Michel Foucault (1926–1984)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

In 1980, Michel Foucault surprised the intellectual community by exploring the work of early Christianity in his annual College de France lecture. He focused on key figures of the early church, including Tertullian, Saint Augustine and John Cassian, and sought to explore the formation of subjectivity, the ethical relation of self to truth claims, through an examination of faith and confession. Even though Foucault was an atheist, his critical ethos does not refuse religion, but rather reveals how religion becomes a “political force” in legitimating or subverting authority. Foucault’s critical attitude is shaped by a post-war philosophical and political context in France that responded to Immanual Kant, Martin Heidegger and phenomenology, Pious Nietzsche, the history of science, the avant-garde, structuralism and the history of religions. Much of the discussion of Foucault’s idea of “political spirituality” has to be placed within the prior context of “pastoral power,” which is driven by emerging concerns about the subject and truth.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReligion and European Philosophy
Subtitle of host publicationKey Thinkers from Kant to Žižek
EditorsPhilip Goodchild, Hollis Phelps
ISBN (Electronic)9781315642253
ISBN (Print)9781138188525
Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2017


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