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Political Theology, Volume 22, Issue 8 Is Now Available

The journal Political Theology has published volume 22, issue 8.

Political Theology vol 22.8


Apostle to Nixonland: Taylor Caldwell’s Paul and the Unknown God of Neoliberalism
Jay Twomey
Pages: 665-679 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2020.1855844

In 1970, Taylor Caldwell (1900–1985) published a best-selling historical novel about Saint Paul, Great Lion of God, making the apostle politically available to a nation facing divisive social and political turmoil. Channeling Nixon-era resentments and Cold War libertarianism, Caldwell’s Paul is offered up as an answer to America’s ills. But unlike the protagonists of Caldwell’s other works, some of which continue to be read by conservative audiences today (including Sean Hannity), her Paul never quite finds his footing. The reason for this involves what might be considered Caldwell’s political theology of the Unknown God. The Unknown God operates in Caldwell’s work as a neoliberal theologeme, combining in one figure a vaguely Christological universalism and a market-based vision of American greatness. The instabilities and tensions inherent in this pairing are borne out in her characterization of Paul and presage the experience of American neoliberalism from the 1970s on.

Christian Realism and the State as Idol: Feminist and Postcolonial Critique and Christian Realist Theology in an Interdependent World
Laura E. Alexander
Pages: 680-698 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1893958

At a time of outspoken nationalism, Christian realism accurately diagnoses idolatry of the state as a political and theological problem. The power of sovereign states protects self-determination but can allow states to unjustly oppress members of minority groups. From a Christian realist perspective, states’ power relative to other institutions can encourage religious idolatry, with citizens devoting their ultimate loyalty to a state. To mitigate this problem, Christian realism argues for recognition of states’ limitations. However, Christian realism itself remains beholden to a notion of states’ sovereign agency rooted in an incomplete picture of human nature. Recent feminist and postcolonial scholarship on human relationality shows how state sovereignty and agency are modified by relationships within networks of local, national, and global institutions. This analysis enriches Christian realist critiques of idolatry of the state. It argues for recognition of the role of grassroots communities and enhanced cooperation among states and other institutions.

Supernatural, Unnatural, Queer: Gratitude and Nature in Islamic Political Theology
Abdul Rahman Mustafa
Pages: 699-719 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1920219

This article analyzes the problem of gratitude for the gift of nature from the perspective of Islamic political theology, which it reads alongside queer ecology to arrive at an anti-colonial critique of anthropic sovereignty. In classical Islamic theology, (as in the philosophy of Derrida, Nietzsche and Kant), a gift entails a necessary curtailment of the beneficiary’s sovereign freedom and autonomy. Islamic eco-theology, however, frequently valorizes the exercise of anthropic “vice-regal” power over a “subservient” nature, a power that has historically secured the exile of various non/human ontologies from nature and thence from politics. In their shared exile from nature and normativity, Islam, queerness and indigeneity come to form attachments and alliances that interrogate universalizing accounts of nature and humanity. Islamic theology and queer theory also furnish resources that allow irony and jest to emerge as modes by which the Qurʾān stages its playful political critique of anthropic sovereignty.

Rosenzweig’s The Star of Redemption and the Contemporary Moment Roundtable

Elias Sacks & Sarah Pessin
Pages: 720-724 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.2002515

Prophetic Politics and Tyranny: A Reassessment of Rosenzweig’s the Star of Redemption
Randi Rashkover
Pages: 725-730 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.2002516

“Lawful and Coercive”: Thinking about Abolitionism and Rosenzweig
Larisa Reznik
Pages: 731-737 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.2002517

Can Political Action Be Redemptive?
Martin Kavka
Pages: 738-743 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.2002518

Redemption Without Blue Skies: Racialized Exception, Exclusion, and Exile in Fanon, Wilderson, Moten, and Rosenzweig
Sarah Pessin
Pages: 744-752 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.2002519

Review Essay

Remembering the Violence of My Ancestors: A Personal-Academic Engagement with Erika Helgen’s Religious Conflict in Brazil
João B. Chaves
Pages: 753-759 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1955587

Book Reviews 

Break every yoke: religion, justice and the abolition of prisons
by Joshua Dubler and Vincent W. Lloyd, New York, Oxford University Press, 2020, 264 pp., $35.00 (hardback), ISBN 9780190949150

Hunter Bragg
Pages: 760-761 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1933014

Leo Strauss and the theopolitics of culture
by Philipp von Wussow, Albany, SUNY Press, 2020, 402pp., $95.00 hardcover, ISBN13: 978-1-4384-7839-5; $33.95 paperback, ISBN13: 978-1-4384-7840-1

Daniel Kneipp
Pages: 761-764 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1954355

Penser la Palestine en réseaux, Diacritiques Éditions
Véronique Bontemps, Nicolas Dot-Pouillard, Jalal al-Husseini, Abaher el Sakka, dir., Presses de l’IFPO, Marseille, Beyrouth, 2020, 257 pages, 20 €, ISBN-13: 9791097093105.

Vincent Romani
Pages: 764-765 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1991748

From the Ancient Near East to Christian Byzantium: kings, symbols, and cities
by Mario Baghos, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2021, 264 pp., £64.99 (hardback), ISBN 9781527566279

Jonathan Cole
Pages: 765-767 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1991749

Thoreau’s religion: Walden woods, social justice, and the politics of asceticism
by Alda Balthrop-Lewis, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2021, xxiii, 308 pp., $99.99, ISBN: 978-1-108-83510-7.

David M. Craig
Pages: 767-769 | DOI: 10.1080/1462317X.2021.1992228

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