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Women's Rally Protesting Trump, January 21, 2017 (photo by Edward Kimmel)
States of Exception

Church State Corporation

Church State Corporation is a powerful reminder that . . . rights [are] recognized on a whim rather than guaranteed by nature.

Winnifred Fallers Sullivan’s new book, Church State Corporation provides an especially fitting occasion to showcase the variety of voices that populate and shape the field of political theology today. In the four essays that will follow my own in successive weeks, Yael Almog, Spencer Dew, Joshua Mauldin, and Méadhbh McIvor bring their distinctive perspectives as scholars trained in history, religious studies, Christian theology, and anthropology as well as their shared orientation as participants in the interdisciplinary field of political theology. (Three of the contributors are book review editors for the journal Political Theology, a cousin of this website.)

Online book discussions can have a centripetal force, beginning with professions of love and reinforcing shared understandings—turning critical engagement into “convenings.” In contrast, the essays that follow share the virtues characteristic of this website, the journal Political Theology, and the broader field (and Sullivan’s book). They are smart, careful, close engagements with a text, they draw on varied theoretical and methodological resources, they are animated by the spirits of charity and justice, and their authors’ voices come through as distinctive, maybe even a little quirky.

Symposium Essays

From the Sovereign to the Church

The opposite of sovereignty is not anarchy but rather hope, and hope is accessed through the practice of attending to the complex space (or “broken middle”) of social life, the space that is exposed when purported sovereigns are demystified.

The Church as Juridical Fiction

Church-state relations have been examined as a catalyst of legal conflicts, particularly in the United States today. Yet what do we mean when we talk about the “church” in legal contexts?

The Revolutionary Church of Winnifred Fallers Sullivan

Rather than worry about whether other people will come to the table, whether other people will listen, we must, first, come to the table ourselves, be willing to do the revolutionary work of “listening and talking,” proceeding into the real risk of such encounter with likewise real openness to the experience and its transformative effect. This is, to risk profound understatement, a difficult talk.

Going to Law: A Response to Winnifred Fallers Sullivan’s Church State Corporation

Religion continues to bedevil the secularist attempt to relegate it to the private sphere.

Law, Religion, and Reality Fiction

Sullivan’s scholarship reminds us that without the collective work of reimagining, to seek justice through law alone is to succumb to legal fiction.

The Middle Place

We must re-imagine what it is to be human together. That is both a religious and a legal project, in my view.