In recent history the relationship between religion and politics had been largely ignored except among scholars of historical archaeology and sociological interpretation. But the globalisation trends shaping our civilisation have brought this relationship to the fore. A better understanding of the relationship between religion and politics is indeed urgent: Is it possible to build a political order that is entirely immanent, with no elements of transcendence? This book narrates the history of political theology, starting with its origins in ancient times, its development through the Middle Ages, its resurgence fed by the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation, its elimination from the modern doctrine of the state, and, finally, its resurrection in 20th century political philosophy and religious thought. Over the centuries philosophical thought has envisaged the relationship between immanence and transcendence in many different ways, but it has always referred to the idea that politics, a fundamental experience of humanity, necessarily refers to theology, from which it must however emancipate itself in order to avoid its own ruin.
Merio Scattola teaches History of Political Thought at the University of Padua.
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