Negative Political Theology: ACU Rome Seminar

IRCI Research Fellow David Newheiser led a seminar at ACU’s Rome Campus in July 2017 on Negative Political Theology.

David explains: “Many commentators on religion and politics assume that theology is politically relevant in one of two ways: either it intervenes in secular politics by asserting its authority or it withdraws from the public sphere, thereby calling the task of constructive politics into question. The ancient tradition of negative theology confounds this dichotomy insofar as it demonstrates that a relentless negativity can coexist with robust affirmation. Because the question of political theology is urgent—in the wake of secularization, however that is understood—this symposium reflected on the political significance of negative theology, broadly conceived, with particular attention to the relation between critique and construction.

The seminar gathered participants from Cambridge, Harvard, Princeton, De Paul, Durham, Boston College, Yale, Florida State, and KU Leuven, including many of the world’s leading scholars of political theology, religious ethics, and Christian thought. The event was the second conference relating to the ongoing research project, “Atheism and Christianity: Moving Past Polemic”.


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