Saint John: The Miracle of Secular Reason

Matthew Scherer

in Political Theologies

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226443
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237043 | DOI:
Saint John: The Miracle of Secular Reason

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Miracles stand at the center of a complex relation between faith and reason. It is at this intersection that miracles take on their most political valence: as Thomas Hobbes recognized, deciding upon the truth or falsity of a miraculous event is a function of authority, on the one hand, but, on the other—as can be seen in the cases of prophets, apostles, and saints—miracles themselves produce authority, serving as warrants for the legitimacy of the figures who perform them. This chapter articulates the problem of miraculous events and examines John Rawls's theory of justice. It focuses on how ways of life, modes of acknowledgment, and forms of loyalty enable and structure the experience of the political in a fashion that interpretations of utilitarianism, political liberalism, communicative rationality, and rational choice cannot, for conceptual reasons, appreciate. It argues that motifs such as saintliness—and, in addition, the miraculous, faith in shared concepts, and belief in the world—form the very heart and fabric of political experience.

Keywords: John Rawls; justice; miracles; saints; saintliness; reason; faith; political liberalism; utilitarianism; rational choice

Chapter.  11806 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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