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 thoughts on “Reference help

  1. 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)

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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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