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The Theological and the Political: On the Weight of the World

Mark Lewis Taylor (Author)
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Watch Mark Lewis Taylor discuss his new book, The Theological and the Political

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Princeton's Mark Lewis Taylor has always worked at the intersection of the political and theological. Now, in this intense and exciting work, he explores in a systematic way how those two dimensions of human reality can be conceived anew and together.

Taylor argues that the decline of political discourse, the justification of torture and preemptive war, mass incarceration, the misuse of religion to justify atrocity, and most especially the sheer weight of suffering in the world—all these developments urge us to reconceive theology itself.

In conjunction with the latest insights of political theory, decolonial thought, and spectral theories in contemporary philosophy, Taylor suggests that the political is the context of the theological and a realm in which we can discern, beyond simple categories of transcendence and immanence, a transimmanence that is theologically illuminative and politically liberating.

Release date: 
January 15, 2011


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"In this haunted, haunting journey through poetry, philosophy, and political theory, Mark Taylor reimagines 'the theological' as a practice irreducibly concerned with human suffering. A much–needed negotiation of political, liberationist, and philosophical strategies, this book operates in the 'ruins of transcendence,' where thinking is embodiment and interpretation survival—perhaps even transformation."
—Mary–Jane Rubenstein
Assistant Professor of Religion
Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut

The Theological and The Political is strikingly original, theoretically robust, ethically sensitive, and politically resonant in a moment when so many forces are working to erode the possibilities of human flourishing. Mark L. Taylor has effected nothing less than a wholesale transformation of the discourse of theology—in deep solidarity with those who struggle with courage and dignity for a more righteous world.
—Corey D. B. Walker
Associate Professor of Africana Studies
Brown University

"Mark Lewis Taylor at his best! The Princeton professor of theology and culture offers here to his readers a deep, pathbreaking essay on our reflective relation to the divine amid the painful, perilous resistance to the earthly powers that be. A must–read for all concerned with the survival of humankind in the contemporary predicament of our planet."
—Otto Maduro
Professor of World Christianity
Drew University

"Intriguing, well–written, and well–researched, Mark Taylor's new project is also challenging. He introduces new categories to find a way beyond the binaries of transcendence and immanence in the search for 'the theological' in the political."
—Peter C. Hodgson
Charles G. Finney Professor of Theology Emeritus
Divinity School, Vanderbilt University


Mark Lewis Taylor discusses how to teach this book

The journey of the book

The cover art

The Transcendent

Mark Lewis Taylor discusses why he wrote this book