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Belonging in the Dark: Towards a constructive theology of belonging christianly

PARDOEN, GAEL,JACQUES,FRANCIS,DESI (2024) Belonging in the Dark: Towards a constructive theology of belonging christianly. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis seeks to provide some critical tools and signposts for reflecting constructively and christianly on the concept of belonging. Thus, it is an experiment in magpie theology, seeking to reconfigure creatively a variety of primarily contemporary theological voices, Catholic and otherwise, around the theme of belonging, and a new concept—belonging christianly.

More specifically, this thesis endeavours to explore how the Christian story can nurture and affect our ways of understanding and reimagining belonging in a radical and subversive way that does justice to the longing for belonging, whilst also considering contemporary challenges such as the greater awareness of the defectiveness of traditional forms of belonging to which Christianity is not immune.

In Part 1, it seeks to identify a grammar of theocentric belonging, that is a grammar of belonging to God, in God, and under God. This will provide the foundations for how our God-talk can inform the way we think about belonging christianly. To do so, it resorts to three key Christian doctrines—The Trinity, creation, and the Incarnation. Part 2 seeks to hold in tension, interrogate, and (re)construct the relationship between the fundamental (and eschatological) reality or mode of theocentric belonging painted in Part 1, and the finite, transitional, performative, fragmented, and often distorted ways in which humans do effectively belong in a finite and fallen world. Here emerge the ideas of postlapsarian belonging, and of belonging christianly as the long journey of discovery from postlapsarian belonging into theocentric belonging. Key doctrines for this second part will include those of original sin and atonement. Part 3 will attempt to reflect further on what belonging christianly might look like through the themes of imitation of and identification with Christ. Here will emerge the ideas of apophatic identification, and that of belonging as fraternal, non-sacrificial, and eucharistic. Key doctrines include the Cross, kenosis, Resurrection, and the Eucharist. The thesis concludes by identifying possible directions of development for the concept of belonging christianly in areas such as ecclesiology, sacramentology, digital theology, eco-theology, queer theology, pneumatology, and practical theology.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:belonging - incarnation - apophaticism - salvation - sin - grace
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2024
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:15 Apr 2024 11:38

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