Towards participatory political theology: democratic consolidation in Southeastern Europe and the role of Eastern Christianity in the process

Slavov, Atanas (2016) Towards participatory political theology: democratic consolidation in Southeastern Europe and the role of Eastern Christianity in the process. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis defends the position that the Eastern Orthodoxy has the potential to develop, on the basis of its core concepts and doctrines, a new political theology that is participatory, personalist and universalist. This participatory political theology, as I name it, endorses modern democracy and the values of civic engagement. It enhances the process of democracy-building and consolidation in the SEE countries through cultivating the ethos of participation and concern with the common good among and the recognition of the dignity and freedom of the person.

This political-theological model is developed while analyzing critically the traditional models of church-state relations (the symphonia model corresponding to the medieval empire and the Christian nation model corresponding to the nation-state) as being instrumentalized to serve the political goals of non-democratic regimes. The participatory political-theological model is seen as corresponding to the conditions of the constitutional democratic state.
The research is justified by the fact the Eastern Orthodoxy has been a dominant religiouscultural force in the European South East for centuries, thus playing a significant role in the process of creation of the medieval and modern statehood of the SEE countries. The analysis employs comparative constitutional perspectives on democratic transition and consolidation in the SEE region with the theoretical approaches of political theology and Eastern Orthodox theology.

The conceptual basis for the political-theological synthesis is found in the concept and doctrines of the Eastern Orthodoxy (theosis and synergy, ecclesia and Eucharist, conciliarity and catholicity, economy and eschatology) which emphasize the participatory, personalist and communal dimensions of the Orthodox faith and practice. The paradigms of revealing the political-theological potential of these concepts are the Eucharistic ecclesiology and the concept of divine-human communion as defining the body of Orthodox theology.

The thesis argues that with its ethos of openness and engagement the participatory political theology presupposes political systems that are democratic, inclusive, and participatory, respecting the rights and the dignity of the person. The political theology developed here calls for a transformation and change of democratic systems towards better realization of their personalist and participatory commitments. In the context of the SEE countries the participatory political theology addresses the challenges posed by alternative authoritarian political theologies practiced in neighboring regions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Political theology, participation, democratic consolidation, Southeastern Europe, Eastern Orthodox Christianity.
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Supervisor's Name: Christodoulidis, Prof. Emilios
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Dr Atanas Slavov
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7337
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 25 May 2016 15:43
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2016 09:33

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