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The Politics of Metanoia

Towards a Post-Nationalistic Political Theology in Ethiopia


Theodros A. Teklu

This book examines and critiques secular modes of self-writing in Ethiopia that put considerable emphasis on the enactment of national/ethnic identity leading to an equivocal situation wherein the ethos that binds people has been greatly eroded. Its analysis demonstrates that such modes of thought are flawed not only on the notion of the human subject, but also inappropriately position the religious or the theological. The book argues that a theological turn generates theological resources for a social horizon of hope – for the apotheosis of the bond of togetherness – which risks thinking politics in an altogether different way beyond the ethno-national logic. This, as the author argues, paves the way for the possibility of a new political subject and the reinvention of politics.
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9 The Politics of Metanoia


In the preceding chapters, and particularly in the previous one, I have articulated a Christian ontology and ecclesiology, which further elaborated the account of Christian askesis I articulated in Chapter 7. My concern in those chapters has been largely a critique of both Church and society (articulating counter-anthropology, counter-ontology, counter-polity). We are now in a position to integrate the arguments in a constructive manner.1 I wish to organise the arguments of this chapter in response to the following question: what are the consequences of the theological discourse, developed thus far, to the ethno-political context (analysed in Part II)? This reconstructive chapter develops the outlook articulated in the previous chapters by giving expression to a political perspective consistent with the Christian theology outlined there: the politics of metanoia.

As I will argue, the politics of metanoia is the way out of the dead-end produced by ethno-political ideology, which identifies politics with the identity/self of the community (the ethnos). This will pave the way for us to risk thinking politics in an altogether different way beyond ethno-national logic. The discussion will proceed in three stages: first, I shall start by accentuating the need for a metanoic community constituted by a distinctively Christian culture of the self that enhances the transformation of persons and communities that go beyond the ideological conditioning of their own communities (9.2). Second, I shall further elaborate the politics of metanoia by placing it within its utopic horizon, the ideal of the Kingdom of God (9.3). Third,...

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