Theses - Divinity


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  • ItemOpen Access
    Words Make Worlds: sexuality, discourse, and the production of knowledge in the Anglican Church of Rwanda
    Bagnall, David
    This dissertation examines the role played by language and discourse in generating new concepts of homosexuality in the Anglican Church of Rwanda (ACR). By means of identifying and analysing Rwandan Anglican sexuality discourse, this dissertation locates as the source of such language a particular conservative discursive world within the Episcopal Church of the United States of America (ECUSA) and proceeds to analyse how this discourse has evolved and developed since its introduction into Rwanda in the mid-2000s. At the heart of this study is therefore the contention that words themselves have played a vital role in creating new conceptions of homosexuality, and that by paying attention to language itself, and in particular to the rules of formation which generate and regulate Rwandan Anglican sexuality discourse itself, a more nuanced and detailed picture of cross-cultural exchange emerges. After discussing the importance of language in philosophical terms in the introduction, and detailing the history of language-use in the Rwandan Church in the second chapter, the main body of this dissertation turns its attention to the analysis of Rwandan Anglican sexuality discourse itself. It does this by means of identifying three key discursive regularities within Rwandan Anglican sexuality discourse: novelty, foreignness, and sin, and the three chapters at the heart of this dissertation analyse each of these regularities respectively. The dissertation finds that, by means of a relationship established between the ACR and American evangelicals in the early years of the 21st Century, a particular American anti-homosexual discourse arrived into the ACR and that once there, this emerging discourse was profoundly influenced by the politics of the genocide’s aftermath, and by the theological inheritance of the East African Revival. By means of focusing on language, this dissertation provides a fresh contribution to ongoing debates regarding global Anglican sexuality controversies by revealing the actual processes by which new ideas and concepts are exchanged across the Anglican Communion. The dissertation therefore concludes by discussing the relevance of my research to contemporary academic debates before offering some thoughts on the implications of my research for intra-Anglican sexuality debates themselves. If, as this dissertation argues, words themselves are part of the problem, then so too might they be part of the solution.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Freedom and Plenitude in Medieval Arguments for the Existence of God
    Amichay, Suf
    This dissertation traces the story of the reception, adaptation and ultimately rejection of Aristotelian science in the Abrahamic societies of the middle ages. It traces this story by analysing medieval arguments for the existence of God in Hebrew, Latin and Arabic. Each of these arguments is underpinned by a particular scientific worldview. The premises of the arguments express scientific views about the way things are, either physically or metaphysically. These arguments are often the culmination of scientific theory at the time of their composition. Through them we learn about the different theories of the roles medieval thinkers assigned to God and nature. The dissertation provides a rigorous analysis of the largest collection of arguments for the existence of God studied so far, and the first collection of arguments from all three traditions. The dissertation’s main claim is that due to an incompatibility of the Aristotelian system with Abrahamic religions, in both its Arabic and Latin reception, the traditions followed the same path of reception, adaptation and rejection of the system. I argue that this is due to the incompatibility of the Principle of Plenitude, the constitutive element of Aristotelian science, with the Abrahamic concept of God as an omnipotent, free agent.
  • ItemEmbargo
    The Figure of the Widow in the Hebrew Bible
    Gilfeather, Christie
    Widows appear in every genre of biblical text, and yet there has been little research into the way in which they are characterised. This thesis seeks to undertake a thoroughgoing exploration of the presentation of the widow in the Hebrew Bible, paying particular attention to her relationship to family structures, economic issues and sexuality. A literary historical-critical methodological approach that is informed by anthropological work on widows from a range of contemporary global contexts underpins this study. Ethnographic accounts of the lives of widows in contemporary Japan, India and Apartheid South Africa simulate questions of Biblical texts that focus on widows which have not been asked before. Part 1 of the thesis begins with a chapter that focuses on the book of Deuteronomy. Our exploration focuses on what Deuteronomy tells us about the widow in relation to social justice and poverty. The second chapter examines the presentation of the widow in the book of Job, where she is primarily used as a prop for individuals who are concerned with their own reputation for just and pious behaviour. Subsequently, the third chapter explores widow inheritance through the lens of 1 Kings 17 and Ruth 4. Here, the picture of the widow develops beyond the poverty and helplessness that characterises her both in the law and in the book of Job. Part 2 of the thesis shifts focus to the association in the Hebrew Bible between widowhood, sexuality and death. We begin with an exploration of the presentation of widowhood in Genesis 38 and the book of Ruth, arguing that both texts associate widowhood with sexuality and death. Subsequently, the final chapter of the thesis contends that these themes are also present in the description of Daughter Zion as ‘like a widow’ in Lamentations 1. As a whole, this thesis seeks to undertake a detailed study of the widow which goes beyond what has been achieved in scholarship so far, thereby making a unique contribution to the field. It shows that the texts in which the widow appears are rich and brought into sharper focus, the application of an interdisciplinary approach.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Written Convergence in the Greek Pentateuch: Studies at the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface
    Wright, Travis
    This thesis defends the following argument: 1\. Signs of macro-structural planning indicate a translator has monitored the performance of the product as Greek discourse. 2\. Unique target language items that generate inferences in the product are one sign of macro-structural planning. 3\. The product contains unique target language items that generate inferences. 4\. So, the translators monitored the performance of their product as Greek discourse. 5\. So, the translators had a pragmatic presupposition that their intended audience would detect inferences generated in the product. If sound, this argument demonstrates that utterances in the product with unique target language items were communicatively independent from their source. The best explanation for the amount and distribution of such utterances is that the product itself was intended to be read as a monolingual corpus. This thesis then proceeds to demonstrate that the translators deliberately licensed discourse-pragmatic meaning borrowed from the source in cases of literalism: 6\. If (5), then neither the translators nor their intended audience were oblivious to the same inferences when they were borrowed from the source. 7\. So, macro-structural planning also includes licensing inferences borrowed from the source. 8\. So, the translators took a maximal stance toward crosslinguistic symmetry in the product. If successful this argument demonstrates that the Septuagint was intended to be read as a monolingual corpus even when its meaning had been borrowed from the source. This argument provides an explanation for a high degree of literalism in the product: written convergence was an epiphenomenon of crosslinguistic symmetry. Alternation between different modes of translation arose as the translators balanced the consequences of asymmetric contact with a desire for interpretive resemblance with the source, leading to a product that appears to be both ‘literal’ and ‘non-literal’ at the same time.
  • ItemEmbargo
    In Principio Erat Signum: Dueling Dionysianisms & Sacramental Semiotics In Thomistic & Mystical Franciscan Poetry
    Belleza, Jose
    Raoul Eshelman, observing in post-1990 art the deployment of artistic and narratival techniques which seem to break from postmodern stagnancy, has posited the arrival of a new epoch—“performatism” or “post-postmodernity”—marked by a new metaphysical optimism and confidence in the sign. While Eshelman’s description of the performatism paradigm at first appears open to a theological and even sacramental synthesis capable of informing a more robust religious response to postmodern critique, his fundamental recourse to a semiotics grounded on the theories of Eric Gans and René Girard ensures that the adversarial ontology underlying postmodernity also underlies performatism, thus making of performatism a non-identical repetition of the paradigm it wishes to escape. If performatism is to be recovered for theological purposes, an alternative theory of the sign, founded not on violence but on a metaphysics of union, is required. This thesis firstly proposes that the broad tradition of Christian Neoplatonism might offer the type of stable metaphysical-semiotic foundation to bolster performatism’s more positive instincts. Tracing a general metaphysics of union from Plato’s *Phaedrus* to the sacramental cosmos of Dionysius the Areopagite, the grounding of semiotics in an effusive divine source establishes the possibility of all subsequent signs, of language, and of transcendence. However, competing interpretations of Dionysian metaphysics necessarily affect the construal of the sign, and determine whether the link between created signs and their divine source is understood as extrinsically imposed or intrinsically and ontologically communicated. As a case in point, these “dueling Dionysianisms” are assessed through a contrastive analysis of Franciscan and Thomistic poetics. Poems composed by Francis of Assisi, Bonaventure, and Iacopone, read in light of the early development of a Franciscan theological school,” exhibit features of a more affective Dionysianism which tends toward an extrinsic semiotics and a slight valorization of spirit over matter in mystical union, perhaps already presaging the bifurcation of the sign in postmodernity. Meanwhile, the Eucharistic poetry of Aquinas, especially the sequence *Lauda Sion*, presents an intrinsic semiotics and ontology of union which integrates bodily and spiritual principles in mysticism. It is this latter Thomist approach—here seen in Aquinas’s poetics but radically consistent with his broader philosophical and theological doctrine—which supplies a theory of the sign which would empower performatism to escape the strictures of postmodernity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Descent and Ascent in Augustine's De Trinitate: Prayer as a Way of Being in the Trinity
    Borthwick, Kirsty Louise
    This thesis uses an Augustinian model of participation, derived from Augustine’s *De Trinitate*, to examine how human prayer participates in something of God’s own self and action. I argue that intercession is an especially helpful category for understanding the participatory shape of human prayer. A number of recent scholars have commented on the roots of human prayer in the triune life. This study contributes an analysis of this idea using Augustine of Hippo’s *De Trinitate*. The text’s chiastic structure, in which the account of the descent of the Son and Holy Spirit (Books II-VII) enables the human person’s ascent to God (Books IX-XIV), results in a treatise in which Augustine maps a spiritual progression. In particular, he describes how the activity of the Son ‘for us’ and the Spirit ‘in us’ perfects our imaging of the Trinity, such that we are increasingly shaped to remember, understand and love God. This perfecting happens, Augustine argues, as we are found *in* Christ as members of the *totus Christus*. In Part I, I offer broad introductions to both participation and prayer, with particular reference to Kathryn Tanner’s work on participation and Sarah Coakley’s work on desire. In Part II, this thesis then explores principles of prayer and participation in Augustine’s work with a particular focus on *De Trinitate*’s account of divine descent and human ascent, and consideration of Augustine’s broader interest in the concept of the *totus Christus*. Having discerned an Augustinian model of participation at the end of Part II, I use this in Part III to examine how human prayer might be described as an act of participation in God, indeed as a way of being in the Trinity, whose own way of being in creation - the divine missions - are themselves an act of divine intercession.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Politics and Covenant in the Divine Davidic Kinship: A Diachronic Approach to Covenant in the Book of Samuel
    Johnson, Sophia
    Since the Covenant Centrality movement of the late 20th century, Hebrew Bible scholarship has obsessed over categorising different covenants by their formal features, such as conditional and unconditional or unilateral and bilateral. However, these classifications assume that function follows form and thus carry an inherently static conception of covenant. A diachronic approach to the study of covenant in the Hebrew Bible that remains sensitive to the narrative at each editorial level offers a dynamic understanding of the concept as it changes not only over time but between different literary settings. This thesis critiques and advances studies of covenant by presenting a new model for interpreting “berith” both as a literary device and as a textual component, specifically a legal formulation with ongoing consequences, with a view to better interpret the biblical texts as changing historical documents. The book of Samuel, and particularly covenants with David, offer a prime case study, due to their complex composition and innerbiblical reception history. Redaction criticism of narratives describing covenants between David and Jonathan, Abner, and the elders of Israel demonstrates the development of the concept of covenant from a simple bond to an oath of political loyalty or allegiance. These various individual covenants build up to the vision of an undisputed Davidic dynasty cast in 2 Sam 7. Jonathan’s pledge of loyalty in 1 Sam 20 takes away any future Saulide claim to the throne by submitting his descendants to David’s. Abner’s disavowal of Ish-bosheth and covenant rendering service to David in 2 Sam 3 facilitates the administrative transition from within the standing leadership, keeping David from charge of sedition. Finally, the covenant with the elders of Israel accompanying David’s anointment at Hebron in 2 Sam 5 brings all the tribes together under the monarchy, thus linking the ideal united kingdom of Israel with the Davidic kingship. Together they form a legal schema that ungirds a Deuteronomistic ideal of Davidic kingship over a united Israel, grounded in the idealised history of the early Israelite monarchy but looking toward a future restoration. Similar to Neo-Assyrian vassal treaties, the Deuteronomistic writers emphasise the legitimacy and authority of the covenants, which lend explanation, censure, and hope for the future of the people of Israel. I argue that the Deuteronomistic editors adapted covenant to the form of loyalty oaths employed by their imperial neighbours to make claims on those they considered to fall under “United Israel” in anticipation of the re-establishment of Israel’s royal dynasty following the exile. This thesis therefore aims to redirect scholarship on covenant by investigating the purpose and functions of legal forms within the covenant texts of Samuel, elucidating the political significance of these texts in their ancient Near Eastern landscape, and contextualising the stories of Samuel in the historiographical narratives of the early Israelite monarchy as they are presented in the wider Deuteronomistic History.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Mission Churches and African Marriage in Zimbabwe 1890-1970: Contemporary African Christian Dilemmas Over Marriage in Historical and Theological Perspective
    Ngundu, Onesimus A.
    Chapter 1 reviews the relevant literature on African marriage and states the objectives of this study. Chapter 2 describes the main features of the African (Shona) customary marriage of Zimbabwe which are commonly practised among other African ethnic groups in sub-Saharan Africa. Missionary negative attitudes towards African customary marriage were conditioned by their various doctrinal traditions and by the long process whereby the Church in Europe asserted its control over marriage (chapter 3). In place of the African customary marriage, the British colonial authorities introduced statutory marriage law, and claimed jurisdiction over the marriages of all Africans, including Christians (chapter 4). Missionaries, though now denied legal jurisdiction over the marriages of their church members, still required all African Christian couples to wed in church for church purposes (chapters 5 and 6). Chapter 7 analyses a survey of current African Christian attitudes towards marriage and considers three previous scholarly proposals for recognising African customary marriage mainly for church purposes. Whilst there are major differences between male and female perspectives, it is clear that contemporary African Christians would like to discover a way of expressing Christian principles of marriage within a customary marriage framework. The suggested proposal, an African Christian customary marriage ceremony, as put forward in chapter 8, is offered as a theological and pastoral response to the dilemmas surrounding African Christian marriage in sub-Saharan African with special reference to Zimbabwe. The proposed approach, which has already been tried in some churches in current Zimbabwe, is culturally relevant, in conformity to civil law and ecclesiastically acceptable in the country where customary and civil marriage laws co-exist as in independent Africa.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Glorying in a Thorn-Crowned Head: Divine (Im)passibility, Human Suffering, and the Paschal Ecclesiology of the Mystical Body.
    Swailes, Ann
    Two distinct sets of Christian theological responses to human pain are canvassed especially significantly in late modernity, grounded respectively in immanent divine suffering, and in an ecclesiology which holds that baptism efficaciously engrafts its recipients into an ontologically substantial *Corpus Mysticum*. In this thesis, I argue that incorporationist ecclesiology provides richer resources for a theology of suffering than theological passibilism, including a greater potential for chastening that temptation to pathological dalliance with distress which, paradoxically, it shares with passibilist doctrines of God. The rise of divine passibility is conventionally seen as stimulated by the seismic geopolitical events of the mid-20th century. I shall argue, rather, that it is in consequence of a crisis of Christological confidence that theological passibilism appears both more systematically coherent and more pastorally compassionate than its doctrinal polar opposite against such a traumatic backdrop. With Pius XII’s 1943 ecclesiological encyclical *Mystici Corporis Christi* as my point of departure, I shall then begin to sketch an alternative approach to the mystery of suffering, in which incorporationist ecclesiology, divine impassibility, and Chalcedonian Christology are symbiotically supportive. I shall proceed by means of a liturgical-theological thought experiment, arguing that incorporationist ecclesiology permits seeing an intrinsically paschal liturgy as analogically located in cult and quotidian life. Consequently, the juxtaposition of cross and resurrection at the centre of the church’s worship is replicated para-liturgically and artistically, and in the *pathos* of Christians seen as isomorphic with the passion of Christ. Here, I will draw on late Medieval and mid-20th century texts and devotional practices. Key primary sources will be Julian of Norwich, William Langland, and Gerald Vann OP. By thus bringing voices from an era in which incorporationist ecclesiology and theological impassiblism were axiomatic into dialogue with others from the period conventionally credited with the genesis of the “new orthodoxy” of divine passibility, the qualitative difference between the two approaches to the mystery of suffering will be thrown into sharper relief. I also aim to show that incorporationist ecclesiology only reaches its doctrinal – and consolatory - potential when it is fundamentally oriented towards Easter and thus to impassible eschatological bliss.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Re-reading Nāgārjuna with Resources from Richard Rorty
    Ilieva, Aleksandra; Ilieva, Aleksandra [0000-0001-5538-1515]
    The central aim of this dissertation is to bring into dialogue certain themes, methods, and concepts drawn from, on the one hand, the 2nd century CE Mahāyāna Buddhist thinker, Nāgārjuna, and, on the other, the Neo-Pragmatist philosopher, Richard Rorty (1931-2007). I highlight two core types of exegetical disagreement amongst Madhyamaka scholars in their philosophical readings of Nāgārjuna’s central texts (the *Mūla-madhyamaka-kārikā* and the *Vigraha-vyāvartanī*), and I re-articulate these debates through a Rortyan Neo-Pragmatist lens. I describe these two types of ongoing disagreement, which I characterise using the metaphor of an oscillation, as metaphilosophical and metalinguistic. They are thematically intertwined – the former is a disagreement over whether we should read Nāgārjuna as primarily engaging in *philosophy* and the latter is a disagreement over whether we should read Nāgārjuna’s *statements* as primarily useful to follow for the goal of liberation or accurately capturing facts about reality. In analysing what these Western interpreters are doing in their philosophical readings, I introduce Rorty as a lively conversational partner with whom to revisit their methodological preferences and conceptual presuppositions. My aim is not to conclusively settle these exegetical debates. Instead, I propose that Rorty’s work can give us some valuable conceptual resources for sidestepping their disagreements because of its extensive engagement with metaphilosophical and metalinguistic motifs in Western academic philosophy. My core argument is that by focussing on Rorty’s articulation of semantic anti-representationalism, that is, the view that the function of language is not to “mirror” or re-present the world, we can reconceptualise these exegetical debates as structured by forced choices which can be avoided. Therefore, the Rortyan (second-order) perspective that I will develop in this dissertation stands at a right angle to the (first-order) contemporary exegetical field where the idiom of representationalism is not directly opposed. I will argue that by not clearly rejecting the idioms and the imageries of representationalism from the outset, the interpretive terrain of Madhyamaka becomes associated with representationalist presuppositions, especially of a semantic variety, and it is these presuppositions that generate and sustain the exegetical debates. Once we have reconfigured, with the help of Rorty, the scholarly terrain anti-representationally and pointed to ways of bypassing these exegetical impasses, I then trace the implications of re-reading Nāgārjuna as an anti-representationalist. In so doing, I show that my proposals have the additional advantage of giving us Neo-Pragmatist tools with which to re-read Nāgārjuna’s Madhyamaka in a way that renders his message less exegetically tortuous and more straightforwardly intelligible.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Israel, Torah and Christ in Matthew and Romans: a Conversation 'Within Judaism'
    Marjot, Oliver
    This thesis is a comparative study of select theological themes in Matthew’s Gospel and Paul’s letter to the Romans. Written in the light of current trends to read both texts ‘within Judaism’, as well as in response to suggestions of a fundamental theological incompatibility between the Matthean and Pauline perspectives in the work of David Sim, Benjamin White and Anders Runesson (among others), the thesis seeks to put Matthew and Romans ‘into conversation’ with one another on three questions that have a particular bearing on the texts’ relation to Judaism. The three substantive chapters focus on 1) the role of Israel as a distinct theological character; 2) the texts’ attitude to Torah observance; and 3) the texts’ soteriological perspectives in relation to first-century Judaism. The methodological approach is primarily theological and, for Matthew, composition- and narrative-critical, meaning that the Gospel is treated as a theologically coherent composition in its final form. Particular attention is paid to the question of intended audience in the exegesis of both texts. The thesis argues that far from representing antithetical or incompatible trends in the first-century Jesus movement, Matthew and Romans exhibit considerable compatibility with one another, and also with first-century Judaism in their perspectives on the theological significance of Israel and on the role of Torah observance in Jewish and mixed Jew-Gentile communities, especially when the question of intended audiences is taken into account. The thesis concludes, however, that despite this continuity with Judaism in some important respects, both Matthew and Romans exhibit significant discontinuity with non-Christian forms of Judaism in their fundamentally Christocentric soteriological perspectives, though here, too, they exhibit broad theological compatibility with one another.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Gregory of Nyssa’s Soteriological Imaginary as a Resource for Nonviolent Soteriology
    Black, Hannah Noël
    This project analyzes feminist critiques of the doctrine of the atonement and responds to them by presenting several patterns of constructive, nonviolent atonement language resourced from Gregory of Nyssa’s theology. Chapter One introduces the topic of theological language that is fundamental to feminist critiques of the doctrine of atonement. It also contextualizes the retrieval of patristic metaphors for contemporary soteriological discourse in this thesis. The chapter analyzes the idea of atonement theories as a way of organizing soteriology. It analyzes feminist critiques of atonement theories with a focus on two primary atonement theories: the Anselmian satisfaction theory and penal substitutionary atonement. It shows that many of these critiques relate to the theme of violence. It then examines several recent constructive responses to feminist critiques of violence in atonement theories and concludes that further constructive work needs to be done. Chapter Two introduces the main methodological moves the thesis will make. It shows that feminist critiques of atonement theories are epistemologically rooted in experience and argues that contemporary soteriology, therefore, needs to be attentive to the subjectivity shaping effects, or the internalization, of soteriological discourse. The chapter then introduces two concepts that are well-suited to an experientially sensitive analysis of soteriological concepts: (1) the imaginary and (2) affective salience. Chapter Three introduces Gregory of Nyssa as the primary interlocutor for this project. Gregory is a fitting interlocutor due to his soteriological focus on love and beauty, his theologically sophisticated use of images to communicate abstract theological concepts, and his attention to how his theology might be internalized by its audience. The chapter examines existing scholarship on Gregory’s soteriology as well as Gregory’s holistic view of the doctrine of salvation which does not prize the crucifixion above the incarnation, resurrection, and ascension. Chapter Four analyzes Gregory’s implementation of the soteriological metaphor of healing in the *Oratio catechetica magna*. This includes the image of God as physician as well as imageries such as sickness and the role of pain in the healing process. The chapter considers what humanity is being healed from in Gregory’s soteriology (vice) and the result of humanity’s healing (virtue). It argues that an imaginary shaped by the soteriological image of healing is particularly oriented around the concept of virtue and that the primary affective response the image is intended to evoke is that of gratitude. Chapter Five analyzes the soteriological image of ascent in Gregory’s *De vita Mosis*, which draws on Moses’s ascent of Mount Sinai. The imaginary this image invokes his ideas of perfection and virtue at its core. The affective salience of the image of ascent is that it induces feelings of humility and wonder as well as a sense of community. Chapter Six analyzes the soteriological image of marriage in *In Canticum canticorum*. The extended metaphor of marriage involves images of removing and putting on clothing, experiencing God with the spiritual senses, and the beautification of the bride. The imaginary shaped by marriage imagery is organized around drawing near to and being united with God as a spouse. The affective salience of marriage imagery is that it encourages desire for God and desire for relief from suffering. The Conclusion argues that Gregory of Nyssa’s use of imagery beyond what is usually invoked in modern atonement theories can help broaden the contemporary soteriological horizon in light of feminist critiques of such theories, providing nonviolent and thoroughly biblical soteriological language that has power to shape imaginaries in a positive way and instigate edifying affective responses.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Transcendence, Immanence and the Triunity of God : A Study of William Temple's Philosophical Theology
    Fullerton, James Andrew
    This thesis is not, strictly speaking, an essay in the Christian doctrine of God, nor is it an exhaustive study of William Temple's life and thought. Its subject lies in the area where these two coincide. There are characteristic themes and approaches in Temple's philosophical theology - principally in his three major works, *Mens Creatrix* (1917), *Christus Veritas* (1924), and *Nature, Man and God* (1934) - which it is the purpose of this study to examine with a view to understanding God's relation to the world. Temple's dialectical method of relating natural and revealed theology depends, in some measure, on his concept of revelation. Revelation establishes a pervasive relation between God and the world. The meaning of history is found in the immanent expression of the transcendent will-in-act; and history is therefore the essential self-expression of God. The nature of this relation is formulated by Temple's sacramental model of the relation between God and the process of creation and redemption in history. Temple's understanding of the universe as a sacrament, not simply of God to creation, but of God to himself through creation, is his unique contribution to the problem of framing a coherent doctrine of God. The sacramental formulation of God's relation to the process of creation and redemption, considered both soteriologically and cosmologically, demands a doctrine of the Trinity. Temple suggested this, but never fully formulated it. The thesis demonstrates how trinitarian categories, both "economic" and "immanent", are implied by Temple's understanding of the relation of God to creation. Finally, the thesis considers the freedom of God, a problem Temple never resolved. The sacramental relation between the Trinity and creation appears to establish a necessary relation between God and the activities of creation and redemption. The thesis shows, through a brief consideration of Hegel, that the paradox of freedom and necessity in God's activity is resolved only throught the affirmation that God is love.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Dante's Ministry of Felicity: The Interplay of Beatitude, Metaphysics, and Intercessory Prayer in the Theological Imagination of the 'Commedia'
    Pepper, Stephen
    This thesis is an exercise in theology and Dante studies. It sets as its central research question, “How does intercessory prayer conduce to the realization of beatitude? How does Dante help us think, in other words, about the ways in which prayer for another person’s good actually serves to help make them blessed or happy?” The question stems from conversations that have been taking place especially within the past twenty years in the study of Dante’s theology about beatitude, metaphysics, and prayer in the 'Commedia'. These conversations reflect theological interest in beatitude and causality, prayer and divine and human interaction, and the eschatological dimension of prayer. By asking this question at the heart of these conversations and interests, this thesis offers not only a fresh approach to understanding how Dante’s 'Commedia' might be said to lead people to happiness but also theological insight into the nature, activity, and effectiveness of intercessory prayer. It claims Dante as a relevant source and authority for theological investigation. In response to its central research question, this thesis argues that Dante shows intercessory prayer as acting in accordance with various principles of beatitude. Intercessory prayer can be construed as a form of participation in divine beatitude and a secondary cause of created beatitude. It serves by grace to merit for others, to hope for others, and to behold others in love, and in these ways, it helps to dispose others for the final grace of being raised to the embodied vision and love of God (and of the created order and human image at the heart of God). Intercessory prayer thus comes to be understood in view of the 'Commedia' as an expression of the blessedness of Christ, as an operative perfection of human nature, and as a reflection of what it means for God to be perfect. Dante helps us think of intercessory prayer as grounds for beatitude.
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    The Reimagination of the House of God in the Book of Ezra-Nehemiah
    Lau, Wing Kwan
    This thesis examines how the legal exegesis of Ezra-Nehemiah portrays the house of God. I will explore how four topics are repurposed and belong together to reimagine the house of God in the postexilic period: 1) resumption of cultic worship (Ezra 3:1-13; 6:16-22; Neh 10:33-35), 2) provision of priestly dues (Neh 10:36-40; 12:44-47; 13:4-14), 3) observance of the Sabbath (Neh 5:1-19; 10:32; 13:15-22), and 4) prohibition of intermarriage (Ezra 9-10; Neh 10:31; 13:23-29). These four issues appear in both the agreement of the exiles to obey the Torah (Neh 10:31-40) and various sins described in the book (Ezra 9-10; Neh 5:1-19; Neh 13). The fact that the same issues are presented in both positive and negative light reveals the major concerns of the book. Judging from the cultic emphasis in the pledge (Neh 10), Nehemiah’s final reform (Neh 13) and the restoration project in general, I propose that reading the four stipulations and Ezra-Nehemiah as a whole through the lens of the house of God will bring some fruitful understanding of the book. I argue that the author of Ezra-Nehemiah makes use of these four topics (rebuilding and dedication of the temple, tithes, Sabbath and intermarriage) to reimagine the house of God as the realization of the tabernacle and to map out the social order of the postexilic community.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Collapse Into Silence: Denys the Areopagite as the Key Source of Richard of St. Victor
    Attanasio, Clelia
    This thesis deals with the process of transmission of Pseudo-Dionysius’ texts over the centuries. Dionysius’ texts have been translated into Latin by many scholars- above all, John Eriugena, whose translation was used during the Middle Ages. The school of St. Victor, during the eleventh and twelfth century in France, was strongly fascinated by Eriugena’s translation, as it can be seen from the commentary written by Hugh of St. Victor (c.1096–1141). Richard of St. Victor (c. 1110 – 1173), Hugh’s pupil, also read Denys’ texts and was able to build a system of contemplation based on Pseudo-Dionysius’ philosophy, which can be seen in his text the Benjamin major. In order to render the path these texts took over the centuries, the dissertation describes, first, Pseudo-Dionysius’ philosophy and his Neoplatonic inheritance, especially focusing on Iamblichus’ and Proclus’ philosophy (chapter 1). Then, the study describes the historical and philosophical environment in which Richard of St. Victor developed his contemplative theory in the Benjamin major, and how he came to know Dionysius’ texts in the translation of John Eriugena (chapter 2). Hence, the thesis goes on with a detailed description of the topics and structure of both Richard and Denys’ texts, in order to underline some common themes between these two philosophers (chapter 3). At this point, the study explores and develops the discussion on the common topics identified in the previous chapters, such as angelology, the differences between theurgy and hierurgy and how this difference bears on Richard’s sacramentalism and symbology, the role of Moses as philosophical archetype, and the concept of love when reaching the apex of contemplation (chapter 4). Finally, this thesis offers some possible interpretations to better understand Dionysius’ legacy in Middle Ages, especially in Richard of St. Victor’s texts, based upon what the research has found.
  • ItemOpen Access
    'After Modernity', from Solovyov to Bulgakov
    Miller, Michael
    At the height of the Sophiology-controversy in the mid-1930s, Fr Sergii Bulgakov identified the basic aspiration of his theological programme as a ‘positive overcoming of Modernity’. In this, he was seeking to consummate the reconstruction of Christian thought and culture undertaken in the last two decades of the 19th-century, by Vladimir Solovyóv. In fact, Bulgakov had been carrying forward this project from the very start of his career as a Christian social theorist, at the turn of the century. Thus, despite his distancing from his mentor in the aftermath of 1917 and his exile first to the Crimea and then abroad, Bulgakov remains a Solovyóvian. But Bulgakov’s reception of Solovyóv also involves a revision. This does not, at first, concern the doctrine of the divine Wisdom – the point at which his ‘break’ in the 1920s becomes apparent – but rather Solovyóv’s ‘residual Hegelianism’, which continually threatens to level out the natural and the supra-natural – reason and faith, the secular and the sacred. From the start of his pupillage, Bulgakov is consistently concerned to refuse any such levelling. He thereby does nothing more than extend and complete Solovyóv’s own late ‘apocalyptic turn’, which could not come to fruition due to his premature death in 1900. Thus, if Bulgakov’s post-exilic thought is best understood as an overcoming of the deficiencies in Solovyóv’s speculative theology – the doctrine of Wisdom – this is itself only the last, decisive phase in a long revisionary process. Bulgakov’s move beyond any residual ‘immanent holism’ in his pre-Crimean period can be shown in relation to four crux-themes: first, ‘history’ and ‘science’, the focus of Bulgakov’s revision up to The Philosophy of Economy (1912); and then ‘theurgy’ and ‘theocracy’, both given extensive treatment The Unfading Light and texts from the 1920s that follow upon it.
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    Al-Rāzī's Philosophy of Mind
    Awad, Amal
    This dissertation offers a systematic study of al-Rāzī’s philosophy of mind, exploring his position on the nature of the soul as it developed throughout his intellectual life, with a special focus on al-Maṭālib. In treating the subject matter of the soul, al-Rāzī employs a dialectical methodology (thesis, antithesis and synthesis) in which he adopts a critical stance against both the theologians’ materialism and the philosophers’ (namely Avicenna’s) immaterialism, before constructing his own dualistic theory. The dissertation is therefore set out according to al-Rāzī’s own dialectical schema, whereby I first investigate al-Rāzī’s analysis and critique of the theologians’ materialism, then explore his refutation of Avicenna’s immaterialist doctrine, namely the latter’s indivisibility argument, before looking in detail at al-Rāzī’s own eclectic dualistic theory. I divide my dissertation into five chapters: the first offers a philological study of al-Rāzī’s al-Maṭālib, presenting various observations on a potential relationship between al-Maṭālib and al-Rāzī’s book published under the title Kitāb al-Nafs. The second provides a chronological exploration of al-Rāzī’s positions on the nature of the soul throughout his works; the third deals with his discussion and critique of the theologians’ materialism; the fourth discusses his critique of Avicenna’s indivisibility argument; and finally Chapter 5 dwells on al-Rāzī’s own theory of the soul (his substance dualism).
  • ItemOpen Access
    Stepping in Iration: Rastafari Ital Livity, Ecologies and Ecotheologies in Saint Lucia/Iyanola
    Powell, Joseph
    This dissertation represents an exploration of the ecologies and ecotheologies present within the philosophical outlooks of the Rastafari spiritual movement in St Lucia/Iyanola. Primarily, this research seeks to elucidate “Ital Livity”, a bricolage of Rastafari philosophical and cosmological concepts, and to place it in contemporary dialogue taking place in ecological and ecotheological scholarship. This seeks to generate both awareness of an under researched spiritual group and to further novel connections that might exist between new conversation partners. “Ital Livity” exists as an idealisation of, and a yearning towards, the greenest and most natural form of all in creation - human, non-human, earth, spirit. “Livity” itself serves as a broad categorisation for an individual’s own spiritual outlook, a “lived” spirituality in contrast to one that exists purely conceptually. “Ital” serves an Iyaric ‘I’ form of the word vital to confer a sense of the most essential and most organic form. The two together then convey a sense of the most ‘vital’ and the most organic philosophical outlook, one which valorises and divinises the natural world, humanity, non-humanity, the Almighty, feelings, sounds and vibrations, in their most natural form. This dissertation seeks to explore the development of this rubric, as well as its manifestation in the present. In doing so I attest, as others have, that the development of Rastafari philosophy is intimately connected to the history of the movement as emergent from a context defined by the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its colonial aftermath, as well as the spiritual milieu present in Jamaica in the form Jamaican folk cosmology and Christian inspired religious groups. From this, this dissertation argues that in regards to Ital Livity three core strands emerge which serve to define it in the present, a yearning for the green and organic, a sense of a common divinity and a rejection of death. These core elements are then explored and examined through ethnographic data gathered during fieldwork, crudely divided into chapters exploring the spiritual and the ethereal, the more practical, physical manifestations, and lastly the spiritual sources which inform them. The point reached through all of this allows for an ending which seeks to establish Rastafari Ital Livity as a vibrant and dynamic conversation partner for groups and thinkers operating in ecological and ecotheological spaces, suggesting ultimately that a plurality of voices is fundamentally necessary in generating both sensitivity towards divergent human communities as well as in heightening the possibility of novel ideas and approaches towards the various environmental crises faced today.
  • ItemControlled Access
    Footnotes to Coleridge: A Genealogy of Theology and Literature
    Grefenstette, John
    This dissertation examines Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s theological and literary legacy in the 20th century. My argument does not represent a direct study of Coleridge or his poetry, but rather an analysis of the ways in which Coleridge’s thought has been appropriated (and misappropriated) in recent debates over the nature of the creative imagination. My objective is to trace a genealogy of Coleridge’s influence on theories of the relationship between literary and theological forms of knowledge. To this end, my study attends to competing conceptions of imaginative literature as an irreducible mode of doing theology or apprehending theological claims. I focus on a debate that unfolds between four self-styled successors to Coleridge: T.S. Eliot, Owen Barfield, Harold Bloom, and Geoffrey Hill. I identify in this lineage of poet-theologians a tacit dispute that turns on competing interpretations of Coleridge’s theory of the imagination: particularly what it means to say the imagination is ‘incarnational’, that it can create or ‘body forth’ contingent knowledge in poetry. I situate this debate with respect to the emergence of ‘theology and literature’ as a discrete field of inquiry in the 20th century in the work of figures like Nathan Scott, Martha Nussbaum, Rowan Williams, and Michael Hurley. I ultimately argue that the subdiscipline of theology and literature is, in ways seldom acknowledged, a fundamentally Coleridgean venture; that while Coleridge is often reduced to a footnote in the field, recent practices in theology and literature are more productively understood as a series of competitive responses or footnotes to Coleridge.