Critical Theology: Introducing an Agenda for an Age of Global Crisis, By Carl A. Raschke

Critical Theology

Introducing an Agenda for an Age of Global Crisis

by Carl A. Raschke

Critical Theology
  • Length: 175 pages
  • Dimensions: 6 × 9 in
  • Published: July 08, 2016
  • Imprint: IVP Academic
  • Item Code: 5129
  • ISBN: 9780830851294

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What is the future of theology in the midst of rapid geopolitical and economic change?

Carl A. Raschke contends that two options from the last century—crisis theology and critical theory—do not provide the resources needed to address the current global crisis. Both of these perspectives remained distant from the messiness and unpredictability of life. Crisis theology spoke of the wholly other God, while critical theory spoke of universal reason. These ideas aren't tenable after postmodernism and the return of religion, which both call for a dialogical approach to God and the world. Rashke's new critical theology takes as its starting point the biblical claim that the Word became flesh—a flesh that includes the cultural, political and religious phenomena that shape contemporary existence.

Drawing on recent reformulations of critical theory by Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou and post-secularists such as Jürgen Habermas, Raschke introduces an agenda for theological thinking accessible to readers unfamiliar with this literature. In addition, the book explores the relationship between a new critical theology and current forms of political theology. Written with the passion of a manifesto, Critical Theology presents the critical and theological resources for thinking responsibly about the present global situation.

"Carl Raschke has been one of the most brilliant trailblazers for theological thinking over the last quarter century. Here he provides a fresh appropriation of critical theory in and for theology, buttressed by critical engagements with Zizek and Badiou. Anyone interested in the vitality of contemporary theory should read this book!"

Clayton Crockett, University of Central Arkansas

"All good theology responds critically to the situation from which it emerges. Raschke's proposal for a new critical theology is no exception. For Raschke, our current, postsecular condition is one in which religion functions as a public force in a pluralized world—a world that is riddled with sometimes violent contradictions. Responding to this condition requires not only taking religion seriously as a motivating factor in global conflicts, but also deploying it critically and politically toward universal, emancipatory ends. Raschke draws on recent work in Continental philosophy and critical theory—particularly the work of Alain Badiou and Slavoj Zizek—to provide an outline for such a theology. The result is both thought provoking and timely, and it should be required reading for those working in the fields of political theology, critical theory, and philosophy. Raschke's proposal, in short, sets an agenda that can't be ignored. Raschke's style also makes the book very accessible to a broader audience. He provides an admirably clear overview of twentieth-century critical theory and crisis theology as they relate to current issues regarding secularization, making this an ideal book to use in the classroom."

Hollis Phelps, University of Mount Olive, author of Alain Badiou: Between Theology and Anti-Theology

"In our globalizing world fraught with cultural, ideological and religious tension, the task facing Christian theology is both immense and urgent. Impressive in its scope and unflinching in its diagnosis of the current state of affairs, Carl Raschke's Critical Theology proposes a compelling theological agenda for an age of global crisis and asks with renewed vigor the old question, 'What has Athens (and Frankfurt, and Paris, and Ljubljana) to do with Jerusalem?' Raschke's deft critiques and provocative, constructive proposals blaze a promising path forward for radical theological analysis and engagement in our times."

Brent A. R. Hege, Butler University

"In Critical Theology, Carl A. Raschke provides a new and exquisitely detailed examination of critical 'global' thinking and its transdisciplinary connections to the legacy of postmodern theology and the future of an 'assembled' religious theory."

Victor E. Taylor, author of Religion After Postmodernism

"Often truth is the first casualty in a time of crisis. For Raschke, however, crisis is what most calls for truth. Unflinching in his commitment to argumentative clarity and undaunted by the enormity of the task of appropriating critical theory for political theology, Raschke offers a manifesto that is intellectually rigorous yet stylistically inviting. Anyone working in political theology will have to engage this book or risk ignoring the global crisis that calls for such theology in the first place."

J. Aaron Simmons, Furman University

"Raschke's primer provides an excellent description of how critical theology and critical theory have been and continue to grow more intertwined."

Michael Raubach, Reading Religion, October 9, 2018


1. Globalization and the Emergence of a New Critical Theory for the Age of Crisis
2. The Need for a New Critical Theology
3. From Political Theology to a Global Critical Theology
4. The Question of Religion
5. Toward a Theology of the "Religious"
6. What Faith Really Means in a Time of Global Crisis
Author Index
Subject Index


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Carl A. Raschke

Carl A. Raschke (PhD, Harvard University) is professor of religious studies at the University of Denver, specializing in continental philosophy, the philosophy of religion, and the theory of religion. He is an internationally known writer and academic who has authored numerous books and hundreds of articles on topics ranging from postmodernism to popular religion and culture to technology and society. Raschke is the author or coauthor of books such as The Revolution in Religious Theory: Toward a Semiotics of the Event, GloboChrist, The Next Reformation, Faith and Reason: Three Views, Painted Black, The Interruption of Eternity, The Digital Revolution and the Coming of the Postmodern University, Fire and Roses: Postmodernity and the Thought of the Body, and The Engendering God. He is co-founder and senior editor of The Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory and he is a regular blogger and current affairs editor with Political Theology Today. A well-known expert on religion and higher education, Raschke has been interviewed at least nine hundred times over two decades. During the late 1980s and early 1990s he advised the National Endowment for the Humanities in Washington, DC, on matters involving core curriculum, serving for several years as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Core Curriculum. He has also served on the board of directors and various national committees of the American Academy of Religion. Raschke is a permanent adjunct faculty member at the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology as well as the Global Center for Advanced Studies, and has been a visiting scholar and lecturer at the University of Vienna. He is co-proprietor of Wingsoar, a lecturing, writing and seminar company, and he is co-founder of the Global Art & Ideas Nexus. He and his wife, Sunny, live in Denver, Colorado.