Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Wrestling with the AngelExperiments in Symbolic Life$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Tracy McNulty

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161190

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161190.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 13 June 2021

The Commandment Against the Law

The Commandment Against the Law

Writing and Divine Justice in Walter Benjamin’s “Critique of Violence” and Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Judgment

(p.205) 6 The Commandment Against the Law
Wrestling with the Angel

Tracy McNulty

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the notions of writing and divine justice in Walter Benjamin's “Critique of Violence” and Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment. Benjamin's “Critique of Violence” offers a critique of the violence perpetrated in the name of law and argues for its annihilation through anarchy. However, Benjamin manages to advance an analysis of law and a critique of its mediating function that not only refuses the familiar terms of the Pauline dialectic, but subverts its most fundamental presuppositions. Central to the novelty of Benjamin's approach is a profound appreciation of the structural function of the written law—and more generally of what he calls the “symbolic side of language”—as an alternative both to the lawmaking violence of dictatorship and to the decadence and ineffectualness of parliamentary democracy. Benjamin and Kant both distinguish the precepts and norms of positive law from the commandment form.

Keywords:   writing, divine justice, Walter Benjamin, Immanuel Kant, Critique of Judgment, Critique of Violence, violence, written law, commandment, symbolic

Columbia Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .