- List of Contributors
- The Self and the Good Life
- Nationalism and Patriotism
- The Making of the Modern Metropolis
- The Other
- Freedom and Human Emancipation
- Work and Labour
- Suffering In Theology and Modern European Thought
- Nihilism and Theology: Who Stands at the Door?
- War and Peace
- Radical Philosophy and Political Theology
- Beauty and Sublimity
- Time and History
- The Metaphysics of Modernity
- The Bible
- Divine Providence
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.
Stephen Backhouse (DPhil, Oxford) is Lecturer in Social and Political Theology at St Mellitus College, London. He is the author of a number of books and articles on history, politics, national identity, and theology, including Experiments in Living (2010), The Compact Guide to Christian History (2011), and Kierkegaard’s Critique of Christian Nationalism (2011).
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