Confessions of the soul Foucault and theological culture

Philosophy and Social Criticism 31 (5-6):557-572 (2005)
The article studies Foucault’s treatment of religious culture and some theological responses to his approach. Foucault examined some modern practices as exhibiting a ‘Christianization-in-depth’, as, for example, in the extension of confession as a continuing practice in recent and current political culture. Confessions of faith characterize both fascism and communism and the confessional form of the latter showed extensive debt to the legacy of eastern Christian practices. The Soviet hermeneutics of the self contrasted with the western form because the self-knowledge of the former is not a western confession of desires and movements of the soul but, rather, coming to a clarity in grasping how one is regarded in the eyes of others. The continuing vitality of religious forms in contemporary experience shows itself in American apocalyptic creeds. Foucault’s critical analysis aids a self-understanding in three areas of religious activism: self-denial; the envisioning of sexuality; the aspirations toward community and friendship
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