Political Theology 22.6
Genealogy critique has furthered the debate about how theological ideas continue to inform secular claims in modernity. At the same time, there are arguments suggesting that genealogy critique tends to locate secular modernity inside theological self-descriptions of the world-historical and eschatological orientation of Christianity. This article sheds light on theological debates that directly or indirectly informed notions of rupture and continuity in the older secularization debate by pointing to similarities in the works of Karl Löwith and Hans Blumenberg. If the secularization narrative was framed with a view to contemporary theological discussions about history and eschatology, as well as the problem of specifying the apocalyptical orientation of early Christianity as it intersects with or separates itself from “late Judaism,” then the question arises how scholars of religion, who engage in genealogy critique today, respond to these theological legacies.
To Sing Against Singing: Constraint and Liberation in the Spirituals of Roland Hayes
Pages: 475-492 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2020.1855843
The tenor Roland Hayes came to international fame in the Harlem Renaissance, but the obscurity that followed his success reveals the catch-22 that confronted him and many of his contemporaries. Hayes’s career was plagued by the choice between, on the one hand, assimilating black music to narrations of primitivity and authenticity and, on the other, subscribing to projects of black music’s transformation under the tutelage of Western form. The first part of this article traces the tangled discourse on the meaning and significance of the spirituals from Frederick Douglass to the Harlem Renaissance. The second examines how this context shaped Hayes’s career and its reception. The third turns to James Cone to articulate a constructive theological reading of divine liberation in the spirituals. Here, the essay argues that the spirituals’ theology must be heard both within the songs’ historical complexity and as witness to a different understanding of history itself.
“To Struggle Against the Tree of Life”: Reading Bonhoeffer’s Creation and Fall in the Anthropocene
Andrew D. Bowyer
Pages: 493-509 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2020.1840037
Bonhoeffer’s Creation and Fall guides readers through a “theological” exegesis of Genesis chapters 1–3 and was an early manifestation of the “German Church Struggle” (Kirchenkampf) against National Socialism. In this paper, I propose a re-reading of Creation and Fall attentive to contemporary environmental and political conditions. Drawing on the work of William E. Connolly, I outline points of affirmation, critique, and supplementation. Just as Bonhoeffer recognized the need for a “crisis theology” in the face of Nazism, so now global warming and the rise of “aspirational fascism” demands analogous efforts. I argue that Bonhoeffer’s focus on biblical myth as a counter to fascist myth, his articulation of a relational ontology and embrace of “incarnational humanism,” are all relevant to the task of Christian political theology today. There is a need, however, to transcend Bonhoeffer’s anthropocentric bias, supplementing his readings of Eden’s mythic symbols to encourage forms of “entangled humanism” that are essential to Creation’s defence.
Radical Democratic Discipleship: Encountering the Spirit in Civic Life
Pages: 510-526 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2020.1863037
This article addresses the possibilities for Christian formation – especially ethical and political formation – that accompany participation in civic life. I argue that the possibility of being formed as a Christian outside the practices of the church is an important dimension of discipleship, but one that has often been overlooked in recent theological discussions. In response, I offer an account of extra-ecclesial formation as part of a wider pattern of being formed by the work of the Spirit in the world. Bringing this pneumatology into conversation with radical democratic thought, I outline the practices involved in making ourselves open to encountering the Spirit in civic life, highlighting the need for a posture of attentive openness to receiving the Spirit’s gifts Spirit from unexpected quarters – including through encounters with strangers. This openness to being surprised also has implications for the ongoing formation of the church.
Nihilopolitics as Meta-biopolitics? On Arthur Bradley’s Unbearable Life: A Genealogy of Political Erasure |
Pages: 527-539 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1944000
The universal enemy: jihad, empire and the challenge of solidarity
by Darryl Li, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 2019, 384pp, $30 (paperback), ISBN 9781503610873.
Pages: 540-543 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2020.1860575
Christian citizens: reading the Bible in black and white in the Postemancipation South
by Elizabeth L. Jemison, Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina Press, 2020, xiii, 242 pp., $95.00, ISBN 978-1-4696-5968-8
Pages: 543-545 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1896883
Witnessing whiteness: confronting white supremacy in the American church
by Kristopher Norris, New York, Oxford University Press, 2020, 256 pp., $29.95 (hardcover), ISBN 0190055812
Julie Mavity Maddalena
Pages: 545-547 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1897334
Heidegger and his Jewish reception
by Daniel M. Herskowitz, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2021, 346 pp., £75 (hardback), ISBN 9781108840460
Pages: 547-548 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1899418
After evangelicalism: The Path to a New Christianity
by David Gushee, Louisville, Westminster John Knox Press, 2020, 225 pp., Paperback $17.62; Kindle $9.99, ISBN 9780664266110
Pages: 549-550 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1916290