Reframing the Present: Secularisation and the Rule of Law

Francisco_de_Goya_-_Escena_de_Inquisición_-_Google_Art_Project

“God is himself law; therefore law is dear to him” Sachsenspiegel (Saxon Law) of Eike von Repgau, Early 13th Century Of all the grand narratives supposedly put to the sword during the era of post-modernity secularisation seems peculiarly resistant. While we are familiar with critiques of Western progress, cultural superiority and ethics, the narrative that would have us believe we in the West live in predominantly irreligious societies, and thus have passed through some process by the name of secularisation remains common wisdom. This idea is implicit in the way we see ourselves and how we frame our dealings with … Continue reading

Marx and Nietzsche: Beyond the bourgeois world’s Yes’s and No’s

    Friedrich Nietzsche was three years old in the revolutionary year of 1848, and while he doubtless had little idea of what was going on the reaction of his father Carl Ludwig Nietzsche, pastor of Röcken, to what took place in Germany was to become a formative memory. When news of events in Paris reached Prussia’s Frederick Wilhelm IV and revolutionaries were mobilising in Berlin, the monarch agreed to a number of concessions and appeared to sympathise with the masses. His proclamation ‘To my dear Berliners’ led to the withdrawal of troops from the capital’s streets and squares, much to … Continue reading

Agonism and Apocalypse: the Leviathan in William Blake

William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, a poem conceived at the time of the French Revolution, consisting of equal parts prophetic, dialectic, wild fantasy, and political commentary, contains many startling and ambiguous images: angels and devils conversing in space, huge spiders stalking the cosmos, and the famous section titled Proverbs of Hell, many lines of which have passed into popular consciousness. One of the images that is paid less attention, perhaps because it is at once a familiar image both in Blake and apocalyptic literature generally is that of Leviathan; specifically the Leviathan that appears in the phantasmagorical … Continue reading