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Politics as Religion Hardcover – 3 Jul 2006


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"The threat of new exclusive, intolerant and fundamentalist nationalism with powerful racist connotations is a danger. This book could make a contribution to analysing these phenomena."--Dr P. J. Dorey, Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae (South Africa)

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"This book offers readers a wide and accurate account of various experiences of religions of politics ranging from American democracy (which Emilio Gentile analyzes with remarkable finesse) to Communism. Because of its clarity and the wealth of historical references it provides, it will be particularly useful for courses on politics and religion."--Maurizio Viroli, Princeton University


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An American dollar bill, with its portrait of George Washington, is a religious symbol. Read the first page
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An essential work on the psychology of nationalism 11 May 2013
By Richard Koenigsberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In this important book, Emilio Gentile defines political religion as a "more or less developed system of beliefs, myths, rituals and symbols" that creates an aura of sacredness around an entity belonging to the world and "turns it into a cult or object of worship or devotion." "Gods" are one class of entities that human beings worship. However, other objects become sacred within societies. One such entity worshiped in the modern world---inspiring a cult of devotion---is the Nation-State. The state may appear as an "enthralling and awe-inspiring power that invokes a feeling of absolute dependency."

Contemporary social theory--focusing on the concept of power---demonstrates how forces "from above" impose themselves upon "the subject." Gentile puts forth a more sophisticated---psychological--paradigm based on recognition that human beings possess a desire to attach to and worship objects greater than the self. This is an essential work toward a psychology of nationalism.
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