29 May 2009

CONF: Political Philosophy vs. Political Theology?

Theological Faculty of the University of Innsbruck, Austria,
11-13 June 2009

Conference (Fachtagung): "Politische Philosophie vs. Politische Theologie? Die Frage der Gewalt im Spannungsfeld von Politik und Religion" ("Political Philosophy vs. Political Theology? The Question of Violence in the Area of Tension between Politics and Religion")

Organized by the ARGE "Politik, Religion, Gewalt" ("Politics, Religion, Violence") of the Österreichische Forschungsgemeinschaft (Austrian Research Association) and the research platform "Weltordnung – Religion – Gewalt" ("World order – Religion – Violence") of the University of Innsbruck.

This conference will build up on an argument advanced by Mark Lilla in his recent book, The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West (2007), claiming that in the modern West, in consequence of the religious wars of the seventeenth century and the works of Hobbes, Locke, and Hume, political theology was replaced by political philosophy. Lilla calls this the "Great Separation".

What he identifies as liberal political theologies of the nineteenth century (Harnack, Troeltsch, Cohen), following on from Rousseau, Kant, and Hegel, according to Lilla, was not able to live up to the religious expectations people had after the crisis of the First World War – their God had been "stillborn". Theological protest against liberal theology awoke in Karl Barth and Franz Rosenzweig and various forms of political theology, with different political leanings (from religious socialism [Tillich] to national socialism [Hirsch, Gogarten]), gained importance at that time. Heinrich Meier makes an equal distinction between political philosophy and political theology when comparing Leo Strauss and Carl Schmitt.

The conference will be discussing the arguments by Lilla and Meier in light of the currently observed return of the religious into politics, particularly with regard to violence and Islam. From a historical perspective, it will also study "political religions" such as religious socialism, Marxism-Leninism, and national socialism.

The programme of the conference (which will be held in German) is available at:


For further information and registration, please contact Maria Hahnen or Mathias Moosbrugger: mathias.moosbrugger@student.uibk.ac.at

Officially, the deadline for registration was 11 May 2009.

No comments:

Post a Comment