The Question of Epochs

Have we entered a postmodern phase of history And if so, is this to be celebrated or regretted If the modern phase is progressive, then is the postmodern inevitably reactionary at heart, for all its clever disguises In what follows, I will examine the relation of the postmodern to the modern through a double perspective. In the theoretical sphere, I will focus on the conjoined philosophical legacy of univocity and representation which can be taken as the ultimate presupposition of modern...

1

The Catholic traditionalists criticized Murray because he supported separation of church and state and argued that this was consonant with Catholic teaching. On the face of it, they were right. At the time, the official teaching of the Catholic Church was that Catholic teaching and institutions should be formally and legally supported by the state, and that any political arrangement deviating from this norm is unacceptable in principle and may be tolerated only as a concession for the sake of...

I

Given such a cautionary acceptance of the data about the political dimension of Israel's life, we may conclude, not surprisingly, that Israel's political life was unexceptional and no doubt much like other political communities that shared its historical environment. Like every political community, ancient Israel had to devise institutions, policies, and practices that apportioned power, goods, and access in a manageable, practicable, sustainable way. And, as in every such community, those ways...

Christopher Rowland

Those who go to the Bible expecting an unambiguous message on the issue of politics need to recall William Blake's witty aphorism Both read the Bible day and night But thou readst black where I read white (The Everlasting Gospel, 1808). That is a salutary reminder to anyone embarking on a consideration of what the Bible says on any subject (Barr 1980). In different social and historical contexts, different texts have been used. Thus, with the emergence of Christendom after the conversion of...

The two poles religiousness and poverty

It was in the 1970s that the terms third world and liberation began to be recognized as cognate concepts in theology. The idea of a third world was not understood primarily as No. 3 in the numerical sense, following the first world of the capitalist countries and the second world of the socialist bloc. Rather, in accordance with its original French usage, tiers monde, it connotes an alternative world to which the decolonized nations of the 1950s and 1960s aspired a world different from either...

Church as Polity

As different as the above approaches are from one another, they share the assumption that the modern separation of theology and politics is proper and that politics resides in a different autonomous space from that marked out by the church. The church must therefore approach politics indirectly, from afar. There is a different approach, however, that seeks to overcome this division by examining the politics embedded in core Christian theological themes, without need of translation from theology...

Christendom and Church

If the history of salvation did not simply begin a long detour in the fourth century, we must be able to account for the continuity of the church before and after Constantine. We are accustomed to viewing the establishment of Christianity as the official creed of the Roman Empire as marking a radical break with the church's past, and it did. But there is a deeper continuity, insofar as the church had always thought of itself as a body with political significance. The Constantinian shift was not...

Mission as the Dialogue of Theology and Globalization

The relevance of such a theoretical discussion of globalization to theology is that there are new, and increasing, challenges to the accepted place of the existing churches and faith communities within society and to existing cultures, social traditions, and values. Theology's task is to discern what the implications of these changes are for the identity of the Gospel wherever these challenges arise, and what it means to be the church. Pentecostalism makes an interesting case-study. The...

Arguing for Abrahamic Theopolitics From Practice to Scriptural Reading

A theory for Abrahamic theo-politics moves from the fact of some practice to scriptural readings and interpretation that might cast light on that practice. More conceptual work would follow, generating plans for more practice. The brevity of this essay leaves space only to illustrate the move from practice to scriptural reading. In this case, the readings are to provide some basis for assuming that Muslims, Jews, and Christians have overlapping as well as separate, political missions. Sabbath...

Critical Theology and Prophetic Witness

The democratic vision of justice and equity has its origins in the messianic hope for a society in which the reign of God's shalom will become a reality. Of course, the custodians of this vision, whether Jewish or Christian, have often failed to witness faithfully to its demands. As a result, the vision has been secularized in various ways, some of them revolutionary, as in Marxism. These too have generally failed to fulfill their promise of a new and just world order. But the vision has...

Penultimates

Readers concerned for this world's politics may well be rather impatient by now. What has all this metaphysical speculation and poetry to do with anything It has everything to do with everything, if we just turn it around. The mere existence of the church in the world relativizes all polities of this age, and must do so in their own eyes. How many divisions has the Pope the tyrant notoriously asked. But he is gone and so is his empire, while the church remains and will remain, until the end. No...

Questions

The most common objection to the suggestion that the church itself embodies a politics is that such a politics is sectarian. Such an objection depends on a relatively novel sociological use of the term sect. In theological parlance, a sect was a group that put itself outside the authority of the church. The difference between the Waldensians and the Franciscans lay not in their attitudes toward culture or the world, but in their relationships to church authority. In the twentieth century,...

John W de Gruchy

No system of government is perfect, nor can any claim to be Christian. Yet democracy is widely regarded today as the best available political polity, and many church traditions, even those previously wary of democracy, now regard it as a form of governance that resonates well with Christian values. However, despite such consensus not all theologians or social theorists agree on what is meant by democracy. One reason for this is the complex history of the concept another is the way in which it...

The Relation of Analogy

When Scotus speaks of analogy, as Boulnois concludes, this seems to reduce either to the equivocal, or to degrees of intensity upon a quantitative model (Boulnois 1999b 290-1). Though, indeed, Scotus allows that an infinite degree transcends the quantitative, this excess is once again conceived in an equivocal fashion, while the model of intensive ascent itself remains quantitative in its paradigm, as is shown by Scotus' insistence that the idea of more good does not - contra Augustine - affect...

Postmodern Cleanness

This general legal and democratic representation (the abstraction of the general will so that it can constitute supposedly a single mirroring mind of government) presupposes civility, just as cognitive representation presupposes uni-vocity. But here also, there is a reciprocal foundation (Alliez 1996). Civility also presupposes formal representation. For, even if there must be orderly behavior and handshakes between rivals if there is to be an election or a court trial, nevertheless the hidden...

Aloysius Pieris

Asian Christianity has registered two species of political theologies. In the second half of the second millennium (from the 1500s onwards) the dominant political theology in Asia could be, retrospectively, termed theology of domination, in contrast with the various theologies of liberation that made their appearance during the final decades of that same millennium (from the 1970s onwards). The former was implicitly operative in the policy of Euro-ecclesiastical expansionism which resulted from...

Modernity

If the purpose of this chapter were historical, we would barely have begun. Since it is not, the enormous leap about to be made is perhaps justifiable. Leaping over most of theological history, and so over persons as vital for eschatological reflection as Thomas Aquinas or Jonathan Edwards, and leaving out counterexamples to the point of caricature, we next note that the church's tendency in modernity has been to depoliticize eschatology and de-eschatologize politics. The church father of the...

The Barmen Theological Declaration 1934

It was thanks to the crisis made and symbolized by Hitler that Barth became a famously influential theologian for politics. He was prepared for the occasion, because, by 1933, his theological learning, skill, and direction were massive and mature. He had extraordinary energy, personal attractiveness and standing as a well-known church theologian, while not being entangled in church administration. He had come to a clear, neither hasty nor simplistic, political judgment against Nazism and in...

Modes of Relating Worship and Politics

Among those who are aware of the political dimension of the worshipping church, we can discern three main models Those who stress the church as polit ical antitype or counter-society (from Augustine to John Milbank), those who characterize it as an ideal type providing the state with social principles (William Temple and the mainstream liberal Protestant tradition), and those who see it as a paradigm (Karl Barth, Stanley Hauerwas) or model (John H. Yoder). While the antitype view is right to...

Nicholas Adams

Moltmann's political theology is a theology of hope, a theology of the cross, a pneumatology, an ecclesiology, a doctrine of creation, a doctrine of the Trinity, and an eschatology. In other words, political theology is not a separate topic, but a dimension and a language which permeates everything. It is, moreover, a recognizably German political theology, which is to say it is best, although not exclusively, interpreted against the backdrop of German philosophy and German politics. The...

Augustine Concluded

The vast mountain of Augustinian scholarship keeps growing. It long ago surpassed a book version of Mt. Everest, so much so that no single scholar or group of scholars could master it all. This is true of Augustine's work alone. Peter Brown claims that Isidore of Seville once wrote that if anyone told you he had read all the works of Augustine, he was a liar (Brown 1972 311). One always has the sense with Augustine that one has but scratched the surface. Indeed, his works have not yet been...

What is Meant by Speaking of Globalization

It is no longer the view of international theorists that globalization is a single process. Rather, several changes have taken place. First, there is a return to the pre-1914 situation of global trade, capital mobility, and immigration. It is not exactly the same, but the trends point to a rough similarity. In particular the mobility of capital is now very great, as it was before 1914, but on a much vaster scale. Second, there is a series of processes, including flows of information, capital,...

Ideas of Sociopolitical Justice

Modern Islamic intellectual reform had developed in a context of close encounter with Western modernity. But it would be a simplistic view to consider it influenced solely by Western modes of thought and ideas. It is noticeable that movements of thought and artistic creation which responded to the new power and ideas of Europe did not, in the work of most thinkers and writers, represent a complete break with the past, but rather a more or less responsible attempt to adapt traditional categories...

V

One way to pursue this last question is to recount a crucial passage toward the end of We Hold These Truths. After arguing for a foreign policy based on natural law principles, Murray noted that such principles are not found in the nation's policy-making at the present time (1960). Then he addressed a question about these principles posed by Yale professor Julian Hartt (a friendly critic, as he called him). Hartt's query, as recounted by Murray, was as follows Father Murray has not, I believe,...

Origins and Development

A protean global phenomenon, black political theology manifested itself almost simultaneously in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the United States, South Africa, and the Caribbean it would appear in Britain in the late 1980s. In each locale, black political theology negotiates distinct emphases and concerns, thus asserting particularization - theologies. Yet such distinctions neither jeopardize nor enervate black political theologies' African heritage, historic traditions of resistance, and...

Christianity and Democracy

The roots of democracy in the Western world may be traced back to ancient Athens and Renaissance Italy. But democracy as we now know it developed only after the European Enlightenment and especially the French Revolution. As a result it has become the polity of modernity. The relationship between Christianity and democracy both before and during the modern period has been full of ambivalence, ambiguity, and even hostility. Christians have by no means always regarded democracy as the best form...

The Blackwell Companion to Political Theology

Cavanaugh except for editorial material and organization 2004 by Peter Scott and William T. Cavanaugh 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148-5020, USA 550 Swanston Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia The right of Peter Scott and William T. Cavanaugh to be identified as the Authors of the Editorial Material in this Work has been asserted in accordance with the UK Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be...

Marsha Aileen Hewitt

Marxism is the consummation of the most progressive thoughts of humanity. The term political theology is by its nature ambiguous and potentially misleading, for at least two main reasons. The first rests on the assumption that there is something distinctive or uniquely different about a theology that is political, as if some or most theology were not in any case political. The idea that theology is apolitical is blind to the inner contradiction between the repressive and emancipatory impulses...

Peter Scott

We have to say that no society is too poor to afford a right order of life. And no society is so rich that it can afford to dispense with a right order, or hope to get it merely by becoming rich. In its political witness, the church knows well that the doctrine of creation is central to its deliberations to honor the God of Jesus Christ. This is the case because the turn to creation identifies theological issues central to the truth of human life What is the creaturely context in which humans...

Ecclesiology

The persuasiveness of any political theology is judged on the strength of its account of the church. How does the church embody, practice, and teach God's love in the world What is its relationship to secular authority Where is the church to be found For Moltmann, these questions cannot be answered satisfactorily in purely formal terms an adequate description of the church requires detailed description of the historical conditions in which Christians find themselves. Even in his earliest work,...

Political theology and legitimation

But Schmitt's correspondences served purposes beyond the merely diagnostic. Since the correlations were mutually reinforcing, the decline of one meant the inevitable weakening of the other. And in Schmitt's construction of history, that is what has happened, as religious conceptions of the world gave way to philosophical and metaphysical conceptions, and they in turn to the instrumental rationality of technical reason, mathematics, and the natural sciences. For Schmitt it was axiomatic that the...

Solidarity

Another understanding of the way in which salvation works, linked to this understanding of forgiveness, is suggested to us by the great hymn of Phil. 2 5ff., which understands the cross as demonstrating the solidarity of the love of God with the unspeakable suffering of those who were tortured and put to death by human cruelty (Hengel 1986 180). Hengel argues this, correctly in my view, on the grounds that bringing slavery and the cross together (Phil. 2 7-8) would have been understood in only...

The Church as Kiln of the Soul

Character and the Christian Life makes a clear case for the centrality of the virtues, but it is strikingly formal in its conclusions. To be in Christ, Hauerwas concludes at the end of this early work, means being shaped by a power, some x, that gives order and form to our lives, that molds our character. Perhaps if Hauerwas were a Lutheran, he would not have hesitated. He would have said that the x is the Gospel. That is the word that Lutherans use when they want to emphasize the thick and...

Contemporary Terrain

Occupied with the forms and effects of white racist supremacy, the first wave of black political theologies was criticized sharply for failing to attend to the triple oppression of black women and to provide an exacting analysis of capitalism. Although attention to antiblack racism remains necessary, its limitations have been conceded. A second wave of black theologians, philosophers, and cultural critics have problematized race analysis through critical race theory and introduced new...

The Church as Democratic Model

From the beginning of the Christian movement the role of the church in society has been not only to proclaim the message of the reign of God but to seek to be a sign of that reign within its own ecclesial life and structures. Hence, in the course of Christian history, canon law and the polity of the ekklesia have had a considerable influence on the shaping of Western constitutional law (Berman 1983). Furthermore, in many situations, such as the Third Reich, the structure of the church became a...

Sociopolitical Contexts of Feminist Theology in the South

In Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World, Kumari Jayawardena (1986) documented the history of women's participation in anti-imperialist movements in Asia and the Middle East since the 1880s. The emergence of feminist consciousness in the third world took place in the wider political climate of national struggles, the fight against economic exploitation, and the quest for cultural self-definition. The rapidly changing social and political circumstances and the mobilization of the masses...

Theological Conclusion

In the global reality of social and political change the secular, left-wing ideologies of the post-1945 era have withered and died in virtually every nation that received its independence from European empires in those years. In their place have come a series of cultural and social changes, sometimes described as flows. The modern city is not a secular, planned, and socialist settlement but a chaotic growth of ethnic, religious, and cultural migrants. Davey is critical of Castells for failing...

Theology of Liberation From Lima to Medelln

Few contemporary theologians have influenced the whole range of theological disciplines as has the Peruvian priest Gustavo Guti rrez, who is often referred to as the father of liberation theology. In his classic work A Theology of Liberation, Guti rrez set forth not so much a new theme for reflection as a new way to do theology (Guti rrez 1973 15). Thus, what is most distinctive about liberation theology - and what has come to influence every area of theological and religious studies, from...

Evaluation

Temple's position was not greatly criticized in his lifetime, as he led a virtual consensus. Stephen Spencer (1990) has shown that the early Temple's historicist tendencies include the idea that history carries its own meaning without reference to an eternal world, that the state brings social fulfillment by coercing us into freedom, and that moral duty consists in following the conventions of society and the state. These reflected British Hegelianism. Spencer argues that Temple checked this...

Speaking Truth to Power

The confrontation between truth and other claimants to the throne of power is expressed perhaps most acutely in the Gospel of John's account of Jesus' appearance before Pilate, the representative of earthly power (John 18 33-19 22). Thomas' own commentary on this narrative is instructive. While Thomas casts Pilate in as favorable a light as possible - he is a just judge who wishes to know the truth (Super evangelium S. Ioannis 2344) - he still sees Pilate as one who cannot understand what...

Leveling Spirit Liberating Struggle in the Revolutionary Atlantic

Because the mystical political strains of Christian spirit discourse cannot be missed, it should not be surprising that restless and repressed groups throughout history should find Christianity's spirit discourse pertinent to their struggles. In this section, I have two aims. First, I seek to give some examples of how the mystical political dimensions of Christian spirit discourse have actually been present as historical practice, not merely as only a plausible conceptual theology as presented...

The Fallacy of Urban Globalization

Similar cautions exist in the field of urban theory. For example, Smith (2001) claims that neo-Marxism always reduces culture to deeper political-economic determinism. Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen make the same criticism. Universalism is conflated with progressive rationality. The general public is assumed to be passive in the face of the sea change in cultural production ushered in by aesthetic and cultural elites (Smith 2001 46). The vibrancy of migrant social networks is not recognized by...

Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt

In recent years there has been an amazing amount of interest in the ethical and political thought of Thomas Aquinas (c. 1224 74). The growth of interest in the ethics of virtue, both in philosophy (e.g. MacIntyre 1991) and theology (e.g. Porter 1990 Pinckaers 1995), has naturally turned people's attention to Aquinas' subtle and sophisticated analysis of virtue. In other cases, the role of natural law in Aquinas' thought has attracted the interest of some legal and political theorists (e.g....

John Calvin

If Anabaptists sought to keep the church pure by separating from the world, John Calvin set out to construct a new model of relations between the church and the civil authorities. Calvin is remembered more as a theologian and church reformer than a political theorist, and his political writings hardly extend beyond book IV, chapter 20 (entitled Civil Government) of his massive Institutes of the Christian Religion yet although his ideas are offered there at a theoretical level, he did attempt to...

Walter Brueggemann

The actual historical practice of politics in ancient Israel, the community of the Old Testament, is in dispute among contemporary scholars to the extent that the practice of politics is recoverable at all, it is unexceptional and replicates common practices of that general context. At the outset one must recognize that scholarship is unsettled and deeply divided over the question of historicity. Some scholars incline to take textual evidence more or less at face value some find unintended...

The Struggle for Justice

There is a close link between violence and poverty. It is striking that in a survey of armed conflicts across the globe in 2001, the (London) Financial Times argued that 25 of the 2 7 wars currently taking place were civil wars. Civil war does not automatically correlate with religious or ethnic division, or with economic inequality within a country, but with severe deprivation. Warlords in intensely poor African countries are able to finance their civil wars by the export of, for instance,...

Sources of Political Thought

The origins of acceptable political principles are found in the sacred book of Islam, the Qur'an. Muslims viewed the practices and traditions of the Prophet as explanations and practical exemplifications of Qur'anic political values. The traditions, called Had th or Sunna, are collected in a number of books and authenticated by applying different methods of criticism. These prophetic traditions contain a number of principles that have served as directives for political activity throughout...

Covenant Christology

Now a word must be said about Christology, which remains the punctum stantis et cadentis of any theology that calls itself Christian. The suspicion that Asian theology in general compromises the uniqueness of Christ becomes a straightforward accusation when it comes to liberation theology. Since in an Asian political theology the politics of poverty and the theology of the Christian religion have a greater task in coming to terms with each other than in any other continent, the Asian paradigm...

Pre Constantinian Christianitys Emerging Political Identity

Despite the different strands in scripture, the position taken in this essay is that the main elements of Christian identity, as exemplified in what we can discover about the practice of pre-Constantinian Christianity, and recalled and practiced by minorities within the Christian churches down the centuries, are nonconformist and based on the principle that we must obey God rather than any human authority (Acts 5 29 and see further Bradstock and Rowland 2001). The subversive character of the...

Augustine on the Self

Augustine, the noted historian of the late antique world, Peter Brown, claims that Augustine has come as near to us . . . as the vast gulf that separates a modern man from the culture and religion of the later empire can allow (1967 181). How so One reason, surely, lies in Augustine's complex ruminations on the nature of selfhood. This is a theme close to our own preoccupations. Augustine, in fact, anticipates postmodern strategies in dethroning the Cartesian...

Faith Communities and Civil Society

From a theological perspective, the church can never be regarded as simply another NGO within civil society. Nonetheless, the church - along with other faith communities - is a significant institution within civil society. Especially in twentieth-century democratic transitions, the church has played a key role in a variety of contexts, whether in eastern Europe (Poland and the former East Germany), or Latin America (Nicaragua is a good example), or South Africa. In South Africa the ecumenical...

His Times

Karl Barth (1886-1968) is renowned for his wonder-ful (Barth 1963 61ff.) commitment to theology. He is less often seen as a theologian in and for politics, if not a political theologian, both in his lifetime and now. This essay can be no more than a fragmentary taster to Barth's work. Dealing only with political issues as he talked about them, it will not guess what he might have said on other matters, let alone criticize or defend him where he failed to answer questions which have gained...

The Freedom of God Let God be God and World be World

Barth's theological strategy was built on God's unqualified freedom to be God in his own chosen way, revealed in his Word, Christ, as witnessed to in scripture. This meant that God was not bound up with, or dependent on, any form of religion, philosophy, culture, or society, however Christian or however powerful. God, as the one Lord of creatures, ensures the radical secularity of creation, in the sense that it can never be equated with God, or serve functionally as God, or usurp his authority,...

Daniel M Bell Jr

The temptation is to approach the topic of the state and civil society from the vantage point of the various currents of theological thought that since the mid-1960s have been identified as political theology. The task would then be to examine the ways these theologies have both interpreted those political realities and construed Christianity's relation to them. But, as other essays in this volume suggest, the question of Christian political engagement precedes the birth of the contemporary...

The Islamic Quest for Sociopolitical Justice

The impact of Islam on politics in today's world attracts wide interest and has led to a flood of writings on so-called political Islam, a term apparently newly coined (Beinin and Stork 1997). Political Islam is defined as the doctrine and or movement, which contends that Islam possesses a theory of politics and the State (Ayubi 1991). The phenomenon is viewed to be at odds with modernity, and so Muslim political activism is customarily equated merely with terrorism and extremism. Many overlook...

Eschatology and Politics

Eschatology in the title of this chapter refers to Christian discourse about a final outcome and transformation, an eschaton, of history. The great metaphysical divide is doubtless between those who think a dramatic story can truly be told about reality as a whole and those who think not. Judaism and Christianity present the definitive instance of the first position. Reality, their scriptures promise, is going someplace, and its twists and turns are therefore plotted. If we think that someplace...

Augustine

As Augustine (Jenson 1999 76-85) read the scriptures, it seemed right to adopt a term of Greek and Roman political discourse for what God eternally intends for his creatures. God's eternal intent is that there shall be a perfect created civitas, a perfect polity.2 That is, continuing in the language of Roman theory, God intends a respublica, a public thing, with sovereignty and citizenship and mutual duties, that is perfect in that it fully achieves - or rather is given - the blessing which a...

Modernity and the Representation of Subjects

So, can one sustain any notion that postmodernity is a more fundamental matter than modernity Is the enthronement of univocity in postmodernity not just a more advanced stage of modern representation Somewhat parallel considerations apply in the cultural domain. One might focus upon such things as individual rights, bureaucratic formality, and abstract economic equivalence as characterizing the modern. By contrast, one might take an emphasis upon style and the subtle conformity of fashion as...

Distinguish and Relate

A theology of this sort involves a double movement a distinction between God and humanity (along with all creatures) and a relating. That is different from a choice between a separation by which God and humanity are opposed to each other and an identification of God and humanity, so that they can be treated as interchangeable. It is a mistake to read even the early Barth as though he held to a separation, without a relating. Distinguishing and relating, and insisting on the two together, was a...

Jean Bethke Elshtain

Augustine in the world of political theology has been mixed. He is a thinker of great discursive power who favors powerful narration over deductive systematicity. What is political about his theology must, for the most part, be teased out. He never penned a specific treatise on the subject. Despite this, it is fair to say that more words have been spilled on figuring out what an Augus-tinian political theology is, or might be, than on the tomes of other, more explicit, political...

Schmitts Political Theology and its Catholic Reception

Today we are an utterly political species. And our quest for salvation comes In 1922 Schmitt was ahead of his time. With Weimar's final crisis, however, political theology became the refrain of a broad and ecumenical chorus, reaching an adulatory crescendo in the months after Hitler came to power (Scholder 1988 I, 99-119, 189-209, 414-40). By then Schmitt's sympathies had shifted away from the political Catholicism of the Center Party, in part perhaps because the church rejected his annulment...

The black political subject

The second wave of black political theologians and philosophers press this topic in differing ways. In the United States, the continuing work of James Cone (1999) as well as that of Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze (2001), Lewis Ricardo Gordon (1997, 2000), and bell hooks (1992, 1994) illustrates a critical grasp of Victor Anderson's insistence that ontological blackness stifles black human flourishing (Anderson 1995 14). At the same time, these scholars remain adamant that conditions basic to that...

Islamic Revolts and Reforms

The Algerian thinker Bennabi argued that the chaos of the modern Muslim world was attributable not only to colonization but also to the weakness and decline of Muslim societies, which put them in a state that he called coloniz-ibility. But, in his view, colonization would in the end negate this status of weakness and act as a stimulus for reform. He explained (Bennabi 1987 53) one would then ascertain that colonisation introduced itself in the life of a colonised people as a contradictory...

Forms of Discourse about Globalization

Globalization has been discussed at length in the last decade, within academic, political, and business circles. It is hardly surprising that theologians, church members, and church leaders have also commented on it (Stackhouse and Paris 2000 Selby 1997). The churches are seen as the defenders of local culture, welfare states, and sustainable economics against the imperialism of global forces, harsh multinationals, and the trivializing of culture. However, within the secular debate there are...

Temples Background and Life

The Anglican tradition has several longstanding hallmarks that merit reaffirmation, and in some quarters retrieval, in political theology today (a) the close relating of the inner life of the church in worship and sacrament to its engagement with the life of the world (b) attention to scripture and its bearing on the world, with a commitment to mediation over against simplistic deduction (c) a determination to grasp what is going on in the world in its complexity, and attention to the relevant...

The Meaning of Liberation

In Qutb's view, the cornerstone of Islamic social justice is the complete liberation of the human soul from all that dominates its true nature. This liberation stems from the relationship that Islam sets up between humans and God (Shepard 1996 41-56). God is the essence of religious experience, and in the confession of Islamic faith, the shahada, Muslims witness that there is no God but God. The name of God, Allah, simply means The God. This statement in its brevity is at once an affirmation...

Democratic Transition and Transformation

The Allied victory over Germany, Italy, and Japan in World War II was hailed by the West as a victory for democracy and soon led to the establishment of democratic governments in those countries. Shortly after the war, India and many countries previously under colonial rule, notably in Africa (e.g. Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda), gained their independence. All of them adopted democratic constitutions. Other examples of transition from oligarchic or authoritarian control occurred in Spain and...

Contents

Cavanaugh and Peter Scott Part I Traditioned Resources Scripture, Traditions, Liturgy Frederick Christian Bauerschmidt 48 Part II Political Theologies Survey 91 18 Political Theologies in Asia Part III Constructive Political Theology 317 34 The Islamic Quest for Sociopolitical Justice 35 Abrahamic Theo-politics A Jewish View Index of Names and Subjects 535

The Future of Democracy

Democracy by its very nature is a fragile form of government, and the transition from an authoritarian to a democratic order is beset with enormous problems. In many countries the process is exacerbated by large-scale inequalities, a lack of resources, including money and time, and an inadequate education and preparation for democratic participation. In countries such as South Africa, this has been made worse by a legacy of racist oppression in which people have been systematically deprived of...

The Orderings of Creation

There are two fundamental issues, then, in the consideration of creation in a political theology. First, with which political orderings are Christian communi ties confronted, and how are these to be related to the being, action, and purposes of the Creator God Second, in that creation is always a normative concept, how is the goodness of creation to be understood I develop each of these points in turn. To understand a doctrine of creation in relation to a political order is, first, to grasp...

Character and the Durable Self

The initial focus of Hauerwas' work seems rather removed from bricks, brick-throwing, and a concern about Christian power in the world. His first book, Character and the Christian Life, attempts to give an account of the nature of the Christian moral life (Hauerwas 1985 229). This is just the sort of conceptual focus that threatens to shift attention away from the worldly weight of the Christian life. Yet, in this early study, Hauerwas thinks himself away from concepts and toward his...

Political theology and the question of priority

Did the political trump the theological in Schmitt's political theology Many of his fellow Catholics believed it did (see next section). On the other hand, Heinrich Meier's influential interpretation argues that Schmitt's thought is deeply determined by a theological agenda. The question of priority is complicated by Schmitt's apparent estrangement from the church in the late 1920s, a development Meier ignored. He shrewdly pointed to what others considered the most nakedly secular and amoral...

Philosophical Considerations

So far we have examined mission and the struggle for justice. It is time to relate these concerns to philosophical considerations about justice. The American philosopher Martha Nussbaum asks how religion relates to justice. What happens when there is a conflict between religion and liberty, as has happened in India and other non-Western nations There arises a dilemma for the liberal state. Interfering with the freedom of religious expression is a damaging attack on one of the basic capabilities...

International relations

As the church is to a particular nation, so the world church should be to the international community. And just as the function of the individual state is to promote freedom and fellowship, so the aim must be to create a harmony of independent nations, seeking justice and the common good internationally. Citizenship remains a key concept for Temple. Confronted twice with world war, Temple was no pacifist. He subscribed to just war theory, and considered pacifism as a universal principle to be...

New Responsibilities for Black Political Theologies

Like all theological formulations, black political theologies remain provisional, tentative, halting, imprecise. In the United States, black political theology must contest the deteriorating political and economic situation - in particular, government encroachment on human and civil rights under the guise of national security. In South Africa, black political theology needs to address directly the brutal economic legacy of apartheid and the ravages of HIV AIDS. In the Caribbean, black political...

An Authentic Case of a Christian Epimetheus

Carl Schmitt (1888-1985) was born into a strongly Catholic family in Plettenberg, Westphalia. His modest origins and his religious identity perhaps contributed to his ambition and also to a certain incorrigible insecurity. Trained in legal studies, he rose rapidly from academic obscurity to an appointment at the prestigious Friedrich-Wilhelm University in Berlin in 1933, a position which he lost after World War II because of his complicity with the Third Reich. His advancement was assisted by a...

The Contours of Thomas Thought Exegesis of a Text

Let me begin by sketching three formal contours of Thomas' thought. First, Thomas is concerned with both logic and metaphysics. His basic approach is to seek clarity of thought and speech by making distinctions that help our thought and speech conform to the order inherent in things. He combines minute analysis of how we use words with deep metaphysical speculation in a way not usually found in modern philosophy. This combination arises from Thomas' overriding concern to find the clearest way...

Holy Spirit A Mystical Politics of Liberation

While theologians often speak of a doctrine of the Holy Spirit, talk of the Holy Spirit has been hard to formalize as doctrine. One of the early church fathers writing on the Holy Spirit, Gregory of Nazianzus, had to confess the problem of elusive subject matter. To be only slightly in error about the Holy Spirit was to be orthodox (Pelikan 1971 213). It will be helpful here to follow just a bit of this error of orthodoxy. Amid the struggle with the elusive discourse of Holy Spirit, we can...

The Myth of Economic Globalization

There has been a powerful academic debate about how to describe globalization. The debate began in the late 1980s, and has moved through two stages in a short time. The first began when politicians, and the media, discovered the reality of globalization. It was seen as a vast all-conquering monster, which would swallow up civil society, the welfare state, and the nation-state. Capital, culture, and communications would erase what had been accepted for decades, if not centuries, and the false...

Paul Evdokimov

Paul Evdokimov was in the first class to graduate from St. Sergius Institute and had Bulgakov, the institute's first dean and professor of dogmatic theology, as his teacher. Yet Bulgakov was not the only influence on him. The radical philosopher Nicolas Berdiaev was an acknowledged shaper of his thinking, as were friends and colleagues such as Fr. Lev Gillet, Fr. Nicolas Afanasiev, and Olivier Cl ment, among others. Evdokimov's life experiences also played a decisive role in forming his social...

The Impact of the West

Modern Islamic history is commonly defined as beginning with the impact of the West, or more specifically of European imperialism - its first arrival, its spread and the process of transformation which it initiated (Lewis 1996 273). This impact has been dated either from the defeat of the Ottomans by Russia in 1792 or from the arrival of Napoleon in Egypt in 1798, and it gained momentum in the nineteenth century. For different natural and historical reasons, Turkey, Egypt, and India became the...

William T Cavanaugh and Peter Scott

Not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Francis Fukuyama declared that we had achieved the end of history. In 2001, the collapse of other walls, those of the World Trade Center towers, served notice that history was not finished with us yet. Fukuyama's famous thesis was that, with the ruin of communism, there remained no viable alternative to Western liberalism on the stage of history. We are still sorting through the rude awakening from this fantasy. What seems clear, however, is...

The Two Cities

In his book Saeculum (1970), widely acknowledged as one of the most important attempts to unpack Augustine and to situate him as civic and political theorist, Robert Markus argues that Augustine aimed to achieve a number of complex things with his characterization of the two cities. One was to sort out the story of all earthly cities. Augustine, he argues, provides an account of the earthly city (civitas terrena) from Assyria through Rome, and shows the ways in which even the cherished goal of...

It shall not be so with you Life in Jerusalem and Babylon

The most uncompromising rejection of the exercise of state power and accommodation with its culture in the New Testament is to be found in the book of Revelation. Its clearly enunciated choice between the Beast and Christ, and Jerusalem and Babylon, represent the character of the early Christian political ethos. The challenge to the complacent, and the word of encouragement to the hard-pressed, stand side by side in a book which unmasks the reality of power and the fallibility of human...

The Contrast between God and Caesar John Miltons The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates 1649

In a situation where human monarchy had become so flawed that it had to be resisted and removed in the search for a better kingdom, John Milton (1608-74) explains the extraordinary events of 1649 which saw the execution of the English monarch. Writing at this time of upheaval, Milton rejected the royalists' interpretation of certain biblical passages as a defense of human monarchy and its oppressive consequences. Milton is one of the foremost advocates of an understanding of Christian politics...

Theology and Politics

Barth was determined to be political only through theology - and he argued that being a theologian gave him something distinctive and useful to offer in politics, though that was not the reason for doing theology (Barth 1939 82). Theology was true only as obedience to the Word of God. In 1933, urged to respond to Hitler's new Reich by taking a political stance, he declared that, in view of the unclear situation, he would carry on with his students in Bonn, doing only theology as though nothing...

The Advent of the Modern State and Civil Society

As suggested previously, to approach the state and civil society from the vantage point of a present where those realities have attained normative standing is to foreclose consideration of a crucial theological judgment regarding the character of Christianity's political presence and thus to conceal the determinative division in political theology today. Toward the end of illuminating both that judgment and that divide, this section presents a brief genealogy of the modern state and civil...

Israels Eschatological History

The call to Abraham, which begins the story of Israel,1 was not to found a new cult or pursue a pattern of piety or become wise, all possibilities well known in the ancient world, but to perform a historical act with political significance to lead a migration. And the promise in the call was the creation of a new nation with a specific relation to other nations, namely that it would be their blessing, that is, the possibility of their flourishing. The actual creation of this nation then occurs...

The Emergent Tradition

What I am calling the emergent tradition of contemporary political theology,1 identifiable with certain postliberal theologians such as Stanley Hauerwas, John Milbank, and Oliver O'Donovan, bears an unmistakable affinity for the alternative reading of the state and civil society which recognizes in the standard account an apologia for the eclipse of the proper public, political character of the church and, consequently, a distortion of its mission. Accordingly, the emergent tradition rejects...

The climate of interpretation

Carl Schmitt frequently denied being a theologian at all (Schmitt 1950 89 1970 30). Being a lay theologian entailed risks he preferred to avoid (1970 101 n. 1 Wacker 1994a 286-92). Scholarship took him at his word, reading him primarily as a legal scholar and a political theorist. Even now much of the attention devoted to him comes from a secularist left uninterested in his religious commitments (McCormick 1997 Balakrishnan 2000). The religious dimension of Schmitt's work did not attract...

The political is the total

This dictum is a revealing corollary to Schmitt's political theology. In The Concept of the Political he had defined the political as the measure of existential and even violent conflict. To say it was the total meant that when existential conflict broke out, no other criterion for decision-making could claim priority. In his 1938 book on Thomas Hobbes, he would call such competing claims indirect powers. Schmitt took this term from Catholic doctrine as expounded classically by Robert...

Against the instrumentalizing of the church

Much of the criticism of Schmitt's political theology therefore centered on his treatment of the church. Ferocious critics like Waldemar Gurian considered Schmitt no better than a German version of Charles Maurras, the French nationalist and founder of the reactionary movement Action Fran aise. Maurras' atheism had not kept him from enthusiastically supporting the Catholic Church. Already in a 1926 letter to Peterson, Gurian compared the two How similar is Maurras to Schmitt but Maurras is more...

Is Public Theology Regressive with Respect to Political Theology

A more recent variant of political theology has emerged in the form of contemporary public theology, which is quite different from political and liberation theologies. A brief discussion of public theology is important here, since it might be seen as an inheritor of political theology, which it is not. Public theologians assume the role of religious critics whose task is to formulate and develop the ultimate meanings and spiritual culture of society (Dean 1994 xiv) in order to rescue modernity...

Protest against Oppression

In the theories of classical and modern writers, the ideal Islamic social order should be based on justice one of the features of this model is the establishment of an elective authority that comes to power by the choice (ikhtiyar) of the ruled and governs through collective consultation (shura). Modern interpretations are inclined to claim that there are democratic elements in Islamic rule, or at least that Islam does not hinder democracy or facilitate harsh, authoritarian rule (Price 1999...

Christian Theological Arguments Supportive of an Abrahamic Theopolitics

There is insufficient space here to show how these scriptural readings may underwrite a broader, Jewish theological argument on behalf of Abrahamic theo-politics. In the context of this Companion to Political Theology, however, it seems fitting to close by sampling the contributions some of the book's previous chapters could make to Christian theological arguments on behalf of this theo-poli-tics.4 While these chapters are all devoted to Christian-specific theo-politics, and to theo-politics...

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...