Soldiers of God in a Secular World: The Politics of Catholic Theology, 1905-1950


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation examines the impact of Catholic theology on French political life in the wake of the separation of Church and state in 1905. It focuses on the conflict between the two dominant schools of Catholic theology in the first half of the twentieth century—Neo-Scholasticism and the Nouvelle Théologie—with an eye to understanding the relationship between their respective theological and political commitments. By recovering the interaction between theological debates and the “secular” political and philosophical questions that consumed Europeans during the first half of the twentieth century, this dissertation demonstrates the continuing role and relevance of theology in a purportedly secular public sphere. It uncovers the productive relationship between theology and secularization, and uses this as a means to rethink the nature of the political more broadly.