Special Issue "Political Theology and Pluralism"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Joseph Rivera
Website
Guest Editor
School of Theology, Philosophy, and Music, Dublin City University, Glasnevin, Whitehall, Dublin 9, Ireland
Interests: Modern Theology (Barth, Rahner and Balthasar), St. Augustine, Secular studies and Genealogies of Modernity, Phenomenology, Continental Philosophy of Religion, Political Theology (especially John Rawls and Richard Rorty), Metaphysics and concepts of the self and personal identity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The special issue will engage with the increasingly important and expansive discipline of political theology. Questions to be addressed, within the remit of each contributor’s specialism, are: how is secularism to be defined? In what way can we describe a liberal democracy as secular and/or pluralist? How does a theological perspective assume its place in such a public context? Do particular theological perspectives, such as Liberation theology, involve a particular relationship with the public square? Can traditional voices in political theology, like Augustine of Hippo, continue to energize theological voices? If so, how? Are there specific techniques or strategies for public dialogue, in which religious and non-religious citizens can employ? The scope of the special issue is to explore and complicate political theology’s understanding of late-modern pluralism. Existing literature on the topic, from Charles Taylor to Stanley Hauerwas, continues to wrestle with basic definitions of pluralism, secularism, liberalism, etc. Contributions here should help clarify and refine these terms in a theological and philosophical light.

Dr. Joseph Rivera
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Political Theology
  • Augustine
  • Secularity
  • Pluralism
  • Liberal Democracy
  • Dialogue
  • John Rawls
  • Communitarianism

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Introduction: Political Theology, or the Formations of Pluralism
Religions 2020, 11(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11010013 - 25 Dec 2019
Abstract
The need for political theology to refine its scope, and—ultimately—to arrive at a place where it might enjoy full ownership over its public voice, grows more urgent by the moment in our fraught globalized climate [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
The Bergoglian Principles: Pope Francis’ Dialectical Approach to Political Theology
Religions 2019, 10(12), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10120670 - 14 Dec 2019
Abstract
Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) is a complex thinker whose political and theological views range from the illiberal to the radical, defying easy categorization within the binaries of contemporary politics. In this article, I examine the influence of theological debates in the post-Vatican II [...] Read more.
Pope Francis (Jorge Bergoglio) is a complex thinker whose political and theological views range from the illiberal to the radical, defying easy categorization within the binaries of contemporary politics. In this article, I examine the influence of theological debates in the post-Vatican II Latin American church on his development, especially la teología del pueblo, which was, ‘to some extent’, an Argentine variant of liberation theology. This article presents a critical analysis of four ‘Bergoglian principles’—which Francis says are derived from the pillars of Catholic social teaching—first developed when he was the leader of the Jesuits in Argentina during the period of the ‘Dirty War’: time is greater than space; unity prevails over conflict; realities are more important than ideas; and the whole is greater than the part. While Francis’ work draws from a variety of theological roots and employs a range of ethical theories and methods of moral reasoning, it is these principles, with their dialectical and constructive approach to political theology, that remain constant in his work and find expression in his papal writings, including Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Si’. They clarify his operative priorities in political conflict, pluralistic dialogue, pastoral practice, and theological analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
The Church in a Pluralistic World: The Public Vision of Ressourcement
Religions 2019, 10(11), 594; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10110594 - 24 Oct 2019
Abstract
The dual concern of this article is to present the vision of the church articulated by the renowned generation of Catholic ressourcement thinkers in the mid-twentieth century, and to demonstrate its continued fecundity in the pluralist, multi-cultural context of contemporary western society. It [...] Read more.
The dual concern of this article is to present the vision of the church articulated by the renowned generation of Catholic ressourcement thinkers in the mid-twentieth century, and to demonstrate its continued fecundity in the pluralist, multi-cultural context of contemporary western society. It seeks to contribute primarily to ecclesiology, while also providing historical and social commentary with respectful suggestions for its relevance to present-day ecclesiology. The article provides an interpretative framework for understanding ressourcement with reference to its philosophical foundations and the vision of its founders. Its aims are, first, to articulate the role of ressourcement in the modern context and, secondly, to document the genesis and emergence of that movement’s perception of the church’s mandate in the world, based on an essential return to the sources of Christianity. The paper presents the public vision of ressourcement ecclesiology in two parts, drawing principally, though not exclusively, on the work of the two leading intellectual orders of the Catholic Church at the time of its formulation, namely, the Dominicans and the Jesuits of France. In this paper, I limit myself to the French-speaking Jesuits and Dominicans and do not refer to Rahner, Semmelroth, Schillebeeckx or Schoonenberg. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
Re-Enchanting Political Theology
Religions 2019, 10(10), 550; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10100550 - 26 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
For this Special Issue which confronts the ways in which the question of pluralism represents both haunting and promise within modern political theology, I explore the presence of pluralism in the context of the environmental crisis and religious responses to issues such as [...] Read more.
For this Special Issue which confronts the ways in which the question of pluralism represents both haunting and promise within modern political theology, I explore the presence of pluralism in the context of the environmental crisis and religious responses to issues such as climate change. Following Jason Ā. Josephson-Storm, I suggest that models of disenchantment are misleading—to quote Latour, “we have never been modern.” In engagement with a range of neo-vitalist scholars of enchantment including Rosi Braidotti, Karen Barad, Isabelle Stengers, Jane Bennett and William Connolly, I explore the possibility of a kind of critical-theory cosmopolitics around the concept of “enchantment” as a possible site for multi-religious political theology collaborations and argue that this is a promising post-secular frame for the establishment of cosmopolitical collaborations across quite profound kinds of difference. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
Protestant Political Theology and Pluralism: From a Politics of Refusal to Tending and Organizing for Common Goods
Religions 2019, 10(9), 522; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090522 - 10 Sep 2019
Abstract
Protestant perspectives on pluralism in political theology are predictably plural. While prevalent narratives of modern decline bemoan Protestant pluralism and its ostensive side-effects, others celebrate pluralism as a good in its own right. One aim of this essay is to display the diverse [...] Read more.
Protestant perspectives on pluralism in political theology are predictably plural. While prevalent narratives of modern decline bemoan Protestant pluralism and its ostensive side-effects, others celebrate pluralism as a good in its own right. One aim of this essay is to display the diverse perspectives in Protestant political theology regarding political theology itself, pluralism, secularism, and democracy, while clarifying and refining these terms. I do so by considering each theme in turn. Finally, I consider the ways that religious dissenters of the 1790s defy prominent depictions of Protestantism, even as they exemplify the plurality at its core. The dissenters wed an ancient legacy of reflection on theological virtues such as charity to appeals for human and women’s rights, and suggest that love of country, neighbor, alien and God is central to protestant political theology. Given the plurality inherent in Protestantism, Christianity, and modern democratic societies alike, we have good reasons, I argue, to turn from a politics of refusal to one of tending and organizing for goods shared in common. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
An Augustinian Meditation on the Saeculum
Religions 2019, 10(8), 477; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080477 - 14 Aug 2019
Abstract
Augustine’s account of the saeculum brings together his theological anthropology, ecclesiology, and Christology in establishing the church as the body of Christ—as the place wherein the restless and sinful soul finds renewal through the grace of the incarnation. Such a model of the [...] Read more.
Augustine’s account of the saeculum brings together his theological anthropology, ecclesiology, and Christology in establishing the church as the body of Christ—as the place wherein the restless and sinful soul finds renewal through the grace of the incarnation. Such a model of the saeculum pushes back against various contemporary appropriations of Augustine, including those of Milbank, Markus, and Taylor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
The “Original Position” as Public Performance: Liberalism, Pluralism, and Asceticism
Religions 2019, 10(8), 462; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080462 - 03 Aug 2019
Abstract
John Rawls’ well-known device of representation (his terminology) that he names the “original position” is put into play by the veil of ignorance. This imaginative device, found in both his early and late works, is often dismissed because it is misunderstood as an [...] Read more.
John Rawls’ well-known device of representation (his terminology) that he names the “original position” is put into play by the veil of ignorance. This imaginative device, found in both his early and late works, is often dismissed because it is misunderstood as an exercise in moral geometry. This essay discusses in more detail the subjective mechanics of the original position; while sympathetic of Rawls’ application of the veil of ignorance, I distinguish between a thick and thin veil, whereby I promote the latter. The final section makes a connection between the simulation of the original position and the religious practice of asceticism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
Habermas, Taylor, and Connolly on Secularism, Pluralism, and the Post-Secular Public Sphere
Religions 2019, 10(8), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080460 - 01 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The main purpose of this paper is to explore and understand the relationships between secularism, pluralism, and the post-secular public sphere in the thought of Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and William Connolly. The three authors develop a thorough critique of secularism which implies [...] Read more.
The main purpose of this paper is to explore and understand the relationships between secularism, pluralism, and the post-secular public sphere in the thought of Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, and William Connolly. The three authors develop a thorough critique of secularism which implies a radical break with the dogmatic idea of removing religion from the public sphere. My main objective is to show that this critique is related to a normative understanding of our post-secular situation and requires a rethinking of the boundaries of the public sphere in relation to the predicament of pluralism. Arguing against the post-metaphysical conception of secularism, Taylor develops a critique of Habermas’s “institutional translation proviso”, and Connolly stresses the agonistic dimension of the post-secular public sphere. I take these criticisms into account, while arguing that Taylor and Connolly are unable to provide a sound basis for the legitimacy of our institutional settings. In contrast to Taylor and Connolly, I propose a reading of Habermas’s theory based on the internal relationship between universal justification and the everyday contexts of pre-political solidarity. I conclude with a focus on the need to take into account the agonistic dimension of the post-secular public sphere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
Humbling the Discourse: Why Interfaith Dialogue, Religious Pluralism, Liberation Theology, and Secular Humanism Are Needed for a Robust Public Square
Religions 2019, 10(8), 450; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10080450 - 25 Jul 2019
Abstract
Our public square is in need of much refurbishment, if not reconstruction. Access for many seems barred by various ideological platforms and walls. Some are deemed too much of this, another too much of that: liberal, religious, anti-Trump, anti-Brexit, pro-life, anti-gay—whatever the label [...] Read more.
Our public square is in need of much refurbishment, if not reconstruction. Access for many seems barred by various ideological platforms and walls. Some are deemed too much of this, another too much of that: liberal, religious, anti-Trump, anti-Brexit, pro-life, anti-gay—whatever the label or brand—and some access points are opened, others closed. Gatekeepers are many, deeming who really counts, who really represents. The public square, of course, should be big, bustling, semi-chaotic “places”, rife with ideas, questions, passion, and curiosity, yet measured by standards of decorum, listening, and mutual respect. Most importantly, it should be characterized by a robust (or spunky) humility, aware of its strengths and its weaknesses. It is fair to say that in 2019, our public square could use a little uplift. While certainly not a miracle cure, nor the only possible salves, interfaith dialogue, religious pluralism, liberation theology, and secular humanism have much in their favor to nuance, challenge, and yes, purify our present polarized, and so sometimes catatonic public square. After a brief overview first explaining the title, along with what is meant in this paper by the secular and humility, it will then be argued how interfaith dialogue, religious pluralism, liberation theology, and secular humanism can liberate and purify our public square discourse—namely by practicing and promoting a robust humility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
When Liberalism Is Not Enough: Political Theology after Reinhold Niebuhr and Emmanuel Levinas
Religions 2019, 10(7), 439; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10070439 - 18 Jul 2019
Abstract
In this paper, we are interested in extending out the dialectical models of religious ethics and political theology that Reinhold Niebuhr and Emmanuel Levinas began by enacting a conversation between these two theorists. We do this by presenting and critically comparing Niebuhr’s and [...] Read more.
In this paper, we are interested in extending out the dialectical models of religious ethics and political theology that Reinhold Niebuhr and Emmanuel Levinas began by enacting a conversation between these two theorists. We do this by presenting and critically comparing Niebuhr’s and Levinas’s thought as concerns three key issues in moral and political theory: (1) the nature of persons, (2) the source and content of the moral ideal of love and the political ideal of justice, and (3) the impossibility and yet continued practical relevance of ideals for social life. Ultimately, we conclude that they mutually offer reasons to find hope in the face of political cynicism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
Open AccessArticle
Pluralism and the Roots of Social Conflict: Rethinking Rawls
Religions 2019, 10(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10010020 - 29 Dec 2018
Abstract
Attempts to refine or update definitions of pluralism in political theology and philosophy often, implicitly or explicitly, entail an account of the roots of social conflict, which pluralism is meant to address. Using the influential work of John Rawls as a starting point [...] Read more.
Attempts to refine or update definitions of pluralism in political theology and philosophy often, implicitly or explicitly, entail an account of the roots of social conflict, which pluralism is meant to address. Using the influential work of John Rawls as a starting point I further investigate the idea that the root of social conflict stems from competing beliefs systems. I conclude that Rawls’s account of social conflict is insufficiently complex, intersectional, or historicist, and his theory of pluralism and his treatment of religion suffer because of this. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Theology and Pluralism)
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