Theatrical living : responsive lives which manifest God's loving presence and ways
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God is revealed through Scripture and the Incarnation as desiring to establish loving relationships with others beyond the Trinity. In the beginning he did so by creating human beings, and making himself, his desires, and his ways known to them. He chose to do so through particular actions and encounters in history which involved various forms of embodied manifestation, and led up to the supreme manifestation: the enfleshing of Jesus. Following on from the acts of Jesus which perfectly manifested God and his ways to the world in the flesh, human creatures created in the image of God and united to Christ are also called and gifted by God to manifest God’s presence, activity, and ways in this world by using their bodies to live faithfully and responsively to the leading of the Spirit. In order to investigate and demonstrate these claims, Part I of the thesis examines a selection of precedent-setting events chronicled in the Old Testament in which God manifested his presence and ways to people in a variety of circumstances. Part II is concerned with a theological examination of God’s manifestations and the roles people can and should play in these manifestations. It begins by engaging with reflections on the subject from the early church fathers Irenaeus, Athanasius, and Augustine; and, in keeping with the Reformed approach taken in the thesis generally, this is followed by in-depth treatments of Reformer John Calvin and Reformed theologian Karl Barth on the revelation, manifestation, and proclamation of God by people in this world. Having substantiated the claim that how people live is significant and of concern to God as it can impinge upon his ongoing desire to make himself and his ways known, Part III is designed to provide a fuller understanding of some of the meaning and significance conveyed by bodily expressions in human interactions with an eye towards seeking ways to live more faithfully to God. It identifies the theatre, particularly improvisational theatre, as a laboratory for understanding human living, and so explores the insights of theatre practitioners into everyday living; while also considering the work of philosophers of language and sociologists who do the same. Through this spotlight on the theatricality of life the case is made for attempting to live responsively, in keeping with improvisational actors, in ways that are faithful to God and which can serve to aid those united to Christ as they seek to make God known to others.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Internationalhttp://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Embargo Date: 2021-03-15
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Electronic copy restricted until 15th March 2021
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