On the Lived Theology Reading List: In Defense of Charisma

A Discussion of Moral Charisma

In Defense of Charisma, by Vincent W. Lloyd, attempts to discuss moral charisma by bringing together insights from politics, ethics, and religion with reflections on contemporary culture. Although charisma is viewed as an unstable source of authority, and not often used in contemporary politics, Lloyd argues that charisma is still flourishing today in multiple aspects of society. Lloyd also distinguishes between authoritarian charisma, which furthers the interests of the powerful, and democratic charisma, which prompts observers to ask new questions and discover new possibilities. Drawing from classical texts as well as recent tweets from the Black Lives Matter movement, In Defense of Charisma challenges readers to turn away from the blinding charisma of celebrities toward the humbler moral charisma of the neighbor, colleague, or relative.

Reviews and endorsements of the publication include:

“In this wonderfully provocative book, Vincent Lloyd explores the theory and practice of charisma in their kaleidoscopically varied forms. Ranging through literary and philosophical and theological texts, through movies and TV and Twitter, through proclamations and arguments and performances, he shows us a big world of ideas. After reading this book I find myself seeing the effects of charisma everywhere. A truly remarkable work of humanistic scholarship, In Defense of Charisma is also a great deal of fun.”—Alan Jacobs, author of The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography

“What is charisma and can it be used well? In this book, Vincent Lloyd offers creative and important reflections for our networked age.”—Cathleen Kaveny, Libby Professor of Law and Theology, Boston College

“In In Defense of Charisma, Vincent Lloyd elucidates a compelling and unique definition of democratic charisma as something overlooked and valuable. It is overlooked partly because it is fleeting, partly because it is overshadowed by the more widely understood and unappealing concept of authoritarian charisma. Democratic charisma gives us an innovative angle on a central concept and could enter the mainstream of discussion in multiple disciplines, perhaps even broader consciousness.”—Mark Roche, University of Notre Dame

For more information on the publication, click here.

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