Political Theology

REL663
Fall 2017
W 1:30-3:20pm
Area: 
Area II, Area V
Professor: 
Permission Not Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

An exploration of Christian political theology and of the relationship of the authority of the church to civil authority from the mid-20th century to the present, exploring the continuing legacy of natural law approaches, competing Augustinian political theologies, and liberation and postcolonial theologies’ contribution to shifting attention away from the authority of the nation state to the agency of the oppressed and marginalized.  How does our own post-Christian and post-secular moment open up new possibilities for Christian politics beyond either accepting the privatization of faith and the subordination of the church or denouncing modernity and the secular?  Authors:  Luke Bretherton, M. Shawn Copeland, Stanley Hauerwas, Jacques Maritain, J. B. Metz, John Milbank, Reinhold Niebuhr, Oliver O’Donovan, Kwok Pui-Lan, Carl Schmitt, Jeffrey Stout, Charles Taylor, and John Howard Yoder.

1.  To gain a critical understanding of the many meanings of political theology within the contemporary context.   2.  To explore how contemporary political theologies define themselves in relation to scripture, patristic and medieval political reflection, and the rise of the secular nation-state.     3.  To reflect on the distinctive opportunities and challenges our own historical moment poses for political theology.

Background Expected: 

Introduction to Christian Ethics, Theological Ethics, or the equivalent.

Course Requirements: 

Reading as per syllabus, 8 online reflections, 1 presentation, 15-20 page paper or 2 10-page papers

Basis of Evaluation: 

Online reflections—10%, presentation—25%, paper—65%