Carl Schmitt and Ahasver. The Idea of the State and the Wandering Jew

Galit Hasan-Rokem


In this article the cultural effects and the specific reverberations in Carl Schmitt’s work of two literary figures emerging in vastly different cultural contexts in the 16th century, Leviathan and the Wandering Jew, are analyzed using a pair of discursive concepts – political theology and Midrash. My aim is to show that whereas Schmitt was informed by the kind of stereotypical thinking embodied in the legendary and very popular figure of Ahasver, the figure itself was suppressed and replaced by a seemingly rational political discourse addressing Leviathan.