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Religious Voices in Public Places$
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Nigel Biggar and Linda Hogan

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199566624

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199566624.001.0001

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Messianic Ethics and Diaspora Communities

Messianic Ethics and Diaspora Communities

Upbuilding the Secular Theologically from Below

(p.110) 5 Messianic Ethics and Diaspora Communities
Religious Voices in Public Places

P. Travis Kroeker

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that most forms of political liberalism — including those of theorists such as Jeffrey Stout who are receptive to the consideration of religious reasons and theological ethical contributions in a secular democracy — prohibit serious discussion of the religious cosmologies underlying religious ethical discourse. In particular, it is argued that secular state sovereignty rooted in Hobbesian political theory effectively eliminates all forms of messianic political theology from public consideration. The chapter goes on to argue that a messianic ethics engages secular pluralism critically in a public stance that is neither accommodationist nor separatist, but ‘diasporic’. It acts ethically from a ‘weak Messianic’ power (Benjamin) exercised not through the coercive enforcement of political ideals but in quotidian acts of community service that build up the well-being of the saeculum from below.

Keywords:   messianic ethics, political theology, sovereignty, secular pluralism, liberalism, diaspora, cosmology, Jeffrey Stout

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