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Montserrat Herrero, ICS professor and researcher: "In the political community one can also experience the traces of the sacred".

Principal investigator of group 'Religion and Civil Society' publishes book 'Theopolitical Figures. Scripture, Prophecy, Oath, Charisma, Hospitality'.

/ ICS researcher Montserrat Herrero with her book "Theopolitical Figures. Scripture, Prophecy, Oath, Charisma, Hospitality".

27 | 02 | 2024

Scripture, prophecy, oath, charisma, and hospitality are the five pillars that sustain Theopolitical Figures. Scripture, Prophecy, Oath, Charisma, Hospitalitythe new book by Montserrat Herrero, senior researcher at group 'Religion and Civil Society' of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) and professor at the School of Philosophy and Letters of the University of Navarra. The book, published by Edinburgh University Press, explores these five concepts and their survival in the configuration of the contemporary philosophical-political speech .

The research, to which he has devoted more than ten years of work, seeks to answer a question: To what extent is there a transfer of meanings between religious and civil meanings in practices that take place today? "Although it is often said that contemporary society is totally secularized, that there is no trace of religious meaning in civil coexistence, the political world is never really secularized. Traces of the sacred can also be experienced in the political community," he argues.

Thus, he began to study which figures shared this root and selected these five because "they all make reference letter to aspects of community life that are current and my thesis is that these issues must be present if the community does not want to collapse as a political community".

Interdisciplinary dialogue

The result is a non-denominational and interdisciplinary work, with a case study at the end of each chapter, in which he studies "how texts from religious traditions -Christianity, Judaism, Islam-, historical and philosophical texts intercept each other". In this sense, he values very positively the meeting with other researchers: "For me, it has been fundamental to be in this interdisciplinary research team of the ICS with historians and theologians that has allowed me to familiarize myself with texts from other disciplines".

He also establishes a dialogue with the ideas of 20th century philosophers such as Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Louis Chrétien, Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Jean-Luc Nancy, John Caputo and Jean Luc Marion, among others. "I have discovered some readings that are not the usual readings of these authors," he values.

To what aspects of civil life do these figures make reference letter ? The author details that writing connects with "the unconditional character of justice". With prophecy "it is about the possibility or not of securing a future for a community. And it is related to the sacred because the future is not in our hands. Every policy has to take into account this aspect, its limitation". The oath refers to "the stability or instability of the word given"; charisma to "the legitimization of power"; and hospitality "to the ethical-political imperative of welcoming the stranger, of not closing a border definitively".

To exemplify each figure, he resorted to historical cases: "In all of them there has been a transfer of meaning, semantics, between the concepts of the field of religion and those that have been employee in civil history". Thus, events such as the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 are mentioned to talk about prophecy; or the case of the Order of Malta to address hospitality. "It is the longest-lived hospitality structure in history. I find this case very interesting because, although the political community cannot welcome all immigrants, it can generate Structures of welcome within society, such as the family or the Church," he explains. A book that opens "perspectives and paths to continue working".