What is Political Theology?

“Political Theology” was the term German political philosopher Carl Schmitt gave to theology that entered the political arena in nineteenth century western Europe. For our purposes, political theology refers to a movement inspired by nineteenth century Dutch Calvinism and then transplanted to the United States. This movement adopts the reformed (i.e., Calvinist) conviction that no sphere of life falls outside of God’s interest or control, but it then transforms this conviction into a full-blown post-democratic, extra-judicial ideology.

Beginning October 5, we will be reading and discussing Jeff Sharlet’s runaway best-sellers that touch upon this movement: The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power  (read an excerpt) and C Street (read an interview). The class will also conduct a screening of Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s award-winning documentary Jesus Camp. For more information, contact Joseph W.H. Lough.