Gillian Rose was a philosopher, social theorist, memoirist, and Jewish convert to Christianity who died an untimely death in 1995. She offers a novel account of faith, which grows out of her Hegelian philosophical background inflected by her reading of Kierkegaard and her rediscovered Jewish heritage. For Rose, faith is a mode of social practice. Rose's conception of faith is here reconstructed by translating her obscure jurisprudential idiom into the language of social practices and norms. The conception of secular faith (...) developed by Rose is shown to have implications for contemporary discussions of ethics and politics. The contemporary relevance of Rose's work is made clear through comparison with recent work by Robert Brandom, Robert Adams, and Patrick Deneen. (shrink)
Three recent attempts to draw resources for theology from the work of philosopher and social theorist Gillian Rose are examined. Although her work has received little attention, it has been influential in the development of ‘Radical Orthodoxy’. Yet her dense style has led to many misunderstandings of her work. Each of the three attempts to draw theological resources from her work examined is problematic, either because it misrepresents Rose's work or because it reads Rose too narrowly. The outline of a (...) positive account of Rose's philosophy is developed through critical engagements with these three readers. I suggest that an alternative theological appropriation of Rose that focuses on her account of the theological virtues, particularly faith and love, might be possible. (shrink)
The contemporary American philosopher David Velleman recently noted, “Love is a moral emotion precisely in the sense that its spirit is closely akin to that of morality.”1 Although their kindred spirits are manifest, it is the tension between love and morality that at first glance is striking. Love seems to be supremely personal, unique to one individual and directed at another for highly contingent and possibly mysterious reasons. Even if Kantian or Utilitarian fantasies of objective morality are dismissed, the common (...) alternatives that put emphasis on community values or obligation to the Other are still distant from an affect directed…. (shrink)
If liberal Protestantism begins with suspicion of tradition, is “thick” liberal Protestant theology possible or must liberal Protestant theology always be “thin”? This review essay examines several recent contributions to “thick” theology that make use of, and speak to, social and political engagement. The books under review describe and reflect on the varied forms of Christian political activism and organizing that have emerged in recent years around issues of immigration, fair wages, and global justice. I argue that a distinction between (...) Christian activism and Christian organizing must be made, where the former denotes advocacy on behalf of a community and the latter means standing together with a community, bringing out the capacities of community members, and allowing oneself to be transformed in the process. Further, I reflect on whether liberal Christian theology necessarily results in liberal politics. (shrink)
The editors of the JRE solicited short essays on the COVID‐19 pandemic from a group of scholars of religious ethics that reflected on how the field might help them make sense of the complex religious, cultural, ethical, and political implications of the pandemic, and on how the pandemic might shape the future of religious ethics.
While unionization rates have steadily declined in the United States, there has been a renewal of grassroots labor organizing—in many cases connected in some way with religious communities. Attending to such organizing efforts holds the potential to deepen religious-ethical reflection on questions of labor, and these religious-ethical reflections hold the potential to enrich on-the-ground organizing efforts. These opportunities have largely been overlooked. On the one hand, while scholars have recently explored connections between religious ideas and economic ideas, they have often (...) neglected questions of labor. On the other hand, labor studies scholars have often ignored the role of religion, although this is beginning to change. In this introduction we limn the resources available for religious-ethical reflection on questions of labor and we propose a direction that the field could take, bringing together engagement with religious traditions and attunement to grassroots organizing. (shrink)
This anthology draws bold comparisons between secularist strategies to contain, privatize, and discipline religion and the treatment of racialized subjects by the American state. Specializing in history, literature, anthropology, theology, religious studies, and political theory, contributors expose secularism's prohibitive practices in all facets of American society and suggest opportunities for change.
Black Natural Law offers a new way of understanding the African American political tradition, and it argues that this tradition has collapsed into incoherence. Vincent William Lloyd revives Black politics by telling stories of its central figures in a way that exhibits the connections between their religious, philosophical, and political ideas.
Recent secular theorists of toleration have turned to Christian thought as a resource to overcome problems faced by secular-liberal accounts of toleration. This review essay examines three such projects, one in the tradition of Thomistic virtue ethics, another in the tradition of Frankfurt School critical theory, and another in political theory. While Christian ethics can learn from the methods and theoretical machinery deployed in these studies, each study assumes that the question of toleration is posed from a position of power (...) and privilege. The essay asks what it might mean to consider toleration from the perspective of a marginalized community—like the early Christians. (shrink)
Faith-based community organizing is receiving an increasing amount of attention from scholars of religious ethics. This essay is motivated by the worry that accounts of such organizing depend on a problematic embrace of multiculturalism, an embrace characteristic of our neoliberal era. Like the powers that they purport to challenge, organizing efforts often embrace difference only when it is carefully managed. This is being challenged by theological accounts of organizing that take the religious dimension of such efforts seriously, as well as (...) by feminist critiques of community organizing. This essay probes how race might be taken just as seriously by religious ethicists who study community organizing. Drawing on the civil rights movement's legacy of faith-based community mobilization as well as traditions of Black theological reflection, this essay challenges the easy embrace of multi-racial coalitions in faith-based organizing. (shrink)