Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cato Reproduces My Essay:

I'd like to thank the editors at Cato Unbound for reproducing my essay reacting to their symposium on political theology and America.


Anonymous said...

Like many others, I had profited from Mark Lilla's previous writings, though I recognized that he was more a popularizer than an original thinker. His effort to apply a history-of-ideas approach to the timely problem of religion seemed promising.

A few days ago I attended a presentation by Professor Lilla at a bookstore near Columbia University. I was severely disappointed. He simply read from his book, without even offering the novelty of a summary of his ideas. During the question period, he seemed quite defensive, responding to several civil questioners with abuse. I fear that he is a lightweight.

From my point of view, his time frame is too short. Many years ago Erik Petersen pointed out that political theology began with the emperor Constantine, with the idea that one God = one Emperor. Medieval intellectual history offers models for both separation of church and state (the two-swords theory) and for their ostensible inelectuable mingling.

Wayne R. Dynes at wrdynes@aol.com

Jonathan said...

Thanks Wayne.

One thing I've noticed about public intellectuals is often they are not very patient with folks who challenge their ideas. Some can be downright derisive. I haven't noticed this from Lilla yet, but I've never witnessed him at a live session.