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date: 22 October 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter, which first defines nationalism by describing its features, looks at nations, states, and nation-states, and then examines nationalism's relationship to patriotism. It then turns to the history of the nation and considers its existence as an imagined community. The narrative and liturgical nature of nationalism places it firmly in the sphere of religion. It is theology, and not race, politics, geography, or law that provides the best lens through which to critically observe nationalism. Søren Kierkegaard is one theological critic who is well placed to challenge nationalism's idolatrous and anti-social tendencies. His attack upon the self-deified establishment of Christendom contains many points of contact with theological nationalism. The chapter examines the outlines of his critique and then considers the positive contributions that a non-nationalistic, nonpatriotic account of identity can make to a Christian theology of social life.

Keywords: theology, Søren Kierkegaard, Christendom, identity, social life, theological nationalism, patriotism

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