Religion and Civil Society

The “turn to religion” in contemporary philosophy

The expression “theological turn” comes from Dominique Janicaud, who has used it in 1990 to designate the philosophical movement in France from 1975 to 1990. He notes that in those years philosophy has taken a decidedly theological agenda. It is the case of Lévinas, Jean-Luc Marion, Michel Henry and Jean Louis Chrétien. The conversation he initiates was followed by Hent de Vries in 1999, when he published Philosophy and the Turn to Religion.

Then Peter Jonkers and Rund Welten, published in 2005 God in France: Eight Contemporary French Thinkers on God; and finally Ellis Benson and Norman Wirzba in 2010 follows the discussion in Words of Life. New Theological Turns in French Phenomenology (NY: Fordham U Press, 2010). After also J. Aaron Simmons has made the case in God and the Other. Ethics and Politics after the theological turn (Indiana U P, 2011). What we read in Derrida, Foucault, Agamben, Zizek, Santner, Milbank, Nancy, etc. could be still being called political theology? Perhaps we should no more call this methodology “political theology” but better “theological philosophy”. It has something to do even with theology?  Or perhaps it is more a kind of mythology? Or even a prosecution of the prophetical word just in the form of an interpretation?

The fact is that many of the philosophers that are participating in such a “turn” have the mark of the political theology. In addition, the idea of an “intervention” of the theology in philosophy is covered by the meaning of the “political theology”. Which have been the different theological interventions in the philosophy since early modernity and which were the political consequences they had? Which consistence has this “theological turn”? More than a process we would like to speak of interventions.


Montserrat HerreroMontserrat Herrero
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Research Team

Ion Perea
Philip Müller
María Guibert
Rafael Martínez Rivas
Carmen Camey