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Politics

(3,386 words)

Author(s): Stackhouse, Max L.
1. Term The term “politics” may be defined as the practical engagement in the formation of political structure (polity) by the use of political means (power) in order to accomplish political ends (purposes) by coordinated political actions (policies). Such engagement is necessary if a society is to survive and its members are to flourish. The term also applies to the study of these dynamics. While politics is sometimes thought of only in regard to governments and the bureaucracies established to carry out their policies, the dynamics are similar in all commu…

Public Theology

(3,460 words)

Author(s): Stackhouse, Max L.
1. Term The term “public theology,” of recent vintage, is often compared and contrasted with “civil religion” and “political theology.” But each has a distinct genealogy, and each entails a particular set of assumptions and implications. Moreover, each of these differs from the Scriptures, confessions, and practices of various Christian traditions, even as each draws on them. The use of “public” is important, for it not only refers to public opinion as shaped by public worship, public schools, pub…

Political Theology

(3,118 words)

Author(s): Stackhouse, Max L.
1. Origins The tradition of political theology has its deepest Western philosophical roots in Plato (427–347 b.c.) and Aristotle (384–322), who influenced subsequent Stoic thought (e.g., Varro [116–27] and Cicero [106–43]), where the concept is not clearly distinguished from civil religion. Paralleling such philosophical roots, it has its deepest sociohistorical roots in ancient regimes that were dominated by either hierarchy (ancient India) or theocracy (ancient Israel). The belief that either the priestly representative of the divine order of the universe or…

New Deal

(375 words)

Author(s): Stackhouse, Max L.
[German Version] When Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for president of the United States during the Great Depression, with an unemployment rate of 30% in 1932, he accepted with these words: “I pledge… a new deal for the American people.” While scholars now argue that neither he nor his staff had a clear program in mind, it was clear that this nation, as opposed to Europe, could not and would not move to the fascist right or to the communist left, and something had to be done. The “New Deal” be…

Economic Ethics

(8,633 words)

Author(s): Stackhouse, Max L. | Miller, David W.
1. Ethics, the Economy, and the Corporation The question of how to organize the economic life of society has occupied the world’s leaders and thinkers since at least the time of the patriarch Joseph in Egypt. It appears as a primary concern of Moses, Solomon, and Socrates, much as it was of the sages of other traditions elsewhere. After all, the production, distribution, exchange, ownership, and ¶ use of goods and services have been a part of society for as long as recorded history. A central dimension of biblical teaching has been the question of how faith should inform the or…

Troeltsch, Ernst

(1,121 words)

Author(s): Graf, Friedrich Wilhelm | Stackhouse, Max L.
Ernst Troeltsch (1865–1923) was a Protestant theologian, philosopher of culture, and politician. His theological/philosophical works, although many-faceted, were characterized by one theme: given the historicist insight that all historical reality is relative, with the resulting loss of normative validity (Relativism), he sought to identify new, binding values in historically given cultural contexts. Troeltsch, born on February 17, 1865, in (Augsburg-) Haunstetten, was the eldest son of the medical doctor Ernst Troeltsch. His family belonged to t…