Political Theology

Jonathan Cole

Dr Jonathan Cole is a scholar, writer, translator and lecturer specialising in political theology—the intersection between religion and politics.

He is currently Associate Director of Research at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture at Charles Sturt University, Canberra, Australia, and host of The Political Animals Podcast: "Conversations at the intersection of religion, politics and culture."

He has a PhD in political theology from CSU, an MA in Islamic theology and Middle Eastern politics from the Australian National University and a BA Hons in Modern Greek language and history from La Trobe University. He speaks Greek.

He spent 13 years working in a number of Australian federal government departments and agencies in Canberra, including seven years in intelligence, most recently as a Senior Terrorism Analyst at the Office of National Assessments (2010–2014).

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Honest conversations about the political and cultural ideas that shape who we are in the 21st century hosted by pontificator-in-chief Jonathan Cole.

Available on Apple, Spotify and other podcast venues.






The Reign of God constitutes the first detailed and systematic critical engagement with Oliver O'Donovan's political theology. It argues that O'Donovan's theological account of political authority is not tenable on the basis of exegetical and methodological problems.

The book goes on to demonstrate a way to refine O'Donovan's theology of political authority by incorporating insights from his earlier work in moral theology. This can provide a cogent basis for thinking that the Christ-event redeems the natural political authority embedded in the created order and inaugurates its new historical bene esse in the form of Christian liberalism.


"At last, a full-length monograph on Oliver O'Donovan's remarkable theology of political authority. Jonathan Cole does us a great service in this comprehensive, clearly-written and constructively critical account of O'Donovan's political thought. Both seasoned readers of O'Donovan and newcomers to his corpus will find this an invaluable companion."

— Jonathan Chaplin, Institute for Christian Studies, Canada

"This book is no doubt a significant step in the ongoing reception of O'Donovan's political theology, developing a detailed and carefully argued critique of O'Donovan's account of political authority. To his credit, Cole does not let his overall sympathy and appreciation stand in the way of critical examination and disagreement."

— Guido de Graaff, St Augustine College of Theology, UK

"The Reign of God provides a clear map of the logic of O'Donovan's theology of political authority, a lucid understanding of the alternatives that troubled him, and a constructive resolution to his theology's internal contradictions. By thinking with and beyond O'Donovan, this book makes a distinctive contribution to Christian political theology."

— Aristotle Papanikolaou, Professor of Theology, Archbishop Demetrios Chair of Orthodox Theology and Culture, Co-founding director, Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Fordham University, USA
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At a moment in which interest in political theology is rising, acceptance of a public role for religion is declining, and cynicism regarding both political and religious institutions is overflowing, this book investigates the possibilities and constraints of a Christian political theology that can meaningfully mediate Scripture, doctrine, and political reality. In critical dialogue with political theologians and political philosophers past and present, we explore the origins, meaning, and purpose of Christian political theology in an age of growing discontent with the once-impregnable liberal democratic order of yesteryear. Approaching politics as both art and science, this book lays a challenge at the feet of political theologians to offer a theological account of politics that is genuinely illuminating of political reality and efficacious for the faithful who seek to operate within it.


“Jonathan Cole offers a powerful and fresh account of the importance and indispensability of political theology. Cole challenges simplistic notions of what it means to do political theology and he argues that it is time for political theology to grow up and become a real discipline. The essays in this book offer a creative, illuminating, and stimulating account of the issues and challenges facing political theology today. A major contribution from a formidable and exciting scholar.”

— Stephen Pickard, Director, Centre for Public and Contextual Theology, Charles Sturt University

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Available for free download via Winchester University Press



"What is the criterion of truth?", asks Christos Yannaras in The Effable and The Ineffable: The Linguistic Boundaries of Metaphysical Realism. Christos Yannaras is a Greek philosopher, Eastern Orthodox theologian and author of more than fifty books which have been translated into many languages. He is a professor emeritus of philosophy at the Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens.


"Christos Yannaras is one of the most original and revolutionary thinkers of modern Europe, and in this arresting, demanding book he sets out his vision of how a post-truth society might rediscover the reality of shared meaning and the hope of authentic life. Bringing the Greek Fathers into dialogue with the foremost thinkers of modernity, he gives us a comprehensive picture of what 'logos' really means and why it matters."

— Rowan Williams

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Prof Wayne Hudson launches Dr Jonathan Cole's book Christian Political Theology in an Age of Discontent at the Centre for Public and Contextual Theology, Charles Sturt University, Canberra, Australia, 20 November 2019.

Christian Political Theology: Is There Method in the Madness?

Millis Institute, Christian Heritage College, Brisbane, Australia, 4 December 2019

The Evangelical-Orthodox Theological Dialogue: Managing Diversity and Navigating Asymmetry

European Journal of Theology 29, no.1 (2020): 27–38.

"The Problematic of Greek Identity and Christos Yannaras' Quest for a Politics of Authentic Existence"

In Polis, Ontology, Ecclesial Event: Engaging with Christos Yannaras' Thought, edited by Sotiris Mitralexis, 47–63. Cambridge: James Clarke & Co., 2018.

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"The Jihadist Current and the West: Politics, Theology, and the Clash of Conceptuality"

In Does Religion Cause Violence? Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Violence and Religion in the Modern World, edited by Scott Cowdell, Chris Fleming, Joel Hodge, and Carly Osborn, 207–228. New York: Bloomsbury, 2018.

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"The Communo-centric Political Theology of Christos Yannaras in Conversation with Oliver O'Donovan"

In Mustard Seeds in the Public Square: Between and Beyond Theology, Philosophy, and Society, edited by Sotiris Mitralexis, 61–92. Wilmington, Del.: Vernon Press, 2017.

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