The Other as Subject: Political Theologies of Autocracy and Democracy


  • Catherine Keller Drew University, United States



process theology, political theology, Carl Schmitt, Russian imperialism, authoritarianism, interdependence


Сrisis of war leads some people of faith to the question – how can a God of love let such horrors happen? To us as subjects, to us as others?  Some with more Calvinist leanings may ask – how can this be part of God’s providential direction of history?  These are the questions of theodicy. They presume a standard view of God’s power as an omnipotent control, an omnipotence allowing some degree of human freedom, some version of the human subject’s responsibility. Let me emphasize that the driving question behind the theodicy question is that of divine power. If God has total control, if God is omnipotent in the classical sense, then evil is either directly willed by “Him”  or “permitted” – in which case He could step in to stop Putin, could give Putin a heart attack or a change of heart, but for His own inscrutable reasons chooses not to.  In other words the intimately disturbing question of theodicy comes down to the broader question of political theology.


Escobar, Arturo. Pluriversal Politics: The Real and Possible. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2020.

Griffin, David. God, Power and Evil: a Process Theodicy. Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.

Keller, Catherine. Face of the Deep. London: Routledge, 2003.

Lewis, David G. Russia’s New Authoritarianism: Putin and the Politics of Order. 1st edition. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2020.

Schmitt, Carl. Concept of the Political. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Snyder, Timothy. ‘Ivan Ilyin, Putin’s Philosopher of Russian Fascism | Timothy Snyder’. The New York Review of Books. URL:

Snyder, Timothy. ‘“God Is a Russian”. Russian, East European, & Eurasian Studies at Yale’. URL:

Whitehead, Alfred North. Process and Reality. New York: Free Press, 1979.



How to Cite

Keller, Catherine. 2023. “The Other As Subject: Political Theologies of Autocracy and Democracy”. Theological Reflections: Eastern European Journal of Theology 20 (2):79-90.