Politics as Religion / Edition 1

Politics as Religion / Edition 1

by Emilio Gentile
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691113939

ISBN-13: 9780691113937

Pub. Date: 07/03/2006

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Emilio Gentile, an internationally renowned authority on fascism and totalitarianism, argues that politics over the past two centuries has often taken on the features of religion, claiming as its own the prerogative of defining the fundamental purpose and meaning of human life. Secular political entities such as the nation, the state, race, class, and the party

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Overview

Emilio Gentile, an internationally renowned authority on fascism and totalitarianism, argues that politics over the past two centuries has often taken on the features of religion, claiming as its own the prerogative of defining the fundamental purpose and meaning of human life. Secular political entities such as the nation, the state, race, class, and the party became the focus of myths, rituals, and commandments and gradually became objects of faith, loyalty, and reverence.

Gentile examines this "sacralization of politics," as he defines it, both historically and theoretically, seeking to identify the different ways in which political regimes as diverse as fascism, communism, and liberal democracy have ultimately depended, like religions, on faith, myths, rites, and symbols.

Gentile maintains that the sacralization of politics as a modern phenomenon is distinct from the politicization of religion that has arisen from militant religious fundamentalism. Sacralized politics may be democratic, in the form of a civil religion, or it may be totalitarian, in the form of a political religion. Using this conceptual distinction, and moving from America to Europe, and from Africa to Asia, Gentile presents a unique comparative history of civil and political religions from the American and French Revolutions, through nationalism and socialism, democracy and totalitarianism, fascism and communism, up to the present day. It is also a fascinating book for understanding the sacralization of politics after 9/11.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691113937
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/03/2006
Edition description:
ANN
Pages:
194
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

INTRODUCTION: The Sacralization of Politics xi

Chapter 1: A Never-Never Religion, A Substitute for Religion, or a New Religion? 1

Chapter 2: Civil Religions and Political Religions: From Democratic Revolutions to Totalitarian States 16

Chapter 3: The Leviathan as a Church: Totalitarianism and Political Religion 45

Chapter 4: The Invasion of the Idols: Christians against Totalitarian Religions 68

Chapter 5: Toward the Third Millennium: The Sacralization of Politics in States both New and Old 110

Chapter 6: Religions of Politics: Definitions, Distinctions, and Qualifications 138

Notes 147

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