Hugh Nicholson

in Comparative Theology and the Problem of Religious Rivalry

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199772865
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199897315 | DOI:

Series: AAR Reflection and Theory in the Study of Religion Series


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This chapter introduces Carl Schmitt's controversial concept of “the political” as a fruitful category through which to explore current problems and debates in interreligious theology. It cites W. C. Smith's concept for a generic, adjectivally unmarked concept of faith — i.e. “faith” as opposed to “Christian faith” — as a paradigmatic example of liberal theology's aversion to ‘us’ versus ‘them’ relations — the political — in the sphere of religion. It goes on to suggest that recent critiques of pluralist theologies like Smith's as expressions of “Western cultural hegemonism” exemplify Schmitt's provocative thesis that attempts to eradicate the political from social relations often result only in more insidious forms of exclusion. This chapter concludes with a preview of the following chapters in the book.

Keywords: W. C. Smith; faith; the political; Carl Schmitt; exclusion; hegemonism; interreligious theology

Chapter.  7312 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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