Chapter

Church, State, Resistance

Jean-Luc Nancy

in Political Theologies

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226443
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237043 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fso/9780823226443.003.0003
Church, State, Resistance

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This chapter argues that the relationship between church and state must be rethought in light of the fact that religion, while not a private preference but rather a mode of representing and organizing both personal and collective existence, is the original and polar opposite of the political. Theocracy, as the other of politics, represents heteronomy by definition and by structure. Politics—conceived as a form of political or moral resistance—can be seen to imply a relation between autonomy and heteronomy, that is to say, between the political and the ecclesial (and hence, we may suspect, ultimately between democracy and theocracy). This chapter thus postulates a more fundamental and effective/affective modality of relation (here called “love”), which precedes or supersedes the distinction between autonomy and heteronomy and exerts itself in—and beyond—the very resistance between the two poles that has constituted the essence of the political since Greece, Rome, and the earliest beginnings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Keywords: church; state; religion; politics; theocracy; autonomy; heteronomy; democracy; resistance

Chapter.  5209 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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