Political Authority and the International

Homo instrumentum humanitatis: On Dante’s Political Theology According to Ernst Kantorowicz

This paper will offer a close examination of the chapter on Dante that concludes Ernst’s Kantorowicz’s 1957 masterpiece, The King’s Two Bodies. For some, Kantorowicz’s Dante interpretation, with its celebration of the notion of “Man-centred kingship” which emerges from Dante’s political theory, represents a secularisation of the theological fiction to whose historical reconstruction his book had been dedicated; yet this paper will explore to what extent it can equally be described as an instance of what Kantorowicz himself elsewhere termed the “sacralisation” of an originally secular concept. An examination of the prehistory of the invented Latin formula – homo instrumentum humanitatis – through which Kantorowicz pursues his reading will provide the perspective not only from which to clarify the sense of his intervention, but also to explore the implications that follow from it.

Nicholas Heron is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Intellectual and Literary History program in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland. He is the author of a forthcoming monograph entitled Liturgical Power: Between Economic and Political Theology (Fordham UP, 2017), and the translator of Giorgio Agamben’s Stasis: Civil War as a Political Paradigm (Stanford UP, 2015).

4.00pm Thursday 13 October 2016
Seminar Room, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower
University of Queensland, St Lucia
For further information, please contact iash@uq.edu.au or 07 334 69492


Seminar Room, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower (Building #1)