The role of secular discourse in theological anthropology and the doctrine of sin : a comparative study of Alistair McFadyen and Karl Barth
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Contemporary theology increasingly is concerned with 'inter-disciplinary dialogue'. There has, however, been little work done on the under-girding structures of such a dialogue. The central concern of this thesis is to explore the methodological foundations for the relation between 'theology' and 'secular discourse'. Although there are many possibilities for testing the relation between theology and secular discourse, theological anthropology and the doctrine of sin are used as the primary testing grounds because they are central to the concerns of much contemporary systematic theology as well as being areas to which the secular world has much to contribute. Alistair McFadyen's and Karl Barth's work in these areas is adopted as the particular focus of the thesis. Together their work offers a rich environment for analysing the methodological issues at stake in the relationship between theology and secular discourse. The primary aim of the thesis is to offer an approach to interdisciplinary dialogue which maintains 'the priority of God' in theological method whilst recognising that engagement with secular discourse enables theology 'to do its job better'. Drawing from McFadyen's and Barth's work in theological anthropology and the doctrine of sin, some methodological foundations for structuring the relation between theology and secular discourse are laid out and stated in a more widely applicable form.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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