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Transcendence, sacrifice, and aspiration

This innovative and timely reassessment of political theology opens new lines of critical investigation into the intersections of religion and politics in contemporary Asia. Political Theologies and Development in Asia pioneers the theo-political analysis of Asian politics and in so doing moves beyond a focus on the (Post-)Christian West that has to date dominated scholarly discussions on this theme. It also locates ‘development’ as a vital focus for critical investigations into Asian political theologies. The volume includes contributions by leading anthropologists, sociologists, and political scientists. Each chapter brings new theoretical approaches into conversation with detailed empirical case studies grounded in modern Asia. Not only does the volume illustrate the value and import of this approach to a diverse set of contemporary Asian societies and religions, but it also provides a forceful argument for why political theology itself requires this broader horizon to remain relevant and critical. The focus on ‘development’ – conceptualised broadly here as a set of modern transnational networks of ideas and practices of improvement that connect geographically disparate locations¬¬ – enables a fresh and critical analysis of the ways in which political theology is imagined, materialised, and contested both within and beyond particular nation-states. Investigating the sacred dimensions of power through concepts of transcendence, sacrifice, and victimhood, and aspiration and salvation, the chapters in this collection demonstrate how European and Asian modernities are bound together through genealogical, institutional, and theo-political entanglements, as well as a long history of global interactions.

Kieran Keohane
Carmen Kuhling

5 Political theologies in the wake of the Celtic Tiger In the wake of the sudden death of the Celtic Tiger Irish business leaders called for the suspension of normal partisan democratic politics and the formation of a one-party government with the will to make crucial decisions necessary to deal with the ‘exceptional circumstances’ occasioned by this ‘national emergency’. The government, they charged, was drifting aimlessly, unable to clarify what needed to be done and unwilling to rule. What was needed, Ireland’s businessmen claimed, was ‘an all party

in The domestic, moral and political economies of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland

The debate on the polity of the church was at the centre of the religious debates in the British Atlantic world during the middle decades of the seventeenth-century. From the Covenanter revolution in Scotland, to the congregationalism of the New England colonies, to the protracted debates of the Westminster assembly, and the abolition of the centuries-old episcopalian structure of the Church of England, the issue of the polity of the church was intertwined with the political questions of the period. This book collects together essays focusing on the conjunction of church polity and politics in the middle years of the seventeenth century. A number of chapters in the volume address the questions and conflicts arising out of the period’s reopening and rethinking of the Reformation settlement of church and state. In addition, the interplay between the localities and the various Westminster administrations of the era are explored in a number of chapters. Beyond these discussions, chapters in the volume explore the deeper ecclesiological thinking of the period, examining the nature of the polity of the church and its relationship to society at large. The book also covers the issues of liberty of conscience and how religious suffering contributed to a sense of what the true church was in the midst of revolutionary political upheaval. This volume asserts the fundamental connection between church polity and politics in the revolutions that affected the seventeenth-century British Atlantic world.

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Portraits of anarcho-Judaism

The previously unexplored legacy of religious anarchism in traditional Jewish theology is examined for the first time in this book. Probing the life and thought of figures whose writings have gone largely unread since they were first published, Hayyim Rothman makes, in the first place, a case for the existence of this heritage. He shows that there existed, from the late nineteenth though the mid-twentieth century, a loosely connected group of rabbis and traditionalist thinkers who explicitly appealed to anarchist ideas in articulating the meaning of the Torah, of traditional practice, of Jewish life, and the mission of modern Jewry. Supported by close readings of the Yiddish and Hebrew writings of Yaakov Meir Zalkind, Yitshak Nahman Steinberg, Yehuda Leyb Don-Yahiya, Avraham Yehudah Hen, Natah Hofshi, Shmuel Alexandrov, and Yehudah Ashlag this book traces a complicated story about the intersection, not only of religion and anarchism, but also of pacifism and Zionism, prophetic anti-authoritarianism, and mystical antinomianism. Bringing to light, not merely fresh source material, but uncovering a train of modern Jewish political thought that has scarcely been imagined, much less studied, No masters but God is a groundbreaking contribution.

The political theology of development in Asia
Giuseppe Bolotta
Philip Fountain
, and
R. Michael Feener

Scholarship on political theology has made important interventions toward deconstructing the official script of secularism and revealing the ‘secular conversion’ of a Christian ethos into the constitutional-juridical scaffolding of modern nation-states (Schmitt, 2005 ; Lefort, 2006 ). In the context of Enlightenment Europe, political theology developed a number of critical analytical tools to ‘unmake’ the secular fiction of political modernity. Recognising that political theology discourse emerged as a transgressive, deviant expression of modern thinking, we

in Political theologies and development in Asia
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Genealogies of Shiʿa humanitarianism in Pakistan, England, and Iraq
Till Mostowlansky

Starting with the seminal work of Carl Schmitt (1985[ 1922 ]), scholars of political theology have always been interested in the examination of the religious roots of modern secular formations. 1 For instance, most recently, Wydra ( 2015 ) argues that ‘transcendence’ has had a continuous historical presence in political processes up to the present day. Applying this observation to the study of humanitarian reason, Fassin ( 2012 ) frames humanitarianism as a political theology that is historically rooted in Christianity. He situates his argument in a

in Political theologies and development in Asia
Buddhist salvation and the
Edoardo Siani

their authority. Early Christian monarchs legitimised their rule by claiming divine vicariate, while contemporary liberal heads of state act in the name of abstract principles such as ‘the nation’, ‘democracy’ and ‘justice’. Ideologues may claim to have removed God from politics, but, today as in premodern times, ‘political theologies’, whether religious or secular, remain at the heart of power. In this chapter, I examine the relationship between power and the celestial in Buddhist Thailand by exploring the problem of sovereignty after the death or ‘passing into the

in Political theologies and development in Asia
Sunila S. Kale
Christian Lee Novetzke

means the first, or the last, to embody yoga as a political idea, Gandhi’s global significance and full articulation of yoga as political theology is the ideal case subject for the speculations and reflections on political theology represented in the organising thesis of this volume and its many different chapters. Our contribution plays with the volume’s themes of ‘political theology’ and ‘development’ through our focus on yoga and the ideologies articulated by Gandhi. Yoga as political theology Our chapter is about yoga, but not the yoga restricted to the iconic

in Political theologies and development in Asia
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Shaping the body-politic via institutional charisma
Armando Salvatore

historical sociology, supplemented by a critique and reconstruction of categories of Western social theory. One of the primary fields of historical sociology concerns how the modern state has emerged and taken form since the Late Middle Ages. This chapter approaches the concept of ‘political theology’ through the analysis of the influence of religious knowledge and symbols on state-formation. My approach does not consist in applying general theory, whether Whiggish or less so, to Asian Islamicate cases. I am rather going the opposite path. Even if tentatively referring to

in Political theologies and development in Asia
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The political theology of the development citizen
Sam Han

This chapter aims to investigate the political theology of development in South Korea through an analysis of trends in popular and media culture in the context of its unique circumstances vis-à-vis modernity. It focuses on the cultural production of a particular form of citizenship – development citizenship, which I suggest, serves as the subjective basis for what I have in other work called ‘spiritualised nationalism’ (Han, 2017 ). The chapter takes cues methodologically and conceptually from media-focused cultural studies (Fiske, 1992 ; Kellner, 2003

in Political theologies and development in Asia