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From teleology to eschatology: The katechon and the political theology of the international law of belligerent occupation

Chapter in book
Authors Matilda Arvidsson
Published in In The contemporary relevance of Carl Schmitt: law, politics, theology
Pages 223-236
ISBN 9781138822931
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Abingdon
Publication year 2016
Published at
Pages 223-236
Language en
Keywords the katechon, Carl Schmitt, allmän rättslära, international law of belligerent occupation, eschatology, jurisprudence
Subject categories International law, Jurisprudence, Philosophy


While contemporary international law is often understood as teleological, encompassing notions such as progress, development, and prosperity for all of human kind, in this essay the field of the international law of belligerent occupation is read as katechonic, as embodying the figure of the katechon within international law’s eschatology. The essay considers Carl Schmitt’s political theology through his employment of the figure of the katechon, as well as Schmitt’s brief notes on international law of belligerent occupation. The reading that follows is an attempt to put Schmitt’s famous claim that ‘all significant concepts of the modern theory of the state are secularized theological concepts’ to use and to point to the contemporary relevance of Schmitt’s scholarship.

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