6. Profit and Loss: The New Time of Crisis

Discourses of Crisis and the Study of Religion - Lauren Horn Griffin

Zoe Anthony [+-]
University of Toronto
PhD Candidate, University of Toronto


The claim that there is something unprecedented about the COVID-19 crisis inspires a comparison to the work of both Walter Benjamin and Reinhart Koselleck, the former whose messianism recalls the unexpected, ever-anticipated eruption into history that would end all history, the latter whose focus on the historical development of the category of “crisis” as a temporal classification that yields continually new pictures of time. I argue that the conceptual tools of Koselleck offer a clearer picture of what is theoretically noteworthy within this moment in time. My claim is that there is an interesting tension in the description of crisis between these two figures in terms of the idea of crisis as rupture into history. My argument is that the rhetoric of the unprecedented can be interpreted through a historiography of the transcendent, by which I mean a conceptualization of what is unexpected through as what is transcendent. The moment in which the transcendent erupts into history the transcendent becomes amenable to rational discourse. As rational the transcendent can be capitalized, monetized, and profited from.

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Anthony, Zoe. 6. Profit and Loss: The New Time of Crisis. Discourses of Crisis and the Study of Religion. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Oct 2024. ISBN 9781000000000. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=43936. Date accessed: 22 Sep 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.43936. Oct 2024

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