Between Kin and Cosmopolis: An Ethic of the Nation (The Didsbury Lectures)

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9781620325131: Between Kin and Cosmopolis: An Ethic of the Nation (The Didsbury Lectures)

The nation-state is here to stay. Thirty years ago it was fashionable to predict its imminent demise, but the sudden break-up of the Soviet Union in the 1990s unshackled long-repressed nationalisms and generated a host of new states. The closer integration of the European Union has given intra-national nationalisms a new lease of life, confirming the viability of small nation-states under a supra-national umbrella-after all, if Ireland and Iceland, then why not Scotland and Catalonia? And then the world stage has seen new and powerful national players moving from the wings to the centre: China, India, and Brazil are full of a sense of growing into their own national destinies, and are in no mood either to dissolve into, or to defer to, some larger body. Nations, nationalisms, and nation-states are persistent facts, but what should we think of them morally? Surely humanity, not a nation, should claim our loyalty? How can it be right to exclude foreigners by policing borders? Can a liberal nation-state thrive without a cohering public orthodoxy? Does national sovereignty confer immunity? Is national separatism always justified? These are urgent questions. Between Kin and Cosmopolis offers timely Christian answers.

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About the Author:

Nigel Biggar is Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, and Director of the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life at the University of Oxford. His most recent books are In Defence of War (2013) and Behaving in Public: How to Do Christian Ethics (2011).

Review:

The ethical-political conclusions Biggar presses as he goes about the work…are where he may delight some with his self-conscious iconoclasm…This book contains some thoughtful and helpful theological reasoning about the ethics of the nation. (Doug Gay Third Way, vol. 39 issue 4, May 2015)

A hugely impressive achievement…a textbook example of how to do public theology in a way that should engage even those who dismiss the concept altogether…Agree or disagree with Between Kin and Cosmopolis you cannot fail to benefit from it. (Nick Spencer Theos)

Biggar has developed and refined his earlier arguments, weaving them together in this new work in order to raise pertinent and urgent moral questions for those with an interest in the public square and global affairs…Whatever your politics, you will find Between Kin and Cosmopolis current and compelling. It will challenge you to think about competing and complimentary worldviews and how they affect matters of national and international importance. (Stanley Gamble Search: A Church of Ireland Journal, Volume 38.2, Summer 2015)

Between Kin and Cosmopolis combines biblical exegesis, theological reflection, political theory, and historical and contemporary geopolitical analysis with great sophistication, thoughtfulness, and – joy of joys- accessibility. It is an excellent example of what Christian political thought can be. (Nick Spencer Church Times)

…full of good sense, and the book has the flavor of a serious after-dinner conversation. (Oliver O'Donovan Theology, 119.1 2016)

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Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology and Director of the McDonald Centre for Theology Eth
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