PY 214 Philosophy, Politics, and Religion

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Module Level



Essay 50% Final Exam 50%

Module Aims

This module treats the historically difficult and tenuous relation between philosophy, politics and religion with specific reference to the Christian tradition. It does so from within the perspective and discipline of Political Theology. The focus of the module is twofold. First, it seeks to establish that politics and political concepts do not occur in a vacuum. Rather, in keeping with the classical thesis of Schmitt, it is shown that political concepts are often secularized theological concepts and that they are further dependent on metaphysical worldviews. The second focus consists in asking into the proper Christian response to the political, through investigating different schools or approaches to Political Theology. The foundational figure treated will be Augustine and his City of God, but the primary focus of the module is on contemporary figures in Political Theology such as: Schmitt, Barth, Bonhoeffer, Peterson, Metz, Gutiérrez, Yoder, Hauerwas, Milbank, and Williams.

Indicative Syllabus:

  • Introduction to the major themes and questions of Political Theology.
  • Liturgy and Politics.
  • Politics, religion, and philosophy after Auschwitz.
  • Confronting the Powers.
  • Politics and the Church.
  • Readings of the major figures of Political Theology.

Course Text:

An Eerdmans Reader in Contemporary Political Theology eds. William T. Cavanaugh, Jeffrey W. Bailey, Craig Hovey (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012)

Relevant handouts will be made available throughout the module.

Learning Outcomes

  • • Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental themes and questions of Political Theology.
  • • Identify, explain and understand the arguments and/or stances of the major figures within the tradition of Political Theology.
  • • Recognise the crucial intersection of philosophy, politics and religion
  • • To able give a critical account of one’s own intellectual stance on the major themes and figures of Political Theology.