Merely Political: Waldemar Gurian and Carl Schmitt’s Early Political-Theological Divide

Chapter
Part of the Boston Studies in Philosophy, Religion and Public Life book series (BSPR, volume 6)

Abstract

In the midst of the dissolution of the Weimar Republic, the personal, the political and the theological collided for the German intellectuals who explored the areas of Church-state relations, constitutional law, intellectual history and cultural criticism. Carl Schmitt serves as a prime example of one for whom the consequences of professional political decisions threw into upheaval, and in many cases permanently ruined, friendships that had been formative to his development as a legal and political theorist. The obvious narrative is that Schmitt’s turn to National Socialism in 1932 caused many of his acquaintances, Catholic intellectuals who had adored his early work and who had in turn helped shape it, to abandon him entirely. Perhaps the most dramatic of these ruptures is that between Schmitt and his student, Waldemar Gurian, which seems to have been brought on by the former’s alliance with the Papen government and the publication of 1932s Legalität und Legitimität with its concept of the “total state.” However, this is an incomplete account of the friend-to-enemy transformation of this relationship, which, I would argue, begins not with National Socialism, but with the Church.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boston UniversityBostonUSA

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