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“Theopolitical Imagination” by William Cavanaugh

First of all, let us present some information about the author of the book under consideration. William T. Cavanaugh is a Catholic theologian. The subject of his investigation was Christian liturgical practice and its interrelation and interconnection with Christian political witness. Now William T. Cavanaugh is Associate Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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The consistent thesis of the book under consideration can be observed on the very first page: “politics is a practice of the imagination” (1). It is difficult to argue with this statement. The author states that “this book is an exercise in a different kind of political imagination, one that is rooted in the Christian story” (1). He suggests an extraordinary idea that “secular” political theory is really theology in disguise” (2). This is an innovative idea that has a right to live.

The book consists of three essays. All of them in complex allow the author to express his thesis in a more distinct and detailed way. Due to the simplicity of form and diversity of the material presented, this book may be of great importance for both: theologians and politicians who have little information about each other’s sphere of work and its influence on common people in society.

In the first chapter “The Myth of the State as Saviour”, Cavanaugh critiques Enlightenment political theory. It sees humanity as a mass of individuals that have conflicting desires and need to be saved using following the social contract and submission to the state as the embodiment of power that can adjudicate the conflicts, with the application of force if necessary. Everyone remembers that there was a time long ago when one of the main duties of the state was to save people from the “oppressive” influence of the church. Cavanaugh elaborates on the “Wars of Religion” and proves that “these wars were not caused by religion but were about the very creation of religion” (10). We find these ideas sound and think that the author has managed to rebut the myth of State as Savior. Certainly, humanity needs another Savior and this can be Church.

In chapter two, “The Myth of Civil Society as Free Space,” the author gives his arguments that deny the right of involvement of religion in the public square. William Cavanaugh studies the notions “public” and “private” and he finally states that the distinction of “public” and “private” is an instrument using which the state tries to domesticate the Church. As for us, this point of view is convincing.

Finally, the last, third chapter, “The Myth of Globalization as Catholicity”, disapproves of the process of globalization (transnational trade and the Internet in particular). As for us, this point of view is rather disputable and we think that globalization has positive consequences as well and should not be criticized so categorically. We cannot accept the idea of the “reality of globalization” (3). Cavanaugh claims that transitional commerce and information will result in creating one global village on Earth. We cannot agree with this point of view. We think that globalization may bring a lot of positive results for the Church as well.

To conclude, we would like to say that William Cavanaugh has thrown light on a very important question of the ties between theology and politics and has proved that the church is the only political body that can struggle against the unjust and inhuman consequences of the current situation in contemporary society.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 11). “Theopolitical Imagination” by William Cavanaugh. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/theopolitical-imagination-by-william-cavanaugh/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, November 11). “Theopolitical Imagination” by William Cavanaugh. https://studycorgi.com/theopolitical-imagination-by-william-cavanaugh/

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"“Theopolitical Imagination” by William Cavanaugh." StudyCorgi, 11 Nov. 2021, studycorgi.com/theopolitical-imagination-by-william-cavanaugh/.

1. StudyCorgi. "“Theopolitical Imagination” by William Cavanaugh." November 11, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/theopolitical-imagination-by-william-cavanaugh/.


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StudyCorgi. "“Theopolitical Imagination” by William Cavanaugh." November 11, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/theopolitical-imagination-by-william-cavanaugh/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "“Theopolitical Imagination” by William Cavanaugh." November 11, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/theopolitical-imagination-by-william-cavanaugh/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) '“Theopolitical Imagination” by William Cavanaugh'. 11 November.

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