The dramatising of theology : humanity’s participation in God’s drama with particular reference to the theologies of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Karl Barth
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The aim of this project is to investigate the proper response of theology to the Christian God who, as revealed through revelation, is Being-in-act. This project takes seriously the idea posited by Shakespeare, that totus mundus agit histrionem, and upon this stage ‘all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.’ If, then, God’s Being is in act, and as so many have deduced, life and death are enveloped within the drama of everyday, then, might it be possible that our theological endeavours would prosper through a dramatic rendering? In light of this, the project seeks to illumine that it is beneficial for both the Church and society, to realise how drama can be, and is, fruitful for our theological endeavours. God is Being-in-act, and through His revelation, He invites humanity to enter into and participate in His action. In light of the aforementioned, then, theology must contend with the implications for its practices, which, as is being argued, are benefited most through a full embrace of the dramatising of theology. The thesis is situated in the recent movement of our theological endeavours that recognise the profundity of the dramatic and its ability to illuminate God’s action and call to action from theology, the Church and society. Moving forward from the seminal work of Hans Urs von Balthasar, and set forth in the context of the theologies of Balthasar and Karl Barth, this project argues that it is through the dramatising of theology that theology is best equipped to illumine God’s desire for humanity’s participation in His Theo-drama. The dramatising of theology is a natural response to God’s Being-in-act; it is the natural movement of theology’s response to God’s action which calls for an active response on our part. Current examples of today’s theological movement towards the dramatic can be seen in such authors as Max Harris, Trevor Hart, Stanley Hauerwas, Michael Horton, Todd Johnson and Dale Savidge, Ben Quash, Kevin Vanhoozer, Samuel Wells and N.T. Wright. This project hopes to contribute to the movement towards the dramatising of theology.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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