Foucault on Apocalypticism as Dissidence


“After all, the other way of disqualifying the pastor’s role is to claim that the times are fulfilled or in the process of being fulfilled, and that God will return or is returning to gather his flock. He will be the true shepherd. Consequently, since he is the true shepherd coming to gather his flock, he can give notice to the pastors of history and time, and it is for him now to make the division, to give nourishment to the flock, and to guide it. The pastors are given notice, since Christ is returning, or again, another form of eschatology that developed along a line that more or less stems from Joachim of Fiore, is the assertion of the advent of a third time or third age in history. The first age is that of the incarnation of the first person of the Trinity in a prophet, Abraham, and at that point the Jewish people needed pastors who were the other prophets. The second time, period, or age, is that of the incarnation of the second person. But the second person of the Trinity does not act like the first; he does better. The first sent a pastor, the second is incarnated in person, and this is Christ. But when Christ returned to heaven he entrusted his flock to pastors who were supposed to represent him. But, says Joachim of Fiore, the third time, the third period, the third phase in the history of the world is coming, and the Holy Spirit will descend on Earth. Now the Holy Spirit is not incarnated in a prophet, and he is not incarnated in a person; he is spread over the entire world. That is to say, there will be a particle, a fragment, a spark of the Holy Spirit in each of the faithful and so they will no longer need a shepherd.” —Michel Foucault, Security, Territory, Population


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