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Political Theology for a Plural Age$
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Michael Jon Kessler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199769285

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199769285.001.0001

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The Great Combination

The Great Combination

Modern Political Thought and the Collapse of the Two Cities

(p.43) 2 The Great Combination
Political Theology for a Plural Age

Patrick J. Deneen

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a historically-based theoretical argument for the reevaluation of the Christian political-theological project. It argues against the predominant narrative of post-Enlightenment political theologies and disavows Augustine’s “Great Separation” between religion and politics. It argues that modern political thinkers tried to overcome the “Great Separation” by means of two distinct “Great Combinations.” Each correspond roughly with a development within liberal theory—one in its classical conception, and the other in its progressive period. These Great Combinations of the modern project have led to depletion and destruction because of the rearrangement of the human relation to the created order. Instead of finding our place and meaning from a preexisting created order, the modern project has transformed this relation into mastery over a world that is subject to human dominion. The chapter calls for an acknowledgment that humans are not divine and are created subjects, not sovereigns.

Keywords:   Great Combinations, Augustine, Great Separation, religion, politics, liberal theory, human relations

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