It is time to inaugurate
a critical approach of our democratic and occidental constitutional
law. A critical approach can help to study the metaphysical and theological
dimension of constitutional law. We cannot adopt a classical approach
like the positivist approach that is prevailing today.
Following the positivist approach, we would have simply to describe
and annotate the positive constitutions as interpreted by the constitutional
tribunals. Or we should only try to find the Constitutional rules that
we must apply in a situation. Of course, the positivist approach is
useful. But this approach can only give us a pedagogical view of our
constitutions and constitutional jurisprudence. At the end, we can only
hope to build the epistemology of the so-called “science of constitutional
law” with the aim to study the language and the logic of constitutional
But such an epistemology identifies constitutional law to a positive
law no connected with its no positive sources.
We cannot adopt too the approach of political science. Because the
critic made by political science is based on a social theory of law
which is unable to understand its own ontological commitments.
Only a radical critic can reveal what is hidden: the axiomatic
part of occidental constitutional law. Our approach supposes not only
to ask historical questions ; it implies a speculative and theological
- Read my Juridical Theology [Publisher /Amazon]
Read the introduction in French
- Symposium : Myths of foundation and Europe. Dijon. Autumn 2010. For more informations
Occidental history has been punctuated with
foundation myths replicating the Roman system. According to this
system, the political power arose from an apotheosis: Romulus, king of
Rome, vanished into a fierce storm. The king became, accordingly, son
of God and father of Rome. This mythical foundation will be reused and
developed by Titus Livius and Virgil. It will be the source of the
Trojan legend of the Roman people, of the Frankish people too. Poets
praised the glory of the political foundation of Rome; the Law –
whether pontifical, sovereign or customary – took from such
political foundation the origin of its coercive power. But before the
Law is implemented, it must reach the step of the formation of its
legitimacy; a “pre-historical” legitimacy (M. Serres).
Curiously, while the European legal system is in the course of elaboration,
Europe does not seem to arise from any foundation myth and, a fortiori,
appears to have grown independently of the Roman system. It is not sure
that poets, despite Goethe, Victor Hugo and others, built an European
mythology. However, in France, authors as Jules Michelet or Eugène
Sue did achieve to coin the foundation myth of the French republican
regime. How can Europe institutionalise itself without having recourse
to the logos of the mythos? How can Europe become aware of itself, picture
itself? Can European institutions, in pursuit of a founder force, content
themselves – because they must be democratic – to grant a
larger credit to consent, without taking root in any symbol or myth?
The conference, organised by Centre Georges Chevrier, University of
Burgundy, CNRS and Sciences Po wishes to gather lawyers, political scientists,
arts specialists, philosophers in order to think about the crucial question
of the foundation of institutional Europe. This is just at a time when
European political events show us that the necessary link between Europe
and European people declines, assuming that it has ever existed. The
will is not to “mythologise” Europe.
The will is rather, helped by a “mythique concrète”
(P. Ricœur), to come back to foundation myths in order to be able to
understand how the occidental power is made an is being made. We can
then hope to better identify forces and weaknesses of today’s
juridical and political Europe and sound out its ontological fragility.
This research must drive us, first, to think about the nature and
function of foundation myths, notably through the study of the Roman
mythical system. Then, it must lead us to get back to the imperial
question and to that of the Christian roots of Europe. Eventually,
other occidental (USA) or oriental (China) systems will be observed.