17 February 2011

Book: Crediting God: Sovereignty and Religion in the Age of Global Capitalism

Just published: "Crediting God: Sovereignty and Religion in the Age of Global Capitalism", edited by Miguel Vatter (Fordham University Press, January 2011):


Publisher's description: "Tocqueville suggested that 'the people reign in the American political world like God over the universe.' This intuition anticipates the crisis in the secularization paradigm that has brought theology back as a fundamental part of sociological and political analysis. It has become more difficult to believe that humanity's progress necessarily leads to atheism, or that it is possible to translate all that is good about religion into reasonable terms acceptable in principle by all, believers as well as nonbelievers. And yet, the spread of Enlightenment values, of an independent public sphere, and of alternative 'projects of modernity' continues unabated and is by no means the antithesis of the renewed vigor of religious beliefs. The essays in this book shed interdisciplinary and multicultural light on a hypothesis that helps to account for such an unexpected convergence of enlightenment and religion in our times: Religion has reentered the public sphere because it puts into question the relation between God and the concept of political sovereignty.

"In the first part, 'Religion and Polity-Building,' new perspectives are brought to bear on the tension-ridden connection between theophany and state-building from the perspective of world religions. Globalized, neo-liberal capitalism has been another crucial factor in loosening the bond between God and the state, as the essays in the second part, 'The End of the Saeculum and Global Capitalism,' show. The essays in the third part, 'Questioning Sovereignty: Law and Justice,' are dedicated to a critique of the premises of political theology, starting from the possibility of a prior, perhaps deeper relation between democracy and theocracy. The book concludes with three innovative essays dedicated to examining Tocqueville in order to think the 'Religion of Democracy' beyond the idea of civil religion."

Contributors: Friedrich Balke, Hauke Brunkhorst, José Casanova, William E. Connolly, Fred Dallmayr, Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Georges Dreyfus, Abdou Filali-Ansari, Eddie Glaude, Ranjoo Seodu Herr, Lucien Jaume, Regina Schwartz, Shmuel Trigano, Miguel Vatter, Samuel Weber

Endorsements: "Crediting God is a welcome, multidisciplinary contribution to current debates about sovereignty, political theology, and secularism. Ranging across a variety of religious traditions – including Confucianism, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity – the engaging essays that Miguel Vatter brings together in this volume challenge and deepen our understanding of the political significance of religious fundamentalisms." (Robert Gooding-Williams, University of Chicago)

"This volume, competently edited and introduced by Miguel Vatter, is one of the most rigorous and complete presentations of the complex relation between theology and politics around today. Historical references and theoretical questions, issues of dogma and political analyses, intersect around one and the same nucleus of sense which sheds new light on the dynamics and the conflicts of the globalized world." (Roberto Esposito, Italian Institute of Human Sciences)

"Crediting God offers new frameworks – beyond privatization or secularization or fundamentalism – for political theorists to approach the religious dimensions of public life. The essays foster fresh intellectual alliances, rediscover political classics, and encourage new readers for scholarship in various disciplines. The whole collection feels inviting and generous." (Kathleen Roberts Skerrett, Grinnell College)

Miguel Vatter is Professor of Political Science at the Universidad Diego Portales, Chile.

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