Posts Tagged ‘political theology’

October 28th, 2014

Minding the other modernities

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Let me start with a confession. I am not particularly keen on stories of modernity in which “modernity” figures as a character and in which the plot—surprise—entails a “fall” or “break.” Thomas Pfau’s Minding the Modern is a long telling of this tale, containing some wonderfully astute scenes and bringing on stage two of my favorite thinkers, John Locke and Theodor Adorno (the first appearing as a culprit and the second as an ally). I am not unmoved by Pfau’s convictions and arguments that what appears to be human advancement is actually decline (325). Nonetheless, I find myself appreciating the worldliness and ostentatiousness of Adorno’s miniaturized version of this story: “No universal history leads from savagery to humanitarianism, but there is one leading from the slingshot to the megaton bomb.” Pfau frames his argument as an exploration of and possible solution to the crisis in the humanities. For him, that crisis is not the devaluation of humanistic study in a context of the corporatization of higher education and intense competition for scarce and unstable employment. Rather, it is his sense that we are suffering through a case of amnesia.

October 21st, 2014

Conference: Toward a Critique of Secular Reason?

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On December 10-11, 2014, the Institute of Philosophy (KU Leuven) will host the international conference Towards a Critique of Secular Reason? in Leuven, Belgium.

October 9th, 2014

Losing sight of reason

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Thomas Pfau has created a brand new narrative, not a scholarly book. In the best Christian traditio renovanda (renewing tradition), Pfau’s narrative is an ambitious project to delve into the most loathsome and putrid foundations of modernity and its development. At the same time, Minding the Modern reconstructs an ideal alternative world-to-come based on solid Thomistic solutions. The “road not taken” by the West, which is dooming its own present and its future, appears at its best.

Pfau never portrays modernity as being specifically loathsome and putrid. Instead, he describes modernity as a “catastrophe,” a “shipwreck,” “discontinuous,” “dystopic,” “a failure to remember,” “traumatic,” etc. It is clear from the beginning of the book that Pfau is neither supportive of, nor sympathetic to, modernity. His narrative is not intended to provide a neutral, objective, and academic understanding of modernity, but rather a demolishing and biased critique of it; yet another one from a decidedly Catholic perspective.

July 31st, 2014

The renaissance of political theology

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When it comes to political theology, everything old is new again. At least that is the impression given by the growing interest in political theology within early modern literary studies—a dynamic relationship between past and present that often blurs our conventional delineations of what is new and what is old.

July 15th, 2014

Blood: A Critique of Christianity

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The starting point for Gil Anidjar’s ambitious and daring new book, Blood: A Critique of Christianity, is that modern concepts such as capital, state, and nation have entirely Western-Christian origins.

May 9th, 2014

Pope Francis and liberation theology

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One year into Francis’s papacy, many observers—both inside and outside the Catholic community—are still holding their breath. He has certainly made a good first impression.

February 26th, 2014

Theorizing religion in modern Europe

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On March 7-8, 2014, Harvard University will be hosting an international conference entitled “Theorizing Religion in Modern Europe.”

January 9th, 2014

The Future of Illusion: Political Theology and Early Modern Texts

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The last decade has witnessed a veritable scholarly obsession with the subject of political theology: a multifaceted concept with varying meanings ranging from theocracy studies to the origins of contemporary political ideas.

August 26th, 2013

CFP: Post-Secularism Between Public Reason and Political Theology

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Guest Editors Camil Ungureanu and Lasse Thomassen are requesting submissions for a special issue of the journal The European Legacy scheduled for late 2014.

August 14th, 2013

On the passing of Jean Bethke Elshtain

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Well-known ethicist and scholar Jean Bethke Elshtain of the University of Chicago recently passed away on August 11, 2013.