Fortress Press

God and Power: Counter-Apocalyptic Journeys

God and Power

Counter-Apocalyptic Journeys

Catherine Keller (Author)


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The questions raised by use of American power and the advent of an "American empire," Keller argues, reveal a deeply troubled political unconscious that is wrestling with basic religious issues of power, terror, territory, and love.

Keller traces our response to the current national, international, and religious situation to the deeply fraught legacy of Christian apocalypticism. Religious and political factions both left and right, she argues, read our situation in apocalyptic terms without truly understanding that complex legacy.

After diving deeply into the multiple and conflicting political and religious meanings of the Book of Revelation, she proposes a counter-apocalypse, an anti-imperial political theology of love.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9780800637279
  • Dimensions 7 x 11
  • Pages 196
  • Publication Date May 26, 2005


"Keller's book draws attention to our 'apocalyptic unconscious,' which lately has irrupted in various ways onto the political scene.... Keller's point that theology can no longer afford to ignore these powerful manifestations of the apocalyptic serves as a wake-up call.... Keller proposes resistance through imaginative counter-apocalyptic strategies that value different sorts of power and courage. All who share her searching question,' Can something divine still come to us?' will find challenge and stimulation in this book."
— Joerg Rieger, Professor of Systematic Theology, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

"Catherine Keller has often delved into the ambiguities and dangers of apocalyptic and its unexpected and widespread revival in the last century, especially in the political culture of the United States. In this groundbreaking book she brings this work to bear on the arrogant pursuit of empire and its 'innocent' unknowing substructure in our collective consciousness. The result is a fresh political theology that relentlessly plumbs the relationship between power and the doctrine of God."
— M. Douglas Meeks, Cal Turner Chancellor Professor of Theology and Wesleyan Studies, The Divinity School, Vanderbilt University

"Here is a spirited this-worldly theology urging us to the constructive task of theological citizenship in the twenty-first century. Keller offers a fresh analysis of the multiple, usually unconscious, ways the Book of Revelation circulates through, under, and around the Western imagination. Her insights are indispensable for understanding the deeper currents of contemporary political culture and the challenges that apocalyptic poses to a contextual theology that hopes for liberation and a life of shared planetary abundance."
— Harry O. Maier, Associate Professor of New Testament Studies, Vancouver School of Theology

"In a time when declarations of moral absolutism, ruthless imperialism, and apocalyptic vindication abound, Keller's pursuit of loving and meaningful multiplicity in the face of uncertainty provides a valuable rejoinder. These reflections engage the brutal legacy of apocalyptic belief without flinching and yet offer ways to read the ever-ambiguous Book of Revelation richly, creatively, anew, and as vital to what she has called a theology of becoming."
— Lee Quinby, Harter Chair in Humanities, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

"Writing as always with grace, passion, and depth, Catherine Keller has produced, in God and Power, her most important book yet, confronting the overriding question of our age for American theologians: Can we develop an anti-imperial theology that would both purge the American psyche of its 'apocalyptic unconscious' and provide a realistic alternative to the theology of empire that is now on the ascendant?"
— David Ray Griffin, Professor Emeritus, Claremont School of Theology

Table of Contents

Preface: Theopoetic Justice

PART ONE: The United States of Apocalypse: Mapping Our Situation
  1. The Armageddon of 9/11: Lament for the New Millennium
  2. Preemption and Omnipotence: A Niebuhrian Prophecy

    PART TWO: Of Beasts and Whores: Examining Our Political Unconscious
  3. Territory, Terror, and Torture: Dreamreading the Apocalypse
  4. Ms. Calculating the Endtimes: Gender Styles of Apocalypse
  5. Eyes All Over: Liberation and Deconstruction

    PART THREE: From End to Beginning: Constructing a Political Theology of Love
  6. Everywhere and Nowhere: Postcolonial Positions
  7. The Love Supplement: Christianity and Empire
  8. The Democracy of Creation: Chaosmos and Counter-Apocalypse