CfP, ‘Jean Bodin, Christian sovereignty, & the exclusion/toleration of Jews, Muslims, and other minorities’

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS on Jean Bodin, Christian sovereignty, & the exclusion/toleration of Jews, Muslims, and other minorities.

The journal Political Theology has expressed interest in publishing a special issue on Jean Bodin.

An early answer to the question of what forms a political community, and what binds its members, which greatly influenced the Westphalian paradigm of political communities, was given by Jean Bodin (1529—1596), who argued that exclusion was key to the creation of a political community in his Six Books of the Commonwealth (1576). Based upon this text, Bodin is often seen as the first theorist of sovereignty. In this vein, it is no surprise that Carl Schmitt refers often to Bodin. Interestingly enough, very few scholars have tried to read Bodin’s work from the perspective of political theology. This lacuna is particularly worth exploring given Bodin’s posthumous publication Colloquium of the Seven about Secrets of the Sublime (written in 1593, published in 1683) in which he creates an inclusive dialogue between seven ‘religions’: Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Lutherism, Calvinism, Deism, and Natural Religion. The conclusion of the dialogue, which allows many minority religions to speak with great authority, is to place the question of true religion beyond the sphere of the sovereign in the name of peace and freedom. In this vein, Bodin, the theorist of sovereignty is also a theorist who rejected the notion of a unified state based on religion.

After Bodin, the apparent tension between toleration and sovereign Christian power continued to dominate European thought about sovereignty, with profound consequences for the place of Jews, Muslims, and other subjects in the European metropolitan and colonial state. Bodin’s work provides an essential site for us to reconsider the origin and nature of this problematic.

We invite submissions for a special issue of Political Theology dedicated to the work of Jean Bodin and his influence. The journal is interdisciplinary, drawing on theology, religious studies, politics, philosophy, ethics, cultural studies, social theory, and economics. It reflects the diversity of religious and theological engagements with public and political life. In particular, we are interested in the intersection of sovereignty and political theology, religious toleration, links with theorists such as Carl Schmitt as well as thinkers who work on the topic of religion and/or race. We would also be very pleased to have someone consider his most unknown text on demonology and witchcraft in relation to political theology.

This call is for abstracts only (maximum 750 words). Based upon selected abstracts (deadline November 30th 2017), we will ask selected authors for first drafts of papers (deadline 13 February 2018).

Please e-mail your abstracts to and



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