The Workshop on Covenant and Politics was a multidisciplinary effort established in the mid-1970s to outline the fullest meaning of the covenant idea in political philosophy; examine the current and historical importance and consequences of the idea for federalism; document the complex ways in which it has been operationalized in several polities; and further understand how ideas, culture, and institutions shape political behavior. It was directed by Daniel J. Elazar and John Kincaid. Many findings were reported in The Covenant Letter and occasional panels at meetings of the American Political Science Association. Elazar and Kincaid assembled early workshop papers in “Covenant, Polity and Constitutionalism,” Publius: The Journal of Federalism 10:4 (Fall 1980). Workshop participants included James Luther Adams, William B. Allen, Gordon M. Freeman, Morton J. Frisch, J. David Greenstone, Donald S. Lutz, Charles S. McCoy, Vincent Ostrom, Neal Reimer, Filippo Sabetti, Mary Lyndon Shanley, Douglas Sturm, and John F. A. Taylor.
Daniel J. Elazar brought together the research of this project in his four-volume magnum opus, The Covenant Tradition in Politics, issued by Transaction Publishers. Covenant and Polity in Biblical Israel: Biblical Foundations and Jewish Expressions, vol. I (1995); Covenant and Commonwealth: From Christian Separation through the Protestant Reformation, vol. II (1996); Covenant and Constitutionalism: The Great Frontier and the Matrix of Federal Democracy, vol. III (1998); and Covenant and Civil Society: The Constitutional Matrix of Modern Democracy, vol. IV (1998). The Covenant Connection: From Federal Theology to Modern Federalism, co-edited by Elazar and Kincaid appeared in 2000 (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books). For other publications on covenant see Publications on this site and http://www.jcpa.org/dje/index-cov.htm.
John Kincaid is the main supervisor for a Ph.D. dissertation tentatively titled “The Potential Contribution of Daniel J. Elazar to Christian Political Theology,” Middlesex University, UK, 2016-2018. The dissertation focuses substantially on Elazar’s work on covenant.
“The Covenant Tradition in Politics,” roundtable chaired by J. Wesley Leckrone, American Political Science Association, Atlanta, September 1999.
The Workshop’s long-standing publication, The Covenant Letter, was established as a periodic supplement to the Federalism Report 21:3 (Fall 1996).
Covenant for a Better Troy was a collaborative project begun in May 1995 and directed by Center Fellow Stephen Schechter to help rebuild Troy, NY, as a civil community. It was sponsored by The Sage Colleges (including the Council for Citizenship Education) and the Troy Area United Ministries.
The Covenant Letter, 1979-1990, edited by John Kincaid.
“Covenant in 19th Century America,” a seminar at the 1986 meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA).
“Covenant Liberty,” a seminar sponsored by the Workshop on Covenant and Politics, Center for the Study of Federalism, Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA, May 20-21, 1982. Co-directed by Daniel J. Elazar and John Kincaid.
“Individuals and Families in Covenant Systems,” conference sponsored by the American Jewish Committee and Center for the Study of Federalism, 1981. Co-directed by Daniel J. Elazar and John Kincaid.
“Covenant as a Political Concept and Factor Influencing Political Behavior,” research project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1979-1981, co-authored by Daniel J. Elazar and John Kincaid.
“Covenantal Ideas in the American Political Tradition: Federal Theology—The Sixteenth Century Crucibles,” conference sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, United Church of Christ, and Center for the Study of Federalism, 1980. Co-directed by Daniel J. Elazar and John Kincaid.
“Covenants and Constitutions,” Covenant Workshop meeting in 1979.
“Covenant Ideas in the American Political Tradition: Federal Theology – 16th and 17th Century Crucibles,” a conference, 1979.