Reference help

Does anyone remember where Agamben calls Christianity (or maybe Roman Catholicism in particular) “the bureaucracy of grace”?

I don’t think I’m hallucinating it or creating my own more clever version of something Agamben said, but I guess either is possible. I thought it was in Means without Ends, but I couldn’t find it last time I looked.

8 Responses to “Reference help”

  1. tirado Says:

    I couldn’t say with certainty, but would it be in Il regno e la gloria? It seems like a plausible place where he could say something like that.

  2. Adam Kotsko Says:

    That is a good guess, but I remember reading the phrase in English, so that can’t be it.

  3. marcegoodman Says:

    Here’s a shot in the dark from shaky ground.

    It is obvious that for Paul grace cannot constitute a separate realm that is alongside that of obligation and law. Rather, grace entails nothing more than the ability to use the sphere of social determinations and services in its totality.

    The Time That Remains (124)

  4. Adam Kotsko Says:

    Marc, I appreciate the effort, but it would take a huge stretch, and arguably a misunderstanding of Agamben’s intent there, to get from your quote to my phrase. I’m thinking of something that’s either literally “bureaucracy of grace” or really really close. I now remember that he contrasts it with Judaism — possibly in a discussion of Kafka.

  5. marcegoodman Says:

    Thanks, Adam. I suspected this was likely a stretch, but now that you mention Kafka and the contrast with Judaism, it seems this sentence from the preceding page in TTTR gets closer.

    A Kafkaesque universe of grace is specifically present in Christian dogma, just as a Kafkaesque universe of the law is present in Judaism.

  6. Adam Kotsko Says:

    That probably is what I’m thinking of, but if so, I’m disappointed not to be able to find my exact phrase, because it’s a good phrase!

  7. marcegoodman Says:

    It is a good phrase. Only one appearance in all of Google Book Search.

  8. indiefaith Says:

    I assume Agamben is then quoting Paul who refers to the ‘economy of God’s grace’ and then later the ‘economy of that mystery’ (Ephesians 3:2,9). It is often translated ‘administration’ but is suspect bureaucracy would work just as well.
    Would that narrow the search down?

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