July 24, 2008

POLITICAL THEOLOGIESPublic Religions in a Post-Secular World
Edited by Hent de Vries and Lawrence E. Sullivan

Social Science Press-Orient Longman joint publication
360 pages 180x240 mm Hardback
Rs 795
ISBN 978-81-87358-36-7
Pub Date January 2008
“There is no more important topic today than the role of religion in public life. It is vital in both peace and war, debate and consensus, democracy and repression, nationalism and transnational humanitarian action. For anyone wishing to survey the range of theoretical perspectives on this theme, this collection by Hent de Vries and Lawrence Sullivan is indispensable. It offers the single best assemblage of sources for understanding not only political theologies, but issues of pluralism, secularism, and contending ideas of the human that they raise.”
—CRAIG CALHOUN, President, Social Science Research Council
“The wholly unanticipated reemergence of religion into the realm of politics and public policy, which is happening all over the world, is puzzling and worrisome to some people. Many explanations for this surprising development have been advanced, none fully satisfactory. Now this volume brings together some of the keenest and best-informed analysis yet available, from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. It sets a new gold standard for future attempts to understand the growing role of religion in the twenty-first century.”
—HARVEY COX, Hollis Professor of Divinity, Harvard University

IN A GLOBALIZED WORLD, how can one bridge the private lives of individuals and public cultures or ways of life? In what ways does religion, with regard to words, gestures, and things, exert a pressure on structures of governance? Political Theologies: Public Religions in a Post-secular World opens an inquiry concerning the engagement of religion with politics.

Religion, in its local and global form, is perceived as a ‘problem’ to which intellectuals, policy-makers, cultural critics and economists direct their attention. A society is ‘post-secular’ if it reckons with the diminishing but enduring – and hence, perhaps, ever more resistant – existence of the religious.

The seventeen papers in this volume examine interrelationships between the political, economic and cultural characteristics of the ‘age of globalization’ on the one hand and the vision of society and structures of governance developed over millennia by religious traditions on the other. It explores the possibility that religion might give people a chance to lead better lives in the modern milieu.
The volume will be of great interest to students of religion, politics, sociology and philosophy, as well as the interested general reader.

Hent de Vries is Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at The Johns Hopkins University and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam. He is the author of: Philosophy and the Turn to Religion; Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida; and Minimal Theologies: Critiques of Secular Reason in Adorno and Levinas. He is the editor, with Samuel Weber, of Violence, Identity, and Self-Determination and Religion and Media.
Lawrence E. Sullivan is Professor of World Religions at the University of Notre Dame. The author of Icanchu’s Drum: An Orientation to Meaning in South American Religions, he was for many years director of Harvard University’s Center for the Study of World Religions, and he has served as President of the American Academy of Religion (AAR).

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