The figure of the enemy emerges in New Testament literature under the command to love. Yet, often throughout the history of Christian theology, the precise contours and conditions of enmity fade from view. This project assumes that contemporary political and social enmities can help unearth genealogies of the concept to illuminate the structural formations that determine enmity and so interpolate persons into social relations of enmity in the present. Figuring the enemy, then, illuminates the shape of the theological frames in which Christianity has positioned the enemy, and so subjects it to productive critique.
Figuring the Enemy investigates the structures that produce and disguise forms of enmity. In using methodologies from political theology the project will explore the genealogical roots of contemporary forms of enmity, and in using socio-cognitive approaches to theology and religion the project will examine the psychological dynamics of enmity. Integrating these two methodological approaches through collaboration hosted by the University of Divinity and the University of St Andrews, the project will produce innovative approaches to both disciplines, as well as impactful research exploring the roots of contemporary forms of enmity.
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