A brilliant account of religion's role in the political thinking of the West, from the Enlightenment to the close of World War II.
The wish to bring political life under God's authority is nothing new, and it's clear that today religious passions are again driving world politics, confounding expectations of a secular future. In this major book, Mark Lilla reveals the sources of this age-old quest-and its surprising role in shaping Western thought. Making us look deeper into our beliefs about religion, politics, and the fate of civilizations, Lilla reminds us of the modern West's unique trajectory and how to remain on it. Illuminating and challenging, The Stillborn God is a watershed in the history of ideas.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Stillborn God|
|Release Date: 09-23-2008|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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The Stillborn God
Chapter One: The Crisis
The kingdom of God is among you.
My kingdom is not of this world.
The revolt against political theology in the West was directed against a Christian tradition of thought. It began, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, as a local dispute involving a particular faith and a few kingdoms in a small corner of the globe. Yet its implications proved far-reaching, for the West and for any nation that has tried to absorb Western political ideas in the modern era. Something unprecedented happened in the polemical battle between Christian political theology and its modern adversary; an authentically new way of treating political questions, free from disputes over divine revelation, was born. What was it about the Christian tradition that provoked such a profound intellectual challenge to the way societies had always conceived of political life? That is the first question we must address. However progressive our modern political ideas may appear, they were forged in a backward looking struggle against an archaic tradition of political thought stretching back to the dawn of civilization. Christian political theology was just one expression of that tradition, and a uniquely unstable one.
God, Man, World
Why is there political theology? The question echoes quietly throughout the history of Western thought, beginning in Greek and Roman antiquity and continuing down to our day. But generally it has been interpreted in terms of another question, which is why human beings believe in gods.
Western theories about the genesis and nature of religious belief are numerous, and we will