Peter Iver Kaufman shows that, although Giorgio Agamben represents Augustine as an admired pioneer of an alternative form of life, he also considers Augustine an obstacle keeping readers from discovering their potential. Kaufman develops a compelling, radical alternative to progressive politics by continuing the line of thought he introduced in On Agamben, Arendt, Christianity, and the Dark Arts of Civilization.
Kaufman starts with a comparison of Agamben and Augustine’s projects, both of which challenge reigning concepts of citizenship. He argues that Agamben, troubled by Augustine’s opposition to Donatists and Pelagians, failed to forge links between his own redefinitions of authenticity and “the coming community” and the bishop’s understandings of grace, community, and compassion. On Agamben, Donatism, Pelagianism, and the Missing Links sheds new light on Augustine’s “political theology,” introducing ways it can be used as a resource for alternative polities while supplementing Agamben’s scholarship and scholarship on Agamben.