(Apocalyptic) Glenn Beck Messiah (Popular Theopolitics)


I listened in to Glenn Beck on the radio somewhere in Pennsylvania this morning driving up to Syracuse. I never quite realized that there’s an aesthetic theology at work –prophetic, messianic, apocalyptic– that reminds me a lot of the political theorists whom I sometimes read. Today, of course, Beck was talking government shutdown and debt default, framed around the end of things as we know it. What we’re supposed to see is the United States at the end of the dollar, the end of the GOP, the end of the system of government, we are, he promised, at the cusp of catastrophic collapse and transformation and the creation of a new structure. The prophecy is built upon a vision of the future, a future in which you won’t recognize your country. We’re in the endgame now and the future is coming soon. I love the art-deco Moses in Beck’s studio, but maybe it’s time for critical theory and continental philosophy of religion to retire “the messianic” and other apostles of divine violence? Politics is better off without it.

About zjb

Zachary Braiterman is Professor of Religion in the Department of Religion at Syracuse University. His specialization is modern Jewish thought and philosophical aesthetics. http://religion.syr.edu
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4 Responses to (Apocalyptic) Glenn Beck Messiah (Popular Theopolitics)

  1. Gail says:

    Does he actually talk about the messiah coming, though? Because if he DID, the whole would be much less frightening for his constituency. I think the pressure-in-abeyance of the messianic is a good thing. But divine violence (especially as a substitute for the secular violence of the GOP rhetoric and praxis) is probably just not all that helpful outside of video games.

  2. Nahman Umani says:

    Oh, you mean Rav Kook!

  3. Pingback: Upbuilding LInks 10.16.13 | Re(-)petitions

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