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Between Church and World: Anglican formation of Christian political identity

LEIGH, JENNIFER (2019) Between Church and World: Anglican formation of Christian political identity. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 02 November 2024.


This dissertation is centred on the question of how Christian ethical and political formation takes place, with a particular focus on how this happens in the context of the Church of England. My central concern is with how one is formed by belonging to, and participating in, the polity of the church and the wider civic community.

I put forward the thesis that Christian formation inside and outside the church – their ecclesial and civic formation - cannot be disentangled from one another, and, moreover, that this is how ethical and political formation should happen. This argument stands in contrast to some of the most visible theological work in this area, which focuses on formation that takes place in the church – with this formation flowing out into ethical action in the world. Acknowledgement of the malformation that can take place through the practices of the church tends to come in as an afterthought. In contrast, I pursue an account of formation that places the recognition of sin centre stage. This leads me to offer an account of the church as not only ethically formative, but also in constant need of being formed itself.

My account of formation also underlines the possibility of being formed as a Christian outside of the church. This understanding of how Christian formation takes place inside and outside the church stems from a recognition of the ways of the Spirit, bubbling up in each of our lives in unexpected ways – in both the church and civic life – to lead us deeper into God’s abundance.

This is a project broadly within Anglican social and political theology, so my primary conversation partners are Anglican theologians: Rowan Williams, Dan Hardy, and Ben Quash.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Formation; discipleship; political theology; ethics; ecclesiology; Anglicanism.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:02 Nov 2021 10:41

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