Philosophical Anthropology: God and the Political Order

JPI 988

What Role does God Play in the Political Order?  This course will reflect on the “place” of God in the nature and destiny of man and human existence, and therefore in the organization of that existence in community.  We will focus above all on the fundamental difference between the ancients and the moderns in the conception of the nature of politics and political authority, and see how Christianity transforms the horizon of politics, introducing a new complexity to the problem.  Although the approach we will take in the course will be principally philosophical, we will read some classic historical studies of political community in the ancient and medieval worlds, in addition to more thematic studies that set into relief the principles governing the question. Some of those authors include philosophers Plato, Aristotle, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, de Konick, and Maritain, as well as the historians Fustel de Coulanges and Ernst Kantorowicz.

Course Texts for Spring 2021

From Irenaeus to Grotius: A Sourcebook in Christian Political Thought, eds. Oliver O’Donovan and Joan Lockwood O’Donovan (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1999).
• Plato, Republic, trans. Allan Bloom (Basic Books).
• Aristotle, Complete Works, ed. Richard McKeon (Modern Library Classics).
• Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges, The Ancient City: A Study on the Religion, Laws, and Institutions of Greece and Rome (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980).
• Ernst H. Kantorowicz, The King’s Two Bodies: A Study in Medieval Political Theology (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016).
• Carl Schmitt, Political Theology II: The Myth of the Closure of Any Political Theology (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008).
• Jacques Maritain, The Person and the Common Good (Notre Dame, 1994).
• Erik Peterson, Theological Tractates (Stanford University Press, 2011).


Associated Faculty

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