John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory

After the collapse of the modernist metanarratives of Marxism and sociology, what is left? Only postmodern nihilistic difference?

In the final chapter of his sub-treatise on "theology and dialectics" Milbank once more asserts that a Christian social theology cannot hope to succeed by dialectical accommodation, by seeking a kind of alliance between Christianity and the thought of Hegel and Marx.

John Milbank, Theology and Social Theory

"Once, there was no 'secular'."

Even if not quite an Barthian bombshell, John Milbank's Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason did really chock its audience (theologians and social theorists) when it first appeared nearly two decades ago. Even if the chock has worn off, the book in some ways rewrote the theological (and sociological) landscape. The book was the precursor of what later should be known as "Radical Orthodoxy".

Economics as Religion

Nelson shows convincingly how Western modern economics has evolved into a kind of "secular theology" or "secular religion".

The Church is itself (or is meant to be) an ekklesia, a sphere were politics proper happens. ... Is Cavanaugh's view of the Church social and bodily enough?

Is there a way forward? For Cavanaugh the only fruitful way forward in this context is "to tap the theological resources of the Christian tradition for more radical imaginings of space and time ... around which to enact communities of solidarity and resistance."

And what do we have left? Just a church as "an essentially asocial entity that provides only 'motivations' and 'values' for public action".

Is a theologically informed vision of politics, a vision that can help the church to break out of its captivity to political, social, and economical myths of modernity, possible?