ICS Calendar Title: Political Theology and the Secular State

ICS Course Code: ICS 151309/251309 S16

Instructor: Dr. Jonathan Chaplin

Term and Year: June 20 - July 1, 2016. [On-Campus Summer Intensive]

Last Updated: February 17, 2016. Note: This is not the final version

1. Course Description

2. Reading Schedule

3. Course Learning Goals

4. Course Requirements and Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

5. Required Readings

6. Some Recommended Readings

1. Course Description

‘God is back’, on the streets of a liberal democracy neary you. But the return of public religion - its ‘de-privatisation’ - is generating deep anxieties among secularists who have long assumed that liberal democracy presupposes a ‘secular state’ and a religion-free public realm. Christians, too, are scrambling to make sense of the new but shifting spaces opening up for their own faith-based political engagement. Drawing on salient insights of contemporary political theology, the course will confront the challenges to, and opportunities for, the secular state presented by the resurgence of public religion in liberal democracies. It explores various concepts of ‘secularism’, ‘secularization’, ‘the secular’ and the ‘post-secular’, probes the nature and legitimacy of religious public reasoning, and reflects on the shape of constructive and critical religious citizenship in contemporary liberal states.

2. Reading Schedule

Sample Course Outline

Session 1:

Introduction: Setting the stage

J. Chaplin, Talking God, Introduction and ch. 1 (15 pp.)

J. Maclure & C. Taylor, Secularism and Freedom of Conscience, Introduction + chs. 1-4 (37 pp.)

Session 2:

Secularism, Secularization and the Secular State I

C. Calhoun et al eds., Rethinking Secularism, pp. 3-20 + chs. 1, 2 (62 pp.)

Session 3:

Secularism, Secularization and the Secular State II

C. Calhoun et al eds., Rethinking Secularism, chs. 4,5 (45 pp.)

R. Williams, Faith in the Public Square, ch. 1 (11 pp.)

Session 4:

Theology and the Secular State I

R. Williams, Faith in the Public Square, chs. 2-4, 6, 10 (58 pp.)

Session 5:

Theology and the Secular State II

N. Wolterstorff, The Mighty and the Almighty, Introduction, 8, 11, 13, 14 (70 pp.)

Session 6:

Theology and the Secular State III

D. Farrow, Desiring a Better Country, chs. 1, 3, 5 (65 pp.)

OR (subject to student preferences):

W. Cavanaugh, Theopolitical Imagination, ch. 2 (44 pp.)

W. Cavanaugh, Migrations of the Holy, ch. 2 (22 pp.)

Session 7:

Religious Citizenship and the Liberal State: Deliberation I

C. Calhoun et al eds., Rethinking Secularism, ch. 3 (15 pp.)

N. Biggar, ‘“God” in Public Reason’ (12 pp.)

J. Chaplin, Talking God, chs. 2, 3 (17 pp.)

Session 8:

Religious Citizenship and the Liberal State: Deliberation II

J. Habermas, ‘Religion in the Public Sphere’ (25 pp.)

R. Williams, Faith in the Public Square, ch. 12 (11 pp.) (or student’s choice of chapter)

J. Chaplin, ‘Religion, Law and Public Reasoning’ (18 pp.)

Session 9:

Religious Citizenship and the Liberal State: Participation

R. Williams, Faith in the Public Square, chs. 12, 24 (20 pp.)

A. March, ‘Theocrats Living under Secular Law: An External Engagement with Islamic Legal Theory’. (23 pp)

J. Chaplin, ‘Rejecting Neutrality, Respecting Diversity: From “Liberal Pluralism” to “Christian Pluralism”’. (22 pp.)

Session 10:

Religious Citizenship and the Liberal State: Accommodation

L. Barnett, J. Nicol and J. Walker, ‘An Examination of the Duty to Accommodate in the Canadian Human Rights Context’. (11 pp.)

J. Maclure & C. Taylor, Secularism and Freedom of Conscience, chs 7-11 + Conclusion (55 pp.)

D. Farrow, Desiring a Better Country, ch. 4 (15 pp.)

3. Course Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  1. Explain the meaning of key factors in the ‘return of public religion’ in liberal democratic states in order to assess its consequences and significance
  2. Distinguish and critically assess the main senses of ‘secular’ and its cognates in order to make sense of and contribute to debates about religion and the liberal state
  3. Articulate key theo-political principles that might inform constructive Christian political reasoning and action in contemporary and emerging liberal democracies

4. Course Requirements and Description and Weighting of Elements to be Evaluated

  1. Weekly reading (# of pages):  average of 60pp per week = 600pp.
  2. In-seminar leadership: 2 x 500-word commentary/reflection on an allocated reading
  3. Description of course project:  If research paper, 3000-4000 word paper based on 850 pages of research
  4. Description and weighting of elements to be evaluated:

                i. Class participation:   20%

                      ii.  In-Seminar Leadership:  30%

                     iii.  Research Project/Paper:  50%

5. Required Readings

Barnett, Laura, Julia Nicol and Julian Walker, ‘An Examination of the Duty to Accommodate in the Canadian Human Rights Context’, Background Paper, Library of Parliament. Publication No. 2012-01-E (10 January 2012). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/9038223 or http://go.utlib.ca/cat/9366987)

Biggar, Nigel, “‘God” in Public Reason,’ Studies in Christian Ethics 19.1 (2006), 9-20. (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7757666 ; Knox, Trinity: PER)

Calhoun, Craig, Mark Juergensmeyer and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, Rethinking Secularism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), chs 1-5. (ICS Library: BL 2474.8 .R47 2011)

Canavaugh, William, Migrations of the Holy: God, State, and the Political Meaning of the Church (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2011), ch. 2. (Robarts, Regis, Trinity: BV 630.3 .C39 2011)

Canavaugh, William, Theopolitical Imagination (London: T & T Clark, 2002), ch. 2. (Robarts, Trinity: BX 1793 .C38)

Chaplin, Jonathan, ‘Law, Religion, and Public Reasoning,’ Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 2.1 (2012), 319-337. (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/9935447)

Chaplin, Jonathan, Talking God: The Legitimacy of Religious Public Reasoning (London: Theos, 2008). http://www.theosthinktank.co.uk/files/files/Reports/TalkingGod1.pdf

Chaplin, Jonathan, ‘Rejecting Neutrality, Respecting Diversity: From “Liberal Pluralism” to “Christian Pluralism,”’ Christian Scholar’s Review 35.2 (2006), 143-175. (ICS Library: PER)

Farrow, Douglas, Desiring a Better Country: Forays in Political Theology (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2015). (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT83.59 .F37 2015 ; UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/10216546 ; Knox, St. Michaels, Emmanuel: BT 83.59 .F37

Habermas, Jürgen, ‘Religion in the Public Sphere’, in European Journal of Philosophy 14.1 (2006), 1-25. (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7707135) Also in Between Naturalism and Religion: Philosophical Essays (Cambridge: Polity, 2008, 114-148. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: B 3258 .H323 Z9513)

Maclure, Jocelyn, and Charles Taylor, Secularism and Freedom of Conscience (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2011). (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BL 2747.8 .M32313 2011 ; UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/846515 ; Robarts, St. Michaels: BL 2747.8 .M32313 2011)

March, Andrew, ‘Theocrats Living Under Secular Law: An External Engagement with Islamic Legal Theory’, The Journal of Political Philosophy 19.1 (2011), 28-51. (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7726729)

Williams, Rowan, Faith in the Public Square (London: Bloomsbury, 2012), chs. 1-6. (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: HN 37 .A6 W55 2012 ; Knox, Trinity: BR 115 .W6 W55 ; Robarts: HN 37 .A6 W55)

Wolterstorff, Nicholas, The Mighty and the Almighty: An Essay in Political Theology (Cambridge: University Press, 2012). (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BT 83.59 .W65 2012 ; UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/8604556 ; Robarts, Trinity, Victoria: BT 83.59 .W65 2012)

6. Some Recommended Readings

Adhar, Rex and Ian Leigh, Religious Freedom in the Liberal State. 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/9987045 ; Robarts: K3280 .A36 2013Y).

Adhar, Rex and Nicholas Aroney, eds., Shari’a in the West (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). (Law, Robarts: KBP173.25 .S48 2010).

An-Naim, Abdullah Ahmed. Islam and the Secular State (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2008). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/8842294 ; Robarts, Trinity: BP190.5 .S35 N35 2008).

Asad, Talal, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam and Modernity (Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 2003). (Regis, Robarts, St. Michael’s, Trinity, Victoria: BL2747.8 .A75 2003).

Audi, Robert and Nicholas Wolterstorff, Religion in the Public Square: The Place of Religious Convictions in Political Debate (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997). (ICS Library: BL2747.8 .A75 2003).

Berger, Peter, ed., The Desecularization of the World: Resurgent Religion and World Politics (Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans ; Washington, D.C.: EPPC, 1999). (ICS Library: BL65 .P7 D47 1999).

Biggar, Nigel and Linda Hogan, eds., Religious Voices in Public Places (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/8048570 ; Robarts: BL60 .R456 2009, Trinity: BL60 .R455 2009).

Bribosia, Emmanuelle, Julia Ringelheim and Isabelle Rorive, ‘Reasonable Accommodation for Religious Minorities: A Promising Concept for European Antidiscrimination Law?’, 17 MJ 2010, 137-161. Available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1781182

Boyle, Kevin. ‘Human Rights, Religion and Democracy: The Refah Party Case’, Essex Human Rights Review 1.1 (2004): 1-16. (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://simplelink.library.utoronto.ca/url.cfm/496311).

Buckingham, Janet Epp, Fighting Over God: A Legal and Political History of Religious Freedom in Canada (Montreal: McGill-Queens, 2014). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/10101229 ; Knox, Law, Robarts, St. Michael’s, Trinity, University: KE4430 .B83 2014).

Burnside, Jonathan, God, Justice and Society: Aspects of Law and Legality in the Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7650689 ; Robarts: BS680 .L33 B87 2011).

Butler, Judith, Jűrgen Habermas, Charles Taylor and Cornel West, The Power of Religion in the Public Square, ed. and intro. by Edward Mendieta and Jonathan VanAntwerpen (New York: Columbia University Press, 2011). (Emmanuel, Robarts, St. Michael’s, University, Victoria: BL98.5 .P69 2011).

Carter, Stephen L., The Dissent of the Governed: A Meditation on Law, Religion, and Loyalty (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/8839711 ; Robarts, St. Michael’s, Trinity: JC328 .C27 1998). 

Carter, Stephen L., God’s Name in Vain: The Wrongs and Rights of Religion and Politics (New York: Basic Books, 2000). (Emmanuel, Robarts, Trinity: BL65 .P7 C37 2000).

Canavaugh, William, The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). (UofT Libraries e-resource:

http://go.utlib.ca/cat/8957842 ; Regis, Robarts, St. Michael’s, Trinity, Victoria: BL65 .V55 C39 2009).

Casanova, José, Public Religions in the Modern World (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994). (ICS Library: BL60 .C375 1994) (Regis, St. Michael’s, Trinity: BL60 .C375 1994; Robarts: BL60 .C377 1994).

Chaplin, Jonathan, ‘Liberté, Laïcité, Pluralité: A Theology of Principled Pluralism’, International Journal of Public Theology (forthcoming 2016).

Chaplin, Jonathan, Multiculturalism: A Christian Retrieval (London: Theos, 2012). Free download at: http://theosthinktank.co.uk/files/files/Reports/Multiculturalism.pdf

Chaplin, Jonathan and Gary Wilton, eds, God and the EU: Faith in the European Project (London: Routledge, 2016). (NOT FOUND).

Chaplin, Jonathan with Robert Joustra, eds, God and Global Order: The Power of Religion in American Foreign Policy (Waco, Texas: Baylor University Press, 2010). (ICS Library: JZ1480 .C455 2010).

Cuneo, Terence, ed., Religion in the Liberal Polity (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 2005). (ICS Library: BT738.15 .R55 2005X).

D’Costa, Gavin et al, eds. Religion in a Liberal State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013). (Robarts, St. Michael’s: K3280 .R4297 2013).

Eberle, Christopher, Religious Conviction in Liberal Politics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002). (ICS Library: BL65 .P7 E23 2002).

Farrow, Douglas, ed., Recognizing Religion in a Secular Society: Essays in Pluralism, Religion, and Public Policy (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press, 2004). (ICS Library: BL65 .P7 R37 2004).

Gibson, Matthew, ‘The God “Dilution”? Religion, Discrimination and the Case for Reasonable Accommodation’, The Cambridge Law Journal 72.3 (2013), 578-616. (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://simplelink.library.utoronto.ca/url.cfm/496317). 

Guinness, Os, The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2013). (Robarts: BL640 .G85 2013X).

Habermas, Jürgen and Joseph Ratzinger, The Dialectics of Secularization: On Reason and Religion (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2005). (Robarts: BX1793 .H2313 2006X; St. Augustine’s, St. Michael’s: BL2747.8 .H3213 2006).

Inazu, John D. Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Difference (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2016). (NOT FOUND)

Kemeny, P.C. ed., Church, State and Public Justice: Five Views (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2007). (Knox, Trinity: BR516 .C53 2007; Regis: BR516 .C48 2007; St. Michael’s: BR516 .C497 2007).

Koyzis, David T. We Answer to Another: Authority, Office, and the Image of God (Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick, 2014). (NOT FOUND; We Answer to Another: A Defense of Authority Against Its Recent Discontents (2003) in ICS Library: BR115 .P7 K656 2003 PAMP).

Levey, Geoffrey Brahm and Tariq Modood, eds., Secularism, Religion, and Multicultural Citizenship (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009). (Robarts, St. Michael’s: BL2747.8 .S345 2009).

Lilla, Mark. The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics and the Modern West (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007). (ICS Library: BL65 .P7 L55 2007X).

Lyon, David and Margeurite Van Die, eds., Rethinking Church, State, and Modernity: Canada Between Europe and America (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000). (ICS Library: BR570 .R47 2000).

Losonci, Péter and Aakash Singh, eds., From Political Theory to Political Theology: Religious Challenges and the Prospects of Democracy (London: Continuum, 2010). (Robarts: BL65 .P7 F77 2010X).

Mathewes, Charles, A Theology of Public Life (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). (Robarts: BR115 .P7 M3393 2007; Trinity: BR115 .P7 M383 2007).

McGoldrick, Dominic, ‘Accommodating Muslims in Europe: From Adopting Sharia Law to Religiously-based Opt-outs from Generally Applicable Laws’, Human Rights Law Review (2009), 1-43. (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://simplelink.library.utoronto.ca/url.cfm/496324).

McGraw, Bryan T., Faith in Politics: Religion and Liberal Democracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010). (Robarts: BR115 .P7 M33934 2010).

Micklethwaite, John and Adrian Wooldridge, God is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith is Changing the World (London: Penguin, 2009). (NOT FOUND).

Milbank, John, Beyond Secular Order: The Representation of Being and the Representation of the People (Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, 2013). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/9271318 ; Robarts: B105 .R4 M65 2014X). 

Monsma, Stephen V. and J. Christopher Soper, The Challenge of Pluralism: Church and State in Five Democracies (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 1997). (ICS Library: BV630.2 .M59 1997).

Mouw, Richard and Sander Griffioen, Pluralisms and Horizons: An Essay in Christian Public Philosophy (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1993). (ICS Library: BT738 .M68 ).

O’Donovan, Oliver, The Desire of the Nations: Recovering the Roots of Political Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996). (ICS Library: BR115 .P7 O36 1996).

O’Donovan, Oliver, The Ways of Judgment (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2005). (ICS Library: BT83.59 .O36 2005).

Pally, Marcia. The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2011). (Robarts, Trinity: BR1642 .U5 P35 2011).

Pearse, Meic, The Gods of War: Is Religion the Primary Cause of Violence? (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP, 2007). (Robarts, St. Michael’s: BL65 .W2 P43 2007).

Ramadan, Tariq, Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/7064884 ; Law, Robarts, St. Michael’s: KBP470 .R36 2009).

Rawls, John, ‘The Idea of Public Reason Revisited’, in John Rawls, Collected Essays, edited by Samuel Freeman (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1999), ch. 26 (45 pp.) (NOT FOUND; The Law of Peoples, with "The Idea of Public Reason Revisited" Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999-- Law, Robarts, St. Michael’s, Trinity, Victoria: JZ1242 .R39 1999).

Rosenblum, Nancy L., ed., Obligations of Citizenship and Demands of Faith: Religious Accommodation in Pluralist Democracies (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2000). (ICS Library: BL65 .P7 O36 2000).

Roy, Olivier, Secularism Confronts Islam (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/8059660 ; Robarts, St. Michael’s, Trinity: BP65 .F8 R6913 2007).

Sider, Ronald J. The Scandal of Evangelical Politics: Why are Christians Missing the Chance to Really Change the World? (Grand Rapids, Baker, 2008). (Robarts, Trinity: BR115 .P7 S5155 2008).

Sider, Ronald J. and Diane Knippers, eds., Toward an Evangelical Public Policy (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005). (Regis: BR1642 .T69 2005; Robarts, Trinity: BR526 .T69 2005).

Skillen, James W., The Good of Politics: A Biblical, Historical, and Contemporary Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2014). (ICS Library: BR115.P7 S55 2014).

Skillen, James W., Recharging the American Experiment: Principled Pluralism for Genuine Civic Engagement (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994). (ICS Library: JK271 .S541 1994).

Smith, James K.A., ed., After Modernity?: Secularity, Globalization and the Re-enchantment of the World (Waco, Texas: Baylor University, 2008). (ICS Library: BR115 .G59 W43 2008).

Spencer, Nick, How to Think About Religious Freedom (London: Theos, 2014). (NOT FOUND).

Spencer, Nick and Jonathan Chaplin, eds., God and Government (London: SPCK, 2009). (ICS Library: BR115 .P7 G63).

Storkey, Alan, Jesus and Politics: Confronting the Powers (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005). (Regis, Robarts, Trinity, Emmanuel: BR115 .P7 S754 2005).

Thomas, Scott, The Global Resurgence of Religion and the Transformation of International Relations: The Struggle for the Soul of the Twenty-First Century (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). (Robarts, Trinity: BL65 .I55 T46 2005).

Trigg, Roger, Equality, Freedom, and Religion (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). (Robarts, Trinity: BV741 .T75 2012).

Trigg, Roger, Free to Believe? Religious Freedom in a Liberal Society (London: Theos, 2010). (NOT FOUND).

Trigg, Roger, Religion in Public Life: Must Faith Be Privatized? (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/6101834 ; Robarts, Trinity: BL65 .S8 T75 2007).

Turner, Bryan S. Religion and Modern Society: Citizenship, Secularization and the State (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011). (Robarts: BL60 .T77 2011; St. Michael’s:  

BL60 .T85 2011).

Ward, Graham, The Politics of Discipleship: Becoming Postmaterial Citizens (London: SCM, 2009). (Regis, St. Augustine’s: BR115 .P7 W37 2009;  Robarts: BR115 .P7 W35 2009).


Warner, Michael, Jonathan VanAntwerpen, and Craig Calhoun, eds., Varieties of Secularism in a Secular Age (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2010). (ICS Library: BL2747.8 .V37 2010).

Weithman, Paul J., ed., Religion and Contemporary Liberalism (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1997). (Robarts: BR115 .P7 R4338 1997).

Wolterstorff, Nicholas, Journey Toward Justice: Personal Encounters in the Global South (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2013). (ICS Library Reserve Shelf: BR115.J8 W647 2013).

Wolterstorff, Nicholas, Understanding Liberal Democracy: Essays in Political Philosophy, edited by Terence Cuneo (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). (ICS Library: JC423 .W658 2012).

Zucca, Lorenzo, A Secular Europe: Law and Religion in the European Constitutional Landscape (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012). (UofT Libraries e-resource: http://go.utlib.ca/cat/9987590 ; Knox, Law, Robarts: KJE5156 .Z83 2012).

Other Resources





Students with diverse learning styles and needs are welcome in this course. In particular, if you have a disability/health consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me and/or Student Services as soon as possible.

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