Calvin D. UllrichCorresponding authorORCID id

Theopoetics to Theopraxis
Toward a Critchlean Supplement to Caputo’s Radical Political Theology

25/1 – Spring 2020, pages 163-182
Date of online publication: 25 June 2020
Date of publication: 25 June 2020


The theological turn in continental philosophy has beckoned several new possibilities for theoretical discourse. More recently, the question of the absence of a political theology has been raised: Can an ethics of alterity offer a more substantive politics? In pursuing this question, the article considers the late work of Jacques Derrida and John D. Caputo. It argues that, contrary to caricatures of Caputo’s “theology of event,” his notion of theopoetics evinces a “materialist turn” in his mature thought that can be considered the beginning of a “radical political theology.” This position is not without its challenges, however, raising concerns over deconstruction’s ability to navigate the immanent but necessary dangers of politics. In order to attempt to speak of a form of “radical political theology”—i.e. a movement from theopoetics to theopraxis—the article turns to some of the political writing of Simon Critchley. It is argued that a much desired “political viscerality” for a radical political theology is supplied by Critchley’s anarchic realism. The latter is neither conceived as utopian nor defeatist, but as a sustained program of inventive and creative political interventions, which act as responses to the singularity of the situation.

Cite this article

Ullrich, Calvin D. “Theopoetics to Theopraxis: Toward a Critchlean Supplement to Caputo’s Radical Political Theology.” Forum Philosophicum 25, no. 1 (2020): 163–82. doi:10.35765/forphil.2020.2501.10.


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