Saturday, August 23, 2008

Theology and Power

Peter M. Candler writes:
While the question of power is an extremely important one as regards the question of the construction of theological systems and texts and the grammar which I am attempting to describe, and while it does employ the provisions of power to its own advantage, it is not so subversive as de Certeau suggests. Where tactics assume the existence of a prior strategy according to which it must adapt itself, theology cannot be wholly tactical insofar as it assumes itself to address itself to everything that is. Thus inasmuch as theology refers all things to God as their source and end, it seems that it does contain an element of the strategic as well as an element of the tactical. However, theology can never assume the status of political sovereignty - rather it must call into question the legitimacy of such absolutist strategies, while tactically subverting them, not by the imposition of a finally authoritative dictum, but from within. That is to say, theology makes use of languages foreign to itself in order to undo them, to expose them as improperly ordered and internally incomplete, but also to order and to perfect them, to consummate them…