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Literature and Political Theology

What is Literature and Political Theology?

Villanova’s Center for Political Theology is hosting a new blog stream here on the Political Theology Network’s website exploring “Literature and Political Theology.” But what does that mean? If political theology names inquiry into the entanglement between religious and political ideas (and practices, and feelings, and forms of imagination), how does literature enter the mix? Literary texts could be a site at which to explore the entanglement between the religious and the political – a site unlike others, or perhaps the paradigm for others. But perhaps literature, and the questions of the aesthetic that it opens, do more, pushing us to rethink what political theology is, what theories inform conversations about political theology, what methods guide political theology, and the public audiences of political theology.

The five editors of the “Literature and Political Theology” blog each wrote brief reflections on this set of issues. Together, they set the stage for the blog, signaling its expansiveness, its critical edge, and its attention to not only the good and the true but also the beautiful.

Symposium Essays

(((Jewish))) literature and political theology

Villanova University’s Center for Political Theology is thrilled to launch this new blog, Literature and Political Theology, with a post from Benjamin Balthaser, one of its editors. We will be sharing posts from the other editors, Kris Trujillo, Mimi Winick, Brook Wilensky-Lanford, and James Ford III over the coming months, between symposia on literary works. Among the literary works that will be discussed are texts by Virginia Woolf, Octavia Butler, Philip K. Dick, Susan Taubes, and Zora Neale Hurston, and Helene Wecker.

Feminist Fantasy and Political Theology

How does literature shape the world, and the bodies, social forms, and political acts that constitute it? What particular roles might the category of religion, and specifically religious experiences, play in such shaping?

What Does the Text Do? Contingency in Imaginative Writing

Who is this work being written for, what kind of critical stance does it take toward that imagined reader—challenging, comforting, prophetic, regressive? For me there is always something slightly transgressive about reading imaginative writing theologically.