The juridicizing of all human relations in their entirety, the confusion between what we may believe, hope, and love, and what we are supposed to do and not supposed to do, what we are supposed to know and not know, not only signal the crisis of religion but also, and above all, the crisis of law. The messianic is the instance, in religion and equally in law, of an exigency of fulfillment which—in putting origin and end in a tension with each other—restores the two halves of prelaw in unison. At this same moment, it shows the impossibility of their ever coinciding. (This is why the actual opposition between secular States, founded uniquely on law, and fundamentalist States, founded uniquely on religion, is only a seeming opposition that hides a similar political decline.) But in this, it points, beyond prelaw, toward an experience of the word, which—without tying itself denotatively to things, or taking itself as a thing, without being infinitely suspended in its openness or fastening itself up in dogma—manifests itself as a pure and common potentiality of saying, open to a free and gratuitous use of time and the world.
~ Giorgio Agamben