Politics and the Order of Love: An Augustinian Ethic of Democratic Citizenship

University of Chicago Press (2008)

Abstract
Augustine—for all of his influence on Western culture and politics—was hardly a liberal. Drawing from theology, feminist theory, and political philosophy, Eric Gregory offers here a liberal ethics of citizenship, one less susceptible to anti-liberal critics because it is informed by the Augustinian tradition. The result is a book that expands Augustinian imaginations for liberalism and liberal imaginations for Augustinianism. Gregory examines a broad range of Augustine’s texts and their reception in different disciplines and identifies two classical themes which have analogues in secular political theory: love—and related notions of care, solidarity, and sympathy—and sin—as well as related notions of cruelty, evil, and narrow self-interest. From an Augustinian point of view, Gregory argues, love and sin constrain each other in ways that yield a distinctive vision of the limits and possibilities of politics. In providing a constructive argument for Christian participation in liberal democratic societies, Gregory advances efforts to revive a political theology in which love’s relation to justice is prominent. _Politics and the Order of Love _will provoke new conversations for those interested in Christian ethics, moral psychology, and the role of religion in a liberal society
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