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Title: Christianity under the state : with Yoder, after critique
Author: King, James
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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Chapter 1: I construct a synthetic reading of the political works of John Howard Yoder, demonstrating that they offer a theological doctrine of the state, counter to the received opinion of Yoder scholarship. While human social life is deemed entirely political, the concept of principalities and powers is shown to be key to understanding Yoder's conception of the state. Further, Yoder demonstrates an apocalyptic political theology, which, as well as waiting on God's action, is also empowered to act in the created realm in the present, secular age. Chapter 2: Stanley Hauerwas' work applies Yoder's concept of the church as political to an understanding of the church in liberal American society and finds this latter to threaten the integrity of Christian distinctiveness both personal and ecclesial. Hauerwas' theology is shown to be deficiently apocalyptic, with the results that he disallows the state a role in God's providence and also has difficulty providing a consistent understanding of possibility of goodness outwith the church. Chapter 3: John Milbank's elaborate reconstruction of the modern Western political and social imaginary as heresy is introduced from a number of angles. Criticisms are made of tensions in Milbank's early and later work between a democratic impulse and a commitment to a sovereign monarch and an aristocratic elite governing society, and between a Baroque-postmodern understanding of human social construction and ideals of a perduring nature and transcendental goodness, beauty and truth. Chapter 4: Following Yoder's suggestion of conscientious participation, a case study is made of Paul Butler's call for a campaign of nullifications of prosecutions of nonviolent black offenders, leading into a consideration of the jury as a valid site of conscience with liberal democracies. The jury's representativity is such that a jury expresses the community's conscience when those individuals called to serve on a jury are invited to express their moral beliefs, even those informed by religion convictions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Religion and state