones and twisted by Bloch’s atheism, address the problems of the fundaments of political actions and allow to envisage the ultimate political goal in the form of a sui generis theocracy. Lastly, the thesis discusses the contribution of Bloch’s philosophy to current debates in political theology, distinguishing between strong and weak messianism, this latter further divided into positive and negative weak messianism.

Creators: Filauri, Federico (0000-0001-8128-1155) and
Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Keywords: Ernst Bloch, Walter Benjamin, secularization, political theology, messianism, continental philosophy, jewish philosophy, german philosophy, political philosophy, philosophy of religion
Collections: Thesis
  • 31 March 2024 (accepted)


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