This essay is published in a book by Routledge Press released in June 2018, Religious Scholars as Public Intellectuals, as part of the Routledge Studies in Religion Series.
This unique collection of essays is both timely and thought provoking. Looking at the individual and collective role of religious studies scholars and theologians in public life, this book will be of great interest to all involved in religious studies, theology and religious leadership across faith traditions. This collection, including my contribution emerged from a series of presentations peer-selected from the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Region American Academy of Religion / Society of Biblical Literature Annual Conference, New Brunswick, NY, March 2017. That conference’s theme lent its title to this work.
The abstract for my article is as follows:
The development of the phrase “post-truth” to define the state of U.S. political, social and cultural discourse should concern scholars of theology and religion and well as religious leaders. A discourse based largely on emotional appeal separated from a discourse of fact is corrosive to the larger religious search for “Ultimate Truth” and that Truth’s relevance in human life and society. However, “post-truth” discourse is not a new phenomenon. Precedent can help us learn from other theological and religion scholars and leaders who have confronted similar historical circumstances. This paper will examine some aspects of Blessed Archbishop Oscar Romero’s confrontation with “post-truth” political and cultural forces during his three years as Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador (1977-80). These insights can be informative for contemporary theological and religious discourse and leadership which seeks to exercise responsible public resistance to the cult of “post-truth” in our current social discourse.