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Book Review: Radical Political Theology: Religion and Politics After Liberalism by Clayton Crockett

Eberle, Bo; Schmidt, George

As the supposed victory of liberal global capitalism becomes more widely accepted, the religious (re)turn to modernity’s secular world deconstructs the haphazardly constructed walls that divide the religious from the secular. While postmodern theology exemplifies those attempts at operating within the postsecular logic, it is decidedly apolitical, bordering on conservatism. Clayton Crockett’s Radical Political Theology represents a sophisticated radical theology with the ambitious goal of decentering establishment theology while maintaining an explicitly political focus. Indeed, at its most fundamental level, Crockett’s theopolitical project exists as a union of opposites that exhibits rewarding uses of post-Marxism, postmodernism, postliberalism, and postsecularism. With the rise of the Religious Right in America and what Naomi Klein calls "disaster capitalism" over the last three decades, many thinkers appear to be lost in the liberal-conservative binary while also stuck relying on pre-modern values in order to counterpose today’s ruling regimes. Responding to this climate, Crockett proposes to "sketch out a constructive theology that is neither liberal in a classic sense nor conservative or orthodox in any way, whether politically or theologically." This will demand a radical theology, which finds its roots in the American academy’s tradition of the death of God and postmodern theologies, as a counterweight to the Religious Right’s conservative Christianity, while also pursuing radical political commitments. Crockett explicates the focus of such theopolitical commitments by "suggesting that the political and the theological problem of our time is that of freedom... Radical theology’s task is to think freedom, which means to think the death of God, especially since the idea of God traditionally grounds sovereign power and serves as its highest instantiation."


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Union Seminary Quarterly Review
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Union Theological Seminary
Union Theological Seminary
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September 16, 2015