Fortress Press

The Politics of God: Christian Theologies and Social Justice, Thirtieth Anniversary Edition

The Politics of God

Christian Theologies and Social Justice, Thirtieth Anniversary Edition

Kathryn Tanner (Author)


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Thirty years ago, Kathryn Tanner put forward a daring proposal. Traditional Christian theologies, she insisted, can be a source of political transformation rather than a sponsor of the status quo. Through a rigorous analysis of Christian beliefs in their historical, theological, and social diversity, Tanner connects belief to attitudes and action and shows how doctrines can relate to each other, to social systems, and to ethical behavior.

Drawing on the theologies of divine transcendence and creation that animate and organize so much of her work, The Politics of God frees traditional theology from its captivity to unjust rulers and systems and unleashes its radical potential for liberation, empowerment, and the pursuit of a just society.

This anniversary edition includes a major new preface, in which Tanner addresses the changes in the social and political situation that have accumulated in the decades since the book's publication and resituates her argument for a new generation of theologians and activists.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506481951
  • eBook ISBN 9781506481968
  • Dimensions 6.25 x 9.25
  • Pages 219
  • Publication Date November 15, 2022


"Kathryn Tanner's exceptional analytical skill and theological acumen continue, now in the crucial theological questions of social justice. An acute and important study."

David Tracy, University of Chicago

"The Politics of God is a superb melding of philosophy and theology . . . a substantively dense book that challenges the mind and encourages the spirit."

The Christian Century

"Tanner grounds her progressive political beliefs in traditional, rather than radical or liberation, theology. She finds traditional theology more open to self-criticism; views of a transcendent God provide correctives that views of an immanent God cannot; and traditional theology does not usurp the place of sociopolitical analysis as revisionist theology sometimes does."

Library Journal

"Kathryn Tanner has joined the company of those theologians who, like Karl Barth, recognize that in the end 'all theology is practical. . . .'"

Theology Today

"Kathryn Tanner's The Politics of God clearly and forcefully addresses Christian beliefs and practices about God and the world. Consistently applying the art of internal critique, Tanner offers a reconstruction of Christian tradition as a prophetic challenge to the political status quo."

Rebecca Chopp, Emory University

"Kathryn Tanner is an immensely thoughtful philosopher of religion whose commitment to justice is evident in The Politics of God."

Journal of Church and State

"By pursuing an 'internal' rather than 'totalistic' critique of traditional Christian beliefs, [Tanner] seeks to expose their progressive potential, all while conceding that Christian theologies historically have legitimated and masked injustice through appeals to this or that 'divinely ordained' social hierarchy."

The Thomist

"[Tanner] shows convincingly that within the Christian doctrinal tradition there are rich and authentic resources for a radical stance in the public realm."

Journal of Theological Studies