Equality

Qutb's second foundation for social justice is equality, which he elaborates quoting the primary sources of the Qur'an and the Sunna, as well as referring to juristic formulations and historical precedents (Shepard 1996 56-68, 182-2 76). The theory of Islamic equality rests on the belief that humans were all created from the same origin. The Qur'anic text proclaims that all people descended from the same pair and asserts that humans are constituted into tribes and nations in order that they may...

Cultural Politics and Theology

As gender became a contested site in the colonial encounter, male national elites responded by upholding male superiority as a longstanding and sacred tradition. In many parts of the South, feminist struggle has been enmeshed in the uneasy intersection of colonialism, nationalism, and Westernization. In some cases, these elite males hark back to a pristine period before colonization when their cultures were unpolluted, and staunchly resist social changes required by modernization. The revival...

Events of Grace

The only possible answer is that the event is the event of grace. This is exactly what Badiou declares, and he is forced to see the event of the advent of Christianity as one crucial paradigm of the event as such this is set out in his book on St. Paul (Badiou 1997). Yet of course this is grace without God an event of grace which delivers its own grace and yet only arrives by a grace that seems to exceed its merely empirical or mathematical instance as a member of a pregiven set or situation....

Relevance of History

The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, commenced his message around 610 ce in his native city, Mecca, which was an important religious, economic, and cultural center of Arabia at that time. His political maneuvers in that early era secured a growing band of followers. In the beginning he established an underground movement and led a peaceful and passive resistance in the face of the severe opposition and persecution with which he and his followers were met. Islam gained momentum due to several...

The Minjung theology of Korea

Korea's Minjung theology (MT) could very well be the first instance of an Asian political theology. Although it emerged in Korea in the 1970s, it had had about a century of incubation. For MT was actually the third phase of a development that can be traced back to what the Minjung theologians refer to as Minjung Christianity (MC), which, in its turn, was a Christian appropriation of the Minjung Movement (MM) that contested the Japanese dominance in Korea in the nineteenth century. In MT, the...

Bonhoeffers Search for a Political Ethic

Bethge reports that at a conference sponsored by the Church Federation Office in 1932, Bonhoeffer (even though he was the youngest speaker at the conference) vigorously attacked the idea of the orders of creation introduced by traditional Lutherans. That Bonhoeffer would reject the two-kingdom tradition was inevitable given the direction he had begun in Sanctorum Communio and Act and Being. Creation simply cannot be self-validating, because Christians have no knowledge of creation separate from...

Liberal or Conservative

Is Hauerwas a liberal or conservative This is not an easy question to answer, in large part because his political theology systematically undercuts the conceptual assumptions that give rise to such polar options in modernity. Nonetheless, the attempt is worth the effort, if only to clarify the ambition of Hauerwas' political theology. For Hauerwas, the term liberal is best understood as a moral discipline and habit rather than a political program or philosophical agenda. To be a liberal entails...

Bonhoeffers Recovery of the Political Significance of the Visible Church

In an essay entitled The Constantinian Sources of Western Social Ethics, John Howard Yoder makes the striking observation that after the Constantinian shift the meaning of the word Christian changes. Prior to Constantine it took exceptional conviction to be a Christian. After Constantine it took exceptional courage not to be counted as a Christian. This development, according to Yoder, called forth a new doctrinal development, namely the doctrine of the invisibility of the church. Before...

Expanding the Vision Critique and Dialogue

Much of the criticism of liberation theology in general and of Guti rrez in particular, therefore, has been based less on a thorough knowledge of the literature than on the stereotypes perpetuated by the media. In the Second Introduction to the revised edition of A Theology of Liberation, Guti rrez nevertheless acknowledged the importance of this criticism in helping him to clarify his ideas and to express them with greater precision. In this lengthy essay subtitled Expanding the Vision he...

R R Reno

In the final decades of the twentieth century, Stanley Hauerwas articulated the most coherent and influential political theology in and for the North American context. This is not because he has said anything notable about political parties or policies. On many issues of public concern, he expresses an altogether standard academic distaste for advanced capitalism (Hauerwas 2000 35-46). This makes him ambivalent about traditional morality, since according to the same standard academic viewpoint,...

Feminism Colonialism and Christianity

The encounter between Western colonizing culture and indigenous cultures often involved thorny questions pertaining to women's roles and female sexuality, notably veiling, polygamy, child-marriage, footbinding, and sati. As an integral part of the colonialist agenda, saving colonized women from their oppression, ignorance, and heathenism appealed to the compassion of Westerners (Narayan 1997 17) and garnered support for Christian missions. To challenge the collusion of Christianity with...

Theology of history

Dramatic theology does not reduce the acts of God to ethics, nor does it suggest a one-sided retreat into the inwardness of the soul. It does not count on a church without sinners, nor does it perceive outside the church nothing but wickedness. The dawning kingdom of God, which Jesus proclaimed and lived out to death, comprises more than the visible harvest of the church after Easter. The spirit of God blows where it chooses, even if the church is the only place where its work is clearly...

Timothy J Gorringe

In one of the most famous pieces of historical writing of the twentieth century E. P. Thompson, son of a Methodist missionary to India, took up Eli Hal vy's argument that it was Methodism which saved England from revolution and applied it specifically to the atonement. He was led to do so by looking at Andrew Ure's Philosophy of Manufactures, which argues that religion is necessary to create a well-disciplined work force. Some power is needed to turn recalcitrant workers into docile wage slaves...

Political theology and reading the signs of the times

Erik Peterson deserves the last word. Part of Peterson's argument against the possibility of any Christian political theology had rested on St. Augustine's stripping of the sacral patina given to the Roman Empire by Christian apologists such as Eusebius of Caesarea. In Politische Theologie II Schmitt objected to this argument because it seemed to deny Christian laypeople the right to see the hand of God in their political well-being A church does not consist only of theologians Schmitt 1970 77...

Inflated Claims for the Trinity

Many contemporary theologies overestimate the progressive political potential of the Trinity. Monotheism, it is alleged, supports monolithic identities and authoritarian forms of government in which power is held exclusively by a single leader or group while an internally diverse triune God, whose persons share equally with one another, avoids these dangers Peterson 1935 Moltmann 1991 192-202 Boff 1988 20-4 . Overlooked in such a simple contrast are the complexities of theological claims, their...

The Structure of Metzs Fundamental Theology with a Practical Intent

These concerns pull in different directions, a fact that goes a long way to explain the tensions in Metz's thought. Yet there is an underlying coherence that can be disclosed by considering the genre, determinative question, and doctrinal locus of his theology. First the genre. Metz calls his a practical fundamental theology, or a fundamental theology with a practical intent Metz 1980 ix, 49, inter alia . A brief historical detour into the recent history of Roman Catholic theology can help...

New Way to Do Theology The Preferential Option for the Poor

The first systematic articulation of a liberation theology, grounded in a preferential option for the poor, was set forth in Guti rrez' A Theology of Liberation, published in 1971 English translation 1973 . Here Guti rrez argued that all theology should be a critical reflection on Christian praxis in the light of the Word Guti rrez 1973 13 . Theology must be grounded in the concrete, lived faith of the Christian people - the vast majority of whom are poor, in Latin America and indeed throughout...

The Dominant Tradition

As these visions of the state and civil society are incorporated into the various strands of contemporary political theology, they give rise to very different sote-riological, ecclesiological, and eschatological convictions regarding the character of Christian political engagement. What I identify as the dominant tradition of contemporary political theology embraces the standard reading of the state and civil society, whereby those institutions are heralded as agents of freedom while the church...

The unitary state Who will decide

Gundlach had also objected to the way that Schmitt's friend-enemy definition of the political reduced the state to a mere question of power and appeared based on an almost Manichean dualism of good and evil, resolvable only by brutal decision and command. The friend-enemy distinction aroused opposition because it collided with traditional Catholic social thinking about the harmony of the orders of society, and because it appeared to contradict so blatantly the evangelical injunction to love the...

Conclusion For Asian Feminist Theology

Compared to the feminist movement in the North, feminist struggle in the South has not been defined by the liberal politics of the women's suffrage movement, women's rights, and the demand for equal access to opportunities and privileges enjoyed by men. Feminists in the South do not have the luxury of attending to gender oppression alone, without simultaneously taking into consideration class, racial, colonial, and religious oppression. Their political theology takes many forms, including the...

Kathryn Tanner

Theologians have license to talk about everything in relation to God, their proper subject matter - including politics. Most theologians therefore comment at some point on sociopolitical issues for example, the propriety of empire, or usury, or established social norms in relations between men and women, free men and slaves. But theology does not wait for such topics to become political theology. All theology is political - it concerns how social relations should be ordered - for two reasons....

Critique and Reconstruction

From the outset, the goal of liberating women had two aspects. First, feminists sought to identify the various forms of oppression that structured women's lives, and second, they imagined and sought to create an alternative future without oppression. What soon became apparent, however, was that oppression is not always easy to name. In fact, because oppression affects the very way one thinks about oneself and one's world, it is often quite difficult to even see, much less name. Oppression makes...

Politically Indirect Ecclesiology

Most post-Christendom theologies of the political do not simply embrace the idea that salvation history has been privatized, but they nevertheless endorse the relative autonomy of politics from theology and make the influence of the church on politics indirect. Christendom saw various kinds of claims of church authority over temporal power, some based on claims that the church possessed direct political authority, others based on the idea that the church's authority in the temporal was potestas...

M Shawn Copeland

. . . for ourselves and for humanity, comrades, We must turn over a new leaf, We must work out new concepts, and try set afoot a new man sic . From the angry wail of James Cone's polemic that irrupted in the aftermath of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and veered ever so close to separatism to J. Deotis Roberts's poignant insistence that black Christians live out the reconciling love of God in white racist America from Delores Williams's incisive protest at the marginalization and...

Dangerous Memories and Interruptions A Theological Itinerary

Born in 1928 in Auerbach in northeast Bavaria, Metz describes his small-town origins as follows One comes from far away when one comes from there. It is as if one were born not fifty years ago, but somewhere along the receding edges of the Middle Ages. I had to approach many things slowly at first, to exert great effort to discover things that others and that society had long ago discovered and had since become common This recollection places Metz, at least initially, in that generation of...

Against Constantinianism

Being trained through Jesus' story means adopting the practices and habits of a new city, and this cannot help but create a conflict between the church and the world, for the world seeks to put us to its own malign purposes. A great deal of Hauerwas' work focuses on the particular scenes of this conflict, which are many. Materially, this diversity of conflict is unified under a general scheme of violence and peace. Worldly powers, for Hauerwas, are not most...

Do We Model Ourselves on the Trinity or Participate in It

These problems with the strategy of looking to the economic Trinity seem to be the product of not following through on the basic insight of the strategy that the economic workings of the Trinity are answering the question of how the Trinity applies to human life. That insight basically means that human beings are not left to their own devices in figuring out what the Trinity means for human relations. The Trinity does not simply offer itself to us as an ideal or model for our imitation and...

Forgiveness

Reconciliation, Barth's chosen metaphor for the whole work of Christ, requires forgiveness. Forgiveness, we saw, can be understood as requiring Christ's death, or it can be understood as the result of life practices, being traditioned by God's Word, which make forgiveness possible. Beginning with this second sense we understand the church as a counter-culture based, to use John Milbank's terms, on an ontology of peace rather than an ontology of violence Milbank 1990 . Gregory Jones has argued...

Contributors

Nicholas Adams is Lecturer in Theology and Ethics, University of Edinburgh, UK. J. Matthew Ashley is Associate Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt is Associate Professor of Theology, Loyola College in Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Michael J. Baxter, CSC, is Assistant Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. Daniel M. Bell, Jr., is Assistant Professor, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, Columbia, South...

An Integral Liberation

If the key to Guti rrez' method is the option for the poor, the content of his theology is centered on the notion of liberation. Note, again, that Guti rrez never claims that the content of his theology of liberation is dramatically new on the contrary, the call to liberation has always been at the very heart of the Christian kerygma. That notion must also be viewed integrally, without separating its various dimensions. According to Guti rrez, liberation should also be understood as...

Creation History and Covenant

An agenda emerges the doctrine of creation provides a theological context for the consideration of political norms of goodness in the determination of what is the case universally, and by which the polity is referred to God. To develop this point, some account of the origins of the doctrine is required, as well as a reading of its political implications, especially in connection with covenant. How might a Christian doctrine of creation be construed First, creation is the free, unconstrained act...

The Caribbean and Britain

The Caribbean is the convenient name for the 40 island nations, including two mainland states, stretching in an arc of nearly 4,000 kilometers from Cuba in the northwest Caribbean Sea to Trinidad and Tobago off the Venezuelan coast. With the exceptions of Haiti, Cuba, and Grenada, the region tends to be reduced by most Europeans and North Americans to an exotic tourist site the history of brutal force which its natural beauty conceals is ignored. Diverse in language, race, culture, religion,...

The Right Question

From its beginnings, feminist theology addressed itself to perceived biases in the construction of core theological doctrines. Valerie Saiving's 1960 article posed the question of whether Christian understandings of sin and virtue were at root, gendered whether, far from sharing a common human condition in this respect, women and men inhabited radically different moral universes. In dialogue with the theological ethics of Reinhold Niebuhr, Saiving claims that conventional renderings of sin as...

Asian feminist theology

One of the anomalies of Asian religiousness is that practically all the major metacosmic religions in Asia have had their origin and growth in androcratic societies. Since the Dalits and the Minjung suffered discrimination from the hierarchies of such metacosmic religions, Asian women sometimes have referred to themselves as the Minjung of the Minjung or the Dalits among the Dalits. For even the scriptures of these religions are not free from misogyny or gyno-phobia. Hence it is not a case of...

The black body sex sexuality and sexual orientation

The black political subject is an embodied subject. Since the days of the transatlantic slave trade, the bodies of African and African-descended women and men have been sites of political, economic, and sexual desire. European and European American representative esthetics further scaled these black bodies as primitive, lascivious, repugnant. This evaluation was at once religious and moral. It reflected white Western Christianity's ambivalence toward the body, sex, and sexuality. Yet Stuart...

The Four Gospels Jesus Prophet and Embodiment of the Kingdom of

According to Mark's Gospel, Jesus of Nazareth preached the reign of God and thus oriented his heaven to that alternative horizon which Jewish eschatologi-cal hopes had kept in view as is evident from texts like 4Q 521 from the Dead Sea Scrolls see Vermes 1995 244 . Present political and social arrangements were not the norm, therefore. The imminent arrival of the messianic age heralded new priorities and broadened horizons Luke 4 16 Matt. 11 2 ff. . Political authority in Jerusalem was in fact...

Ecojustice and the Struggle for Life

Colonization does not mean only the domination of people, but also the exploitation of natural resources for the development and benefit of the colonizers. In the 1920s Western powers controlled almost half the world's territory. With neocolonialism and globalization, national boundaries are less significant and the whole earth has become fair game for unbridled profiteering. Women in the South witness their subsistence and their role as managers of water and forest eroded and changed by the...

The Dalit theology of India

The 1970s also saw the emergence of this theology from among the Christian Dalits, that is, those broken, downtrodden, destroyed by the nefarious system of discrimination between the so-called high, low, and scheduled castes in India. Their weak self-identity as untouchables and outcastes is derived from centuries of cruel segregation religiously sanctioned by the Hindu canon law dharmasastra . Today all the backward castes the current euphemism for so-called low castes and outcastes , tribal...

The public character of worship

The historical roots of Christian worship are found in two different sources the public worship of the Jewish synagogue, and the celebration in private homes of the Lord's Supper. While these two forms of liturgical celebration - the synaxis following the model of the synagogue, comprising reading, sermon, and prayer and the Eucharist - first existed independently of each other, from the fourth century onward they are regularly linked together in a single service. In order to understand the...

Christology

In the Reformation, the theology of the cross was expounded as a criticism of the church how can it now be realized as a criticism of society Moltmann 1974 317 . Just as in Theology of Hope, Moltmann insists that eschatology makes all finite human action questionable, so in his second major book The Crucified God 2nd edn. 1973 , he insists that the cross stands as a permanent objection to human certainties. It enables people to criticize and stand back from the partial historical realities and...

Augustine on Social Life

Human beings are, I noted above, social all the way down. Created in the image of God, we are defined by human relationality. The self is not and cannot be freestanding. Social life is full of ills and yet to be cherished. Thus, civic life, among those social forms, is not simply what sin has brought into the world but what emerges, in part, given our capacity for love and our use of reason, as well alas as a pervasive lust for domination attendant upon human affairs. The philosophers hold the...

Vii

We may conclude with two sorts of observations. First, it is possible to draw up a grid that suggests that certain kinds of literature perform certain political functions for this community, with its acute self-consciousness as the people of YHWH mandated to live its public vision of faith in a world of real power. The Torah the five books from Genesis to Deuteronomy provides the founda-tional account of faith in history, an account that is to be understood primarily as paradigm and not as...

The Fragments that were Bonhoeffers Life and Work

The primary confession of the Christian before the world is the deed which interprets itself. If the deed is to have become a force, then the world itself will long to confess the Word. This is not the same as loudly shrieking out propaganda. This Word must be preserved as the most sacred possession of the community This is a matter between God and the community not between the community and the world. It is the Word of recognition between friends, not a word to use against enemies. This...

Politics as Parable of the Kingdom of

The church works for a better kind of state, in its own way, from its knowledge of the Word of the God. Barmen V's single word, reminding, now blossoms into a great tree of political imagination, suggestion, and participation. Between church and state, a simple and absolute heterogeneity is as much out of the question as a simple and absolute equating, so there is only one possibility left the existence of the State is an allegory, a correspondence and an analogue to the Kingdom of God which...

Augustine on War and Peace

A full treatment of this theme would require an assessment of Augustine's complex theodicy. That is beyond the scope of this essay. But a brief discussion is needed in order to grasp Augustine's theology of war and peace. Augustine acknowledges the seductive allure of evil. He famously tells the story of a youthful prank - stealing pears - that was done not from hunger but from pleasure in the deed itself and in the fellowship with others who took part in the deed. It took Augustine many years,...

Conclusion

One can look at the pages of the New Testament and find in the synoptic Gospels, the letter of James and the book of Revelation that indomitable, uncompromising spirit which set itself against the values of the present age. Such clear-cut counter-cultural strands are, as has already been suggested, a common feature of early Christian texts. Yet, as the Pauline letters indicate, the new converts, particularly those in the urban environment of the cities of the Empire, had to learn a degree of...

Maria Skobtsova

A similarly radical view of the Gospel's call to transform the world in love is found first and foremost in the life and writings of Mother Maria Skobtsova Hackel 1981 . One of the most colorful and original figures in the Orthodox Church in the modern era, Elisabeth Pilenko, as she was born, was a gifted poet and part of the circle of the Russian poet Alexander Blok. She was involved in the political turmoil of the Russian Revolution, may have been involved in the plot to assassinate Trotsky,...

Sergius Bulgakov

The son of a priest and a seminarian, like many other intellectuals of his generation Sergius Bulgakov left the church and Christianity to follow the Marxist vision of the transformation of society and the individual. Trained in sociology and political economy, he challenged Plekhanov's ideas about the restructuring of Russian society and economy, particularly agriculture, understanding like Max Weber the importance of the family, the village, cultural customs and individual motivation....

Michael J Baxter

The question is sometimes raised, whether Catholicism is compatible with American democracy. The question is invalid as well as impertinent for the manner of its position inverts the order of values. It must, of course, be turned round to read, whether American democracy is compatible with Catholicism. The question, thus turned, is part of the civil question, as put to me. An affirmative answer to it, given under something better than curbstone definition of democracy, is one of the truths I...

Bernd Wannenwetsch

In contrast to the prevailing modern tendency to identify the political meaning of the church primarily or exclusively in respect of its relationship to the state or the influence it seeks to bring to bear on civil society, this essay explores the political nature of the church as a politeia in its own right Wannenwetsch 2003 . The church as a political entity finds its constitutive and restitutive act in worship, which is the central praxis of the fellow citizens of the saints Eph. 2 19 ....