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Durham e-Theses
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The ecclesiology of stanley hauerwas: resident aliens and die concrete church

Hawksley, Theodora Lucy (2007) The ecclesiology of stanley hauerwas: resident aliens and die concrete church. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This thesis focuses on Stanley Hauerwas' thought about the church insofar as it represents a concrete ecclesiological approach. I argue first that concrete ecclesiology, while often appearing in the work of its proponents as methodological presuppositions rather than an explicit doctrine of church, is sufficiently distinctive that Hauerwas' ecclesiology can be placed within it. Through exploring Hauerwas' theology in Chapter 1, I suggest that his ecclesiology shares key influences with concrete approaches through Barth, Frei, Wittgenstein and Yale postliberalism. Hauerwas also shares concrete ecclesiology's concerns in terms of its interest in the concrete church as a valuable subject for theological reflection, attention to distinctive Christian practices, theologically therapeutic and pastoral-minded approaches to reflecting on the life of the church, and concern for how the church interacts with the world. In Chapter 2, I evaluate Hauerwas' work by seeing how his ecclesiology deals with the realities of sin, division and confusion within the church. I argue that Hauerwas' rhetoric idealises the practices of the church, so there are limitations to the concreteness of his ecclesiology. Combined with Hauerwas' problematic and overstated use of narrative, this idealisation results in insufficient focus on the provisional and fallible nature of the church's practices, and a deleteriously pugilistic attitude towards the world. In Chapter 3, I explore how Barth balances his ecclesiology by holding its theologically centrifugal elements in tension with the various creedal contexts in which it is set forth. This not only mitigates Hauerwas' criticisms of Earth's ecclesiology, but also proffers ways in which a robust doctrinal setting would maintain the prophetic force of Hauerwas' challenges to the church without allowing Christian practice to bear the weight of realising God's kingdom. I then argue that Christ's resurrection is a helpful doctrinal setting for a methodologically and pastorally wise concrete ecclesiology.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:29

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