"Civil Society, Civil Religion" pioneers an essentially new genre of theology: a form of pure civil theology, on a systematic basis. Such theology is intended as a theory of critical civil religion. In the past civil religion has always been understood as the religious self-expression of a particular state-establishment. But with the increasing organization of international civil society new possibilities open up. Andrew Shanks argues that a truly liberating civil theology must articulate the spiritual basis for what philosopher Jan Patocka called the solidarity of the shaken - overlapping with all manner of confessional loyalties. It would thus be a response to revelation in the whole of history, but above all in those memories that remain most immediately traumatic and disturbing to us with regard to our identities as citizens. Each confessional tradition, for instance, has its own particular angle on the experience of twentieth century totalitarianism. But what, in more general terms, would consitute an ideal culture of proper remembrancing here?Andrew Shanks also considers more mainstream Christian-confessional criticisms of modernity, such as those of Kierkegaard and Barth, and explores the broader requirements of 'the solidarity of the shaken', with particular reference to Nietzsche, Levinas and, above all, Hegel. "Civil Society, Civil Religion" is an important and original book, in significant respects carrying forward the debate initiated by John Milbank's Theology and Social Theory, albeit in a very different way. It should be required reading for academics and students in the fields of theology, religion and political philosophy.
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