Political Theology: Reflecting on the Arts of a Liberating Politics

  • Mark Lewis Taylor
Part of the New Approaches to Religion and Power book series (NARP)


Those of us in theological studies who take seriously our place in public life often undertake “political theology” to join theology with public issues. Just what constitutes political theology today is highly contested (de Vries and Sullivan 2006). I will argue for a political theology not because we need an already-constituted guild discipline, Theology (its guild status denoted by a capital “T”) to address political problems, making “political theology” a sub-discipline of Theology proper. Instead, I hold that Theology, whatever its subject-matter (God, Christ or church, social justice, existential concerns) is always already political. It has a “politicality,” its discourses inscribed in a complex play of public forces of antagonism. Political theology, as I have long proposed, is theological discourse always mindful of its inscription (embed-dedness) in antagonisms, generated by assemblages of social constructs: class, empire, race, gender, sexuality, nation. Political theology is also, in Jean-Luc Nancy’s sense, an “exscription,” a writing-out from bodies suffering these antagonisms, toward an integral liberation. Especially as exscription, political theology, I argue here, is reflection on the arts at work in social movements with liberating impact. In the spirit of Zheng’s epigraph above, political theology’s discourse arises from sites of enlivening synergy between art and social movement, making liberation thinkable, achievable (Zheng 2007, 40).1


Social Movement Public Life Liberate Politics Christian Theologian Mass Incarceration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Ada María Isasi-Díaz, Mary McClintock Fulkerson, and Rosemary P. Carbine 2013

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  • Mark Lewis Taylor

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