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Brecon Political and Theological Discussion Group


 Politics and Theology


"The contemporary West is not - despite our constant calling of them to memory - built on Auschwitz and Treblinka, to which we have said 'No'. It is built on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to which we have said 'Yes'."

Desmond Fennell: The Revision of European History

Except where otherwise stated the following pieces are by Peter Brooke. The articles on politics - mainly to do with Northern Ireland, Serbia and Iraq - in general treat their subjects as purely political matters following a purely political logic; but they are part of an overall argument that this logic is of itself 'Babylonian'. It illustrates the Christian doctrine that the world is diseased and in need of a cure; and that this cure cannot be found in politics, or anywhere else in space and time. There is no suggestion that authors other than myself would share this view. Other similar material may be found on the website of the Brecon Political and Theological Discussion Group.

Items marked with an asterisk (*) are available in pamphlet form here.

Can an intellectual be a Saint? Reflections on the Maynooth Patristics Symposium

'The Christian faith and the financial crisis' - Part Two: The Financial Crisis

'The Christian faith and the financial crisis' - Part One: The Christian Faith. Response to a lecture given in March 2013 by Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach, former head of Margaret Thatcher's Policy Unit and Vice-Chairman of Goldman Sachs International.

Working class politics - as it was, and as it might have been - a review of Nina Fishman: Arthur Horner, a political biography, 2 volumes, Lawrence and Wishart, 2010 (new item added March 2012)

Who is the 'Ruler of this world' - Reflections on the Devil, demons and Hell

The troubled mirror - Yeats, philosophy and violence. Article first published in the Dublin Review of Books

What is a 'paedophile'? A brief reflection on 'man-boy love' and on the child-sex scandals in the Roman Catholic Church.

'What came up was goosegrass' - Alexander Solzhenitsyn and the battle between Good and Evil. An article originally published in the Dublin Review of Books

Homage to Nina Fishman (1946-2009). Contribution to a memorial service in honour of the Labour historian, Nina Fishman, together with articles written or influenced by her on the possibilities of working class politics in the early 1970s. Two new items added November 2010.

How to read the Bible - some suggestions from the Fathers of the Church* Link to the Brecon Discussion Group website.

Did the war on Yugoslavia prevent ethnic cleansing? This article examines transcripts of the Milosevic trial to see if NATO leaders had any reason to believe the Serbs were about to embark on a policy of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo prior to the military intervention of March 1999. Article published in the Labour and Trade Union Review.

A Pit closes in Glory Article on the closure of the worker-managed Tower Colliery in the Cynon Valley in Wales. Published in the Labour and Trade Union Review.

Challenging the Boundaries. Two articles related to the conference advocating a single state in Palestine/Israel, held in London, 17-18 November, 2007

Fighting without an army. Articles on British politics published in the Labour and Trade Union Review.

On Difference in Religion* An attempt (or renunciation of the attempt) to explain how, firmly attached to the claims of one particular religion, one can account for the existence of other religions.

Review of Kenneth O. Morgan's biography of Michael Foot. Article first published in the Dublin Review of Books

Review of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. Article first published in the Dublin Review of Books

Israel-Palestine - Bankruptcy of the two-state solution*. Argues that the Palestinian movement towards separate statehood should be transformed into a movement for full civil rights in a single state stretching from the river Jordan to the sea. Link to the Brecon Discussion Group website.

Notes towards a definition of spirituality* - argues that matter should be understood as a function of consciousness, not vice versa. Link to the Brecon Discussion Group website.

Notes towards a definition of sin* - reasserts the traditional Christian concern with consciousness of sin and the need for redemption. Link to the Brecon Discussion Group website.

Northern Ireland - Is it a religious conflict?* An overall historical account of the development of the two nations in Ireland. Link to the Brecon Discussion Group website.

Islam and Politics - A Reflection on the Sources of Political Legitimacy.* Tries to put Islamic politics, and particularly the rise of the Sunni Salafi movement, and the Shi'i government in Iran, in a context of its Jewish and Christian prehistory. Link to the Brecon Discussion Group website.

The trial of Slobodan Milosevic - Owing to my inability to complete this potentially valuable project I have removed the link.

IRAQ NEWS MAILINGS - a gateway to a huge collection of newspaper articles relating to Iraq, collected over the three years lading up to the US/UK invasion.

Articles on Algeria by Hugh Roberts

Articles on the Lockerbie trial by David Morrison

Towards Equal Citizenship (1984) An argument against the imposition of devolved government in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland - Why the war will continue (1989) Why the Anglo Irish Agreement rendered settlement of the Northern Ireland problem impossible. Including a discussion with Sean Farren of the SDLP.

The Juggernaut - reflections on British identity (1999) Why being British is a disgrace.

The River of Fire by Alexander Kalomiros - An Orthodox Christian reply to the questions: (1) Is God really good? (2) Did God create hell?

* Notes on the role of Serbia in the Yugoslav Conflict (2000) Argues that, given the overall history and traditions of Serbia and of Yugoslavia, no Serb leader could have had political aims very different from those of Slobodan Milosevic.

Postscript concerning the overthrow of President Milosevic Suggests that President Milosevic's unpopularity in Serbia was not due so much to his political aims as to his failure to realise them.

Chronology of events in Yugoslavia/Serbia, 1989-99

Kosovo - What we weren't told by David Morrison

Other articles on the conflict over Kosovo by David Morrison

On the Nature of Sin (2002) Sin understood as intrinsic to human nature inseparable from our enagagement with 'the world'. An argument in favour of Orthodox monasticism.

Evil as 'revelation' (2003) Atrocity seen not as an occasional aberration but as intrinsic to our political life.

* On the origins of the 'Gulf War' - Articles by Hugh Roberts and Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan, and transcript of an interview between US ambassador April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein

The Grand Principle of Magistratical Restraint in Matters of Religion - A dispute on the toleration of heresy in the Reformed Presbyterian Synod in Ireland, 1830­40

Controversies in Ulster Presbyterianism, 1790-1836, Ph.D thesis, 1980. Including theological implications of the United Irish movement; conflict between 'latitudinarianism' (indifference to theological distinctions) and the desire for precision in theology; the formation of the Belfast Academical Institution on latitudinarian principles; the 'Arian' controversy on the Divinity of Christ and its possible political implications; Presbyterian attitudes towards Roman Catholicism and the Church of Ireland.