Miracle and Silence. Remarks on Schmitt and Dostoyevsky

Carlo Pontorieri


Through a review of some of the major works by Carl Schmitt, the author identifies a reflection on Dostoyevsky by the jurist of Plettenberg, starting from his essay Roman Catholicism and Political Form, published in 1925 (2nd ed.). The conflicting relationship between Carl Schmitt and the disturbing ecclesiological-political theory of the imaginary Cardinal of Seville from the fifth book of The Brothers Karamazov appears as a constant in Schmitt’s reflection, sometimes explicitly, sometimes with references to decipher; from the insistence on the analogy between miracle and state of emergency in Political Theology, to the constant reminder of Donoso Cortés, “spiritual successor of the great inquisitors”, and his anthropological pessimism. However, this position seems to undergo a change in the essay on Thomas Hobbes (1938) because of a recurring specific expression, also taken up in Ex captivitate salus, to define the historical and spiritual situation of the German intellectuals during the Nazi dictatorship.

Keywords Schmitt, Dostoyevsky, Hobbes, Grand Inquisitor, miracle, silence, martyr, Donoso Cortés, Kierkegaard, Nazism.

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