One of the key categories in contemporary theological ethics and political theology is that of the neighbour. Neighbours have figured in modernity as anything from monstrous figures of alienation, to totally other, yet intimate, figures of difference. What we will begin to see through this unit, however, is how the neighbour becomes a window into the self. Often the trouble with neighbours is really a trouble with the self into which the neighbour is incorporated.

This unit will introduce students to some of the ways theological concepts of neighbourliness have been entangled in key political and ethical struggles of the 20th and 21st century, and will go on to develop a theological ethics/politics of neighbour love.

Unit code: DT3220T

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Moral Theology

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Articulate major strands within 20th century political theology.


Critically distinguish between variant understandings of the neighbour and their impact upon pollical theological distinctions.


Critically evaluate the secularisation of the category of the neighbour.


Identify and evaluate the relationship between concepts of the neighbour and the positioning of religious difference in the 21st C.

Unit sequence

Prerequisite: foundational CT.


Face to face delivery of lectures, with integrated online forums and activities.

Indicative Bibliography

Anidjar, Gil. Semites: Race, Religion, Literature (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008).

The Jew, The Arab: A History of the Enemy (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003).

Arendt, Hannah. The Origins of Totalitarianism (New York: Harcourt, 1976).

Bonhoeffer, Life Together in trans., Daniel W. Bloesch, ed., Victoria Barnett, intro., Geoffrey B. Kelly, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works: Reader’s Edition (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2015).

Bouteldja, Houria. Whites, Jews, and Us (Cambridge: Semiotext(e), 2017).

Brown, Wendy. Walled States, Waning Sovereignty (New York: Zone Books, 2010).

Freud, Sigmund. Moses and Monotheism in The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud vol XXIII (New York: Vintage, 2001).

Kafka, Franz., The Metamorphosis and Other Stories (London and New York: Penguin, 2007).

Kristeva, Julia., Trans. Leon S. Roudiez, Strangers to Ourselves (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991).

Rosenzweig, Franz. Trans. Barbara E. Galli, The Star of Redemption (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2005).

Sacks, Jonathan. Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence (New York: Schocken, 2017).

Santner, Eric, Zizek, Slavoj, and Reinhard, Kenneth. The Neighbour: Three Inquiries in Political Theology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011).

Santner, Eric. The Psychotheology of Everyday Life (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2001).

Schmitt, Carl. Trans. George Schwab, Political Theology (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1985).

Smith, Ted. Weird John Brown: Divine Violence and the Limits of Ethics (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2015).


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay 1500 30.0
Essay 2500 50.0
Forum 1000 20.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 6 Oct, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-10-06 16:23:58 +1100