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Durham e-Theses
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Theology and Prayer: Ignatian Discernment as Theological Methodology

EABORN, GARY (2022) Theology and Prayer: Ignatian Discernment as Theological Methodology. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



If we conceive of theology as prayerful thought, then the relationship of the prayerful element and the thoughtful element is not straightforward: this thesis argues that the difficulties become apparent when we examine the specifics of a particular prayer practice and ask how it can be brought into the work of a theologian. The prayer practice explored in this thesis is Ignatian discernment. It is argued that this practice is not confined to individual vocational choices but is an ongoing practice that can guide the work of a theologian. This thesis further argues that Ignatian discernment: is already a place where prayer and rigorous thought co-exist; is a specific form of prayer which is, notwithstanding this specificity, epistemologically and even methodologically plural; promotes an active receptivity to all experience; and is a way of interpreting that experience that approaches it with a degree of caution and epistemic humility. This thesis argues that the ongoing practice of discernment should retain a Christological focus that can discipline Christian theology to keep to its proper task of following Christ to God’s greater glory.

This thesis also argues that the critical thrust of Heidegger’s later thought is directed against our pervasive misrelation to everything as meaningless resource. This misrelation is itself grounded in the Nietzschean ontotheology which holds sway in present times. The response to it, found in the constructive movement of Heidegger’s later thought, requires a way of thinking akin to a spiritual discipline, rather than a metaphysics which proposes a particular relationship between God and being. It is argued that Ignatian discernment can resist this misrelation as a spiritual discipline which is, in a number of important respects, analogous to ways of thinking contemplated by Heidegger’s response.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2022
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:20 Apr 2022 13:58

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