Political Theology: Reflections on a Contested Concept

November 12, 2020
Faculty of Theology, University of Copenhagen Amager

Karen Blixens Plads 16
Copenhagen 2300

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“Political theology” has become one of the most widely used concepts within theology, law, political science and philosophy. Despite its overwhelming success, however, it remains highly contested. One could rightly ask whether “political theology” is best understood as a systematic discipline in its own right or as an interpretative category of political events and doctrines that only became pertinent at a certain point in history. In this seminar, we shall pursue the latter option. In fact, “political theology” seems to correspond to a way of envisaging the processes of history in terms of the intricate exchange between the political and the theological domain. To this view, theology continues to exert a profound influence on our political practices though more often than not without our knowledge.

In this seminar we shall attempt to critically engage with such a conception of “political theology”. This engagement is premised on a two-fold objective: 1) to study paradigmatic figures within a history often construed along the lines of “political theology”; 2) to clarify the possible methodological problems involved in such a historical construction. Participants are thus invited to reflect upon the basic presuppositions of something like a “political theology”, its conditions of possibility and its historical rootedness. Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged.

The seminar is organized as a Ph.D.-course and doctoral students from all faculties are welcome.

Teaching methods: a combination of lectures, readings, paper presentations by PhD-students and panel discussions.

ECTS: 2 ECTS-points are given to each presenting participant, while 0,5 ECTS are given for participation without presentation. If you wish to present a paper at the seminar, please send a short abstract of no more than 500 words to Esben K. Rasmussen (ekr@teol.ku.dk) no later than August 12, 2020.

Proposed topics, but not limited to: Early Christianity (Eusebius, Saint Augustin), protestant theology (Calvin, Luther, Kierkegaard), the history of political thought (Marsilius of Padua, Hobbes, Hegel), 20th century thought (Schmitt, Benjamin, Blumenberg), the history of legal thought (von Savigny, Stahl).

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August 12, 2020, 9:00am CET

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