Engaging Agamben on the Time that Remains


  • Douglas Farrow McGill University




Giorgio Agamben, 2 Thessalonians, Pauline theology, Political theology and Contemporary Society, Eschatology and Apocalypticism


Giorgio Agamben's work at the intersection of political theology, biblical exegesis, and culture criticism is taken up appreciatively. In an argument framed by Paul's Damascus Road experience, key texts such as 1 Corinthians 7 and Romans 9–11 are explored with Agamben, new proposals being made, to set the stage for a discussion of 2 Thessalonians 2. Successful treatment of this last text, and of the dialectic of law and lawlessness as it appears there, requires more attention to context than Agamben affords. That includes the Thessalonian correspondence as a whole, the teaching of Jesus, and the book of Daniel that underlies both. It also includes an appreciation of the narrative and liturgical framing of Pauline eschatology. While Agamben is questioned on this score, and his reading of 2 Thessalonians 2 challenged, common cause is made in critique of church/state alliances around pandemic policy, alliances based on a lawless use of law. 

Author Biography

Douglas Farrow, McGill University

Professor Farrow is a Canadian citizen, married with five children. Before coming to McGill in 1998, he taught in the U.K. at King's College London, after completing his doctorate there under Colin Gunton. At McGill, alongside his lecturing and graduate supervision, he has served on the university's Academic Policy Committee, as on numerous Faculty or School committees, and engaged in the work of the Newman Institute. He pursues a broad range of interdisciplinary interests, anchored in theology, with colleagues here and elsewhere in North America or Europe. SS Paul, Irenaeus, Augustine, Anselm, Aquinas, and John Paul II provide much of the inspiration for these labours, which have a dual focus on classical theological loci and modern problems in the Church or in civil and state institutions, including the university.


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How to Cite

Farrow, D. (2023). Engaging Agamben on the Time that Remains. Arc: The Journal of the School of Religious Studies, 50(1), 165–204. https://doi.org/10.26443/arc.v50i.1106