AuthorsEvans, Joan D.
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AbstractThe key objective of this research is to explore Matthew Fox’s mystical immanence, as developed in his panentheistic Creation-centred theology. Focussing on the key theme in his thought, the relationship between prayer and social justice, this thesis provides what is essentially an auteur critique. That is to say, his theology is excavated by means of biographical analysis, exploring his principal formative influences. In Chapter One the thesis seeks to identify and chronicle his spiritual odyssey, from his home environment via his seminary training within the Dominican Order to his acceptance into the Episcopal priesthood in 1994. Chapter Two focuses on the main influences on Fox’s thought, particularly: Marie-Dominique Chenu, who transformed Catholic thought in the twentieth century; Jewish spirituality, as developed by Martin Buber, Abraham Heschel, and Otto Rank; and Robert Bly, the American poet, author, activist and leader of the Mythopoetic Men’s Movement. Turning specifically to the principal developments in his theology, the third chapter, analyses Fox’s mysticism. His consistent use of the term ‘Creation’ is an indication of the cosmic orientation of this thinking, while his ‘creation spirituality’ is undergirded by his embrace of Thomas Aquinas, the Rhineland mystics and his rejection of Augustine. This chapter also evaluates the diverse scholarly critiques which have attempted to classify his work as New Age, pantheist, and monist. The fourth chapter turns to his complex understanding of the historical Jesus and his quest for the ‘Cosmic Christ’ in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament and the Church Fathers. The thesis concludes with an examination of, firstly, Fox’s understanding of ‘Wisdom’, focussing on the ‘sophiological problem’ within the Russian religious consciousness and, secondly, his interpretation of liberation theology and social justice, as developed in his theology of work, Gaia, and eco-feminism.
TypeThesis or dissertation
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