This July, Routledge-Cavendish will publish Strange Gods: Legal Theology in a Modern Age by Peter Fitzpatrick (Birkbeck College, University of London). The publisher’s description follows.
Legal Theology provides a genealogy of modern law as a secular theology, calling into question the received ideas that modern law is radically different from its religious antecedents, and that modernity involved a repudiation of theological concepts. Peter Fitzpatrick charts the lineage of this secular theology through three ‘historicities’: the creation of the world’s imperium, of the modern world-system, in the sixteenth century; the time of revolutions of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; and the high modernism of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Respectively condensed here in the writings of Vitoria, Hobbes and Nietzsche, Fitzpatrick documents the substitution of a monotheistic God by successive articulations of a persistently ‘deific’ law. Legal Theology thus questions the story of secularism’s triumph, by eliciting the essentially religious force of modern law: a force that is, moreover, recognisable in secularism’s contemporary imperial mission.