Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Theology

Abstract

In modern philosophy, the concept of ideology has been a problem for the relationship of theology to politics. Especially in its Marxist usage, “ideology” refers to a specific effect that theology has in modern society so as to conceal or hide the material facticity that shapes human life and practical activity. This is one of the many reasons why theology, even in its political form, has not taken up “ideology” as a matter inherent to its critical form. The absence of theoretical attention to ideology in theology itself has led to the deficit of immanent critique, especially in political theology. However, theology and ideology are showing up together in an area where one is least likely to expect it: radical critical theory. Critical theory has repeatedly taken up theology and ideology critique together, so as to use the emancipatory potential of theology to address major political questions amidst our acute awareness of social crisis and political impasse. My dissertation analyzes key theological and philosophical interlocutors (e.g., Slavoj Zizek, Johann Baptist Metz, Paul Tillich, Marcella Althaus-Reid, Theodor Adorno, etc) that represent major trajectories in these two discourses – modern political theology and contemporary political philosophy – in order to promote the role of immanent critique in political theology. This is important because it clarifies the function of ideology critique (and critique in general) in Christian political theology. It also foregrounds how contemporary theories of ideology are mediating the relation of theology to politics, a matter of increased importance given the recent “turn to religion” in contemporary politics and culture? Can political theology still provide norms for establishing a just, egalitarian, and solidaristic social order after critical theory? This dissertations sketches a critical theology that retrieves critique as an intrinsic theological concept in political theology; this redefines theology away providing norms and towards the practice of critique, but does so without depreciating its thoroughly political nature.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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