Foucault and Theology

  • John McSweeney University of Limerick


Exploration of the import for theology of the thought of Michel Foucault has been growing steadily in recent years, principally in relation to the Christian tradition. This article traces the evolution of this dialogue with his work, with a view to assessing its current state of development, highlighting the critical issues involved, and suggesting likely lines of investigation going forward. Having surveyed applications of aspects of his work to a variety of theological questions, and the discussion of his work under the rubric of 'postmodern theology', the article focuses upon the more in-depth theological engagement with his thought inaugurated by the work of James Bernauer and Jeremy Carrette. It is proposed that one of the most critical issues in this debate, currently and going forward, concerns assessment of the kind of relation to theology, if any, that can be extrapolated from Foucault's deployment of notions like 'spirituality' and his engagement with various theological themes.

Author Biography

John McSweeney, University of Limerick
John McSweeney is a doctoral student at the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland. Building on recent explorations of the significance of Foucault's work for theology, and paying particular attention to problems associated with reading Foucault, his research is entitled "Theology after Foucault: Toward a Liminal Space of Thought".
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