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Politics as Religion - Emilio Gentile

Politics as Religion

By: Emilio Gentile, George Staunton (Translator)

Hardcover Published: 23rd July 2006
ISBN: 9780691113937
Number Of Pages: 200

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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.

"The threat of new exclusive, intolerant and fundamentalist nationalism with powerful racist connotations is a danger. This book could make a contribution to analysing these phenomena."--Dr P. J. Dorey, Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae (South Africa)

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction: The Sacralization of Politicsp. xi
A Never-Never Religion, A Substitute for Religion, or a New Religion?p. 1
Civil Religions and Political Religions: From Democratic Revolutions to Totalitarian Statesp. 16
The Leviathan as a Church: Totalitarianism and Political Religionp. 45
The Invasion of the Idols: Christians against Totalitarian Religionsp. 68
Toward the Third Millennium: The Sacralization of Politics in States both New and Oldp. 110
Religions of Politics: Definitions, Distinctions, and Qualificationsp. 138
Notesp. 147
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691113937
ISBN-10: 0691113939
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 200
Published: 23rd July 2006
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.2  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.45