• Law and Order in Medieval Chester 1066-1506: Evidence from Domesday Book, Chester City Courts and medieval texts

      Doran, John; Gaunt, Peter; Wilson, Katherine; Greatorex Roskilly, Vanessa J. (University of Chester, 2018-09-19)
      Medieval Chester has been stigmatised by post-medieval writers and academics as a militarised ‘Wild West’ town full of ruffians and criminals. This thesis investigates whether that reputation is justified. Three categories of evidence are systematically evaluated: the Domesday laws, the records of proceedings from Chester’s four medieval city courts – the Crownmote, the Portmote, the Pentice Court and the Passage Court – and references to Chester in medieval texts. Findings from the city’s Mayors’ and Sheriffs’ Books, the Cheshire Outlawry Rolls, Trailbaston proceedings and the Bishops’ Registers are also assessed. It is clear from these sources that, while the centuries wrought some changes and assault was not uncommon, throughout the Middle Ages the proportion of violent offences perpetrated by citizens of Chester was comprehensively dwarfed by the trading offences, property transactions and debts which formed the bulk of cases handled by the City Courts. The examination of medieval chronicles and other literary sources confirms that contemporary commentators did not view Chester as particularly lawless. Comparisons with the national state of law and order in medieval England strengthen the contention that Chester was no more criminal or militarised than any other medieval city.
    • The Governance of Shropshire During the Civil War and Interregnum 1642-1660

      Jones, Isabel (University of Chester, 2017-05)
      Often considered as an insignificant, sleepy, rural backwater, the county of Shropshire has attracted little academic interest, particularly concerning the period covering the civil war and Interregnum. Recent studies on the county have concentrated solely on the military aspect of the conflict and have not ventured into the Commonwealth and Protectorate years, nor looked at the administration and the internal politics of the shire. Yet in the first months of the war, the county was seen by Charles I as being vital to his success given its location on the Welsh border and with good transport links to the neighbouring Marcher counties. Shrewsbury was the main rallying point for the crown, and many of the local gentry flocked to the town with donations for the royal coffers. From then, up until 1645, most the county was held for the crown, until the fall of Shrewsbury in 1645 signalled an end to royalist dominance. This thesis is not an analysis of the causes of, or the actual events of, the war, as those matters are peripheral to this examination, being mentioned only briefly during the examination. It is, however, a full analysis of both county society and government, and will consider local issues, some of which had a wide-ranging effect, finances, justice and religion. But, most importantly, it will examine the personnel involved in both local and central government, how they changed over the period according to their allegiance and who was in power, and whether in the aftermath of war former royalists were welcomed back into the Commission of the Peace and other local committees to resume what they saw as being their rightful place in society. The academic study of the county is not a unique concept, having been promoted by Professor Alan Everitt in the 1960s in his study of Kent. In that research, Everitt proposed the concept of the county community, whereby the insular gentry were more interested in local affairs than national issues, and very much resented any interference from central government into what they considered was their domain. This thesis is not an attempt to try and slot Shropshire into that category, for Everitt’s argument has long been considered void. However, the basic framework of research into the county community that many academics have used in the past will be utilised to a certain extent, and the findings compared as much as possible with other neighbouring counties to try and ascertain whether there were any peculiarities within this Marcher society.
    • Imprisoned Grief: A Theological, Spiritual and Practical Response

      Graham, Elaine L; Mowat, Harriet; Baker, Christopher; Llewellyn, Dawn; Lane, Rosalind A. (University of Chester, 2015-06)
      This thesis identifies ‘imprisoned grief’ as a new phenomenon. The Living with Loss project was a theological, spiritual and practical response to it co-constructed by the research participants and myself as the practitioner-researcher. The project ran from 2008-2011 at both HMP Kirkham and HMP Whitemoor. My initial findings highlighted the fact that ‘disenfranchised grief’ (Doka 1989) and ‘self-disenfranchised grief’ (Doka 2002) were inadequate descriptions of what I uncovered in my research. Doka himself (2002, p18) called for further research to be carried out in particular circumstances including prison, encouraging my own confidence in the importance of such research. ‘Disenfranchised grief’ is a condition which people feel when unable to access support from family, friends, religious and professional organisations in living with issues of grief and loss. It is exhibited by prisoners where the acute loss of family, relationships, home, employment, finance, education and ability to parent come together. Issues of loss and bereavement accumulate when a parent or other family members becomes terminally ill or dies during their imprisonment. ‘Self-disenfranchised grief’ is a self- initiated form of disenfranchised grief where the self will not allow grieving to take place. I consider that neither description fully explains the condition I encountered, which I have called ‘imprisoned grief.’ Imprisoned grief is distinctive because it manifests itself due to the loss of freedom brought about by imprisonment; during anticipatory grieving whilst in prison; following bereavement in prison and loss acts as a factor in criminal behaviour which include loss due to homicide. My research offers spiritual, theological and practically distinctive coping strategies and insights into how imprisoned grief can be ‘unlocked’ and prisoners can feel liberated from it. Enfranchisement was established between family members by sharing feelings and emotions in group work and through the composition of and facilitation of faith rituals. I argue that it was their beliefs and spirituality which sustained, combated and freed them from ‘imprisoned grief’.
    • Missional pastoral care: innovation in charismatic evangelical urban practice

      Llewellyn, Dawn; Graham, Elaine L.; Ruddick, Anna E. (University of Chester, 2016-06)
      A new model of mission is emerging among participants in the urban ministry of the Eden Network which reimagines evangelical identity and missiology. The Eden Network is a charismatic evangelical organisation which has engaged in incarnational urban ministry for the last nineteen years. In the course of my roles as a staff member and as a local participant observer, I identified tensions arising for Eden team members between their inherited evangelical theology and their experiences of mission in urban communities. This research aims to explore this dissonance, identifying the subcultural narratives of evangelicalism and the ways in which these narratives are complicated by lived experience.
    • Experts by Experience: ‘Madness’ Narratives, Language, and Politics

      Hutchinson, Alexandra (University of Chester, 2016-07)
      This thesis demonstrates that the historic silencing of those labelled ‘mad’ is – paradoxically – inextricable from language. Stigma is a semantic issue. The focus of my first chapter is to establish how and when the language available to discuss ‘madness’ became so problematic. Chapter one establishes a dual language problem: first, the language which surrounds ‘madness’ is limited and limiting; second, this language imposes social ‘otherness’, often permanently. I approach the politics of the language of ‘madness’ using Saussure’s hypothesis of signification, Lacan’s theory of the nom du père, and narrative theory, in order to investigate who is to blame when language and narratives fail. In chapter two, I examine the reality of these semantic and narrative politics. This chapter covers a variety of ‘madness’ narratives salvaged from psychiatric textbooks, for example those of influential psychiatrists Emil Kraepelin, Eugen Bleuler and Sigmund Freud. Such texts have been essential to the development of psychiatry, but how have these discourses about ‘madness’ functioned to establish stigma? I retrieve personal accounts from these hegemonic publications, establishing how the presence of paratexts and psychiatric ‘authority’ manipulate the receipt of such narratives. This will demonstrate how the historic silencing of ‘madness’ began. Chapter three focuses on how a cross section of nineteenth-century fiction portrays ‘madness’, in order to explore the potential for fiction to offer ‘madness’ an accessible narrative platform. Initially, I examine literature as a continuation of psychiatric discourse, including Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’; Alfred Lord Tennyson’s ‘Maud’; Bram Stoker’s Dracula; and Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret. As a point of comparison, I examine literary representations which go beyond psychiatric discourse to articulate ‘madness’, exploring Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper; Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether’; and texts which explore other selves and other worlds (Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘William Wilson’; and Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass). Chapter four examines the merits of visual art as a platform for ‘madness’ narratives, as it is divorced from many of the issues which are latent in language use. I explore the oeuvres of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century artists Richard Dadd, Vincent Van Gogh, Louis Wain, Adolf Wölfli, August Klett, and Hyacinth Freiherr von Wieser. Despite the theoretical assumption that visual art is universal and accessible, the social reception of art, necessary for this communication to be heard and validated, proves that the practice is far removed from this hypothesis. The stereotype of the ‘mad’ artist is, in itself, an oxymoron: in the realm of social engagement, either the artistic identity of the individual is compromised and eventually disparaged, or ‘madness’ is obscured and censored. Chapter five shows how the nineteenth-century model for (mis)understanding ‘madness’ is the foundation for our twenty-first-century discourse. This chapter examines narratives of ‘madness’ in popular culture, to understand how these discourses echo or challenge psychiatric representations of ‘madness’, and how a mainstream social audience is encouraged to feel about such depictions, including episodes The Simpsons, House and Peep Show, to explore how psychiatric discourse has shaped these narratives. This chapter also scrutinises the language employed by the media and other mainstream agencies in order to establish what these popular discourses reveal about entrenched societal prejudices and fear. This thesis addresses the question: can we truly ever speak of ‘madness’ without simultaneously silencing it?
    • "I should like to learn to have faith," (Bonhoeffer) moving towards a theology of learning

      Robinson, Linda A. (University of Chester, 2014-09)
      This thesis arises from the researcher's experience as a facilitator of adult learning and Professional Doctorate student in practical theology. Its purpose is to contribute to a theology of adult learning.
    • Troubling Women Troubling Genre: Shakespeare's Unruly Characters

      MacKenzie, Anna (University of Chester, 2015-07)
      This thesis brings the performativity of William Shakespeare’s plays into focus; in presenting an alternative approach to his works, I show how literary criticism can be reinvigorated. Dramatic works demonstrate that, in their theatrical world, everything is mutable, and capable of evolving and changing, negating stability or reliability. Why, then, should what I term monogeneric approaches (forms of analysis that allocate one genre to plays, adopting a priori ideas as opposed to recognising processes of dramatic construction) to criticism remain prevalent in Shakespearean scholarship? Performativity, as defined by Judith Butler, is a concept that focuses on the dynamic constitution of a subject, rather than on the end result alone (whether ‘female’ for gender, or, for example, ‘comedy’ for plays). In establishing an analogical relationship between the performativity of gender and the performance of dramatic works, I offer new, interpretive possibilities for dramatic works, moving away from monogeneric methods. Constructing a method of analysis based on performativity allows an approach that recognises and privileges dramatic dynamism and characterisation. The role of female characters is vital in Shakespeare’s works: we see defiant, submissive, calculating, principled and overwhelmingly multifaceted performances from these characters who, I argue, influence the courses that plays take. This thesis joins a conversation that began in 335BCE with Aristotle’s Poetics. In acknowledging and interrogating previous scholarship on genre in Shakespeare’s works, I trace monogeneric themes in analysis from Aristotle, through A.C. Bradley, through to later twentieth- and twenty-first-century critics. I challenge the practice of allocating genre based on plot features, including weddings and deaths; such actions are not conclusively representative of one genre alone. To enable this interrogation, I establish relationships between theories such as Nicolas Bourriaud’s work on artistic exchange; Jacques Derrida’s hypothesis on participation and belonging; and feminist research by scholars including Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva. Performance analysis is a vital component of this thesis, alongside textual analysis. In a number of cases, multiple performances of a dramatic work are considered to illustrate the fascinating variety with which the text is translated from page to stage and the impact of different directorial decisions. I use the term ‘textual analysis’ to include the varying editions of Shakespeare’s plays, and to consider that every Complete Works publication is not, in fact, complete. The existence of quarto texts makes clear an important process of dramatic evolution, particularly when dramatic works and their allocated genres shift between quarto and Folio versions. Such textual instability highlights the difficulties inherent in applying singular identities to dynamic works. In locating performativity at the core of dramatic works and emphasising the key role of female characters, this thesis brings performance to the fore and presents an alternative ‘lens of interpretation’ for readers, watchers, teachers and scholars of Shakespeare.
    • The Royalist and Parliamentarian War Effort in Shropshire During the First and Second English Civil Wars, 1642-1648

      Worton, Jonathan (University of Chester, 2015-06)
      Addressing the military organisation of both Royalists and Parliamentarians, the subject of this thesis is an examination of war effort during the mid-seventeenth century English Civil Wars by taking the example of Shropshire. The county was contested during the First Civil War of 1642-6 and also saw armed conflict on a smaller scale during the Second Civil War of 1648. This detailed study provides a comprehensive bipartisan analysis of military endeavour, in terms of organisation and of the engagements fought. Drawing on numerous primary sources, it explores: leadership and administration; recruitment and the armed forces; military finance; supply and logistics; and the nature and conduct of the fighting. The extent of military activity in Shropshire is explained for the first time, informing the history of the conflict there while reflecting on the nature of warfare across Civil War England. It shows how local Royalist and Parliamentarian activists and 'outsider' leaders provided direction, while the populace widely was involved in the administrative and material tasks of war effort. The war in Shropshire was mainly fought between the opposing county-based forces, but with considerable external military support. Similarly, fiscal and military assets were obtained locally and from much further afield. Attritional war in Shropshire from 1643 to 1646 involved the occupying Royalists engaging Parliamentarian inroads, in fighting the garrison warfare characteristic of the period. Although the outcome of both wars in Shropshire was determined by wider national events, in 1646 and again in 1648 the defeat of the county Royalists was due largely to their local Parliamentarian adversaries. Broadening this study to 1648 has provided insight into Parliamentarian county administration during the short interwar period.
    • Reading the Bible Outside the Church: A Case Study

      Ford, David G. (University of Chester, 2015-10)
      Biblical studies and theology have been impacted by the “turn to the reader” in literary theory, and scholars are now more aware of the significance of the reader in the activity of Bible reading (Davies, 2013). However, most of the research exploring Bible readers has concentrated on active members of faith communities (Village, 2007; Rogers, 2009; Strhan, 2013) and University staff (Clines, 1995; Hull, 2001; Pyper, 2006). In Britain, those outside of the church and the academy are missing from this research, that is, the majority of the population. This thesis considers how people who are not regular Bible readers might read five biblical texts. In particular I focus on men, as the cohort of British society least likely to read the Bible (Field, 2014). Ten months of fieldwork was undertaken at a Chemical Industrial Plant in North West England, where 20 men read through five biblical texts. Using annotation, questionnaires and interviews I examined how the texts were read. The data which emerged shows that the men’s relationships with the five biblical texts shaped their readings of those texts. By “relationship” I am principally referring to the associations evoked in a reader as they come to a text. I argue for this relational reading practice in three ways. First, using Louise Rosenblatt’s transactional theory of reading (1995 [1938]; 1994 [1978]; 2005) I suggest that these readers and texts are not unconnected entities but exist within the same dynamic system. A reader brings all that they are to a text, and the aspects of each reader considered most salient to the anticipated reading assume an influential role in the reading transaction. Second, under the headings: “experience,” “identity,” “attitude’” and “belief,” I provide examples from my case study to illustrate this practice. These explore the various ways in which the men shaped their readings, indeed typically dominated them, as reading the texts reaffirmed their relationship with them. Third, however I also note a few occasions when the texts stimulated the reader into an atypical reading. This challenged the readers’ prior relationship with the texts and further demonstrates the relational nature of these readings, one involving both parties.
    • The new East Window of St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, London: a window of opportunity for developing ordinary theology through a visual image

      Betts, Edmund J. (University of Chester, 2014-12-15)
      Ordinary theology is a developing concept focusing on people’s explicit religious beliefs, and relying on anecdotal evidence and other academic writers to bridge the gap with academy theology. It has influenced empirical studies of ordinary people’s experience with the Bible, doctrine and cathedral visiting. A feminist qualitative ethnographic study and action research provide other voices as alternatives to this empiricism. Theologians-in-the-arts have appropriated art to illustrate their academic theology. This thesis takes further the use of a visual image, with a recently commissioned non-figurative designed window, by a female Iranian-born artist, in an well-known London church. It enquires how far a non-specific doctrinal and non-narrative window encourages wider public participation in meaning making and metaphor generation, challenging the current static concept of ordinary theology. An interpretative paradigm with perspectives from constructivism, phenomenology, and hermeneutics shapes an inductive and qualitative approach to give attention to regular worshippers and visitors. A visual ethnographic method elicits data through semi-structured questionnaires, interviews, and journal writing. Adopting a ‘lay’ outsider participant role during the fieldwork, unstructured situational interviews with passers-by, street traders and church staff were also undertaken. Interpretive lenses of framing, the pastoral cycle, ethnomethodology, and nitty-gritty hermeneutics assisted in analysing the data. The window attracted a high degree of participation, engaging people in reflection. Over 85% of participants were professional/university and technically educated and competent in academic disciplines other than theology. The respondents initially made non-religious statements challenging ordinary theology, which focussed on explicit religion. When respondents viewed it a second time, they used religious concepts. The analysis led to the construction of ordinary portraits constructed of previously not heard voices and challenged the earlier faces of academic partners. The window is a dialogically framed ‘lived experience’ breaking the ‘is’ of metaphor and the gestalt law of closure. This research explores the ‘is not’ of metaphor. It explores the relationship of image, metaphor and concept by focussing on window parts; the images of centre, line and web. The window becomes both a working metaphor and a model of working metaphors extensively used by these participants. Ordinary theology discovers through feminist metaphorical theology that concepts are metaphorical, focusing on both dissimilarities and similarities. The window as a visual image provides an opportunity to extend the concept and metaphor of ordinary theology. It invites academic professionals to an intensive fieldwork experience using a visual image to rediscover a general process of reflection and to reveal people’s indirect and implicit metaphorical ordinary theology.
    • Perichoresis, Pot Plants, Prayer Cards and Poiesis: A renewed pastoral paradigm emerging out of care of those with a dual diagnosis and conversations with midwives and obstetricians

      Prince, Alastair (University of Chester, 2015-01)
      This research arose from my experiences as a curate in England’s Northwest seeking to embody God’s love in the pastoral care of men with addiction and mental health issues (dual diagnosis), reflecting a wider societal issue around the care of people with that combination of problems, and the under-recognised role of clergy as unofficial ‘front-line mental health workers’. This is a role that clergy get little training to discharge effectively, and so the research methodology employed was that of a Constructivist Grounded Theory as I’ve attempted to use insights from a variety of disciplines to act as a ‘scaffold’ in order to work out what clergy could meaningfully and consistently offer. Treatment for those with a dual diagnosis is difficult and often unsuccessful because it requires a collaborative relationship between patient and carer where often there may be a lack of acceptance that the issues exist. Insights were sought then from a related, but different field, namely midwifery and obstetrics, engaging with intrauterine death – where the mother may not have completely accepted the realities that they face. Interviews were conducted with clergy in the field, midwives and obstetricians. Accounts of the experiences of dual diagnosed individuals were sought through existing evidence in the public sphere to minimise the risk of harm for research subjects. Analysis of the research data revealed that pastoral care in those situations of complex bereavement are about embracing the tension between absence and presence, and helping people through that liminality, to reappropriate their grief and expectations of what life ‘should be’ to ‘how life is’ and ‘how life might be in the future’. The significance of the role of objects is explored with particular emphasis on ‘memory boxes’, and their nearest equivalents in the field of dual diagnosis. These insights are connected to the academic study of the Doctrine of the Trinity, particularly focussing on the work of Sarah Coakley, with a thorough exploration of the metaphor of dance that has evolved around the concept of ‘perichoresis’ with connections made between doctrine and modern insights from dance studies. The result is a renewed pastoral paradigm that is collaborative, dynamic, liminal, and with an acceptance that care is not simply about ‘being present’, but about resourcing people for ‘absence’ as well through a poiesis that emphasises the freedom of the cared for, whilst encouraging and seeking what will motivate them to enter into the liminal space, a movement through which will enable their greater flourishing. This paradigm has implications beyond those with a dual diagnosis, and can be extended into pastoral care in its widest sense.
    • Mission in a Welsh Context: Patterns of Nonconformist Mission in Wales and the Challenge of Contextualisation in the Twenty First Century

      Ollerton, David R. J. (University of Chester, 2015-07)
      This thesis considers aspects of contextualisation in the mission of local churches in twenty-first century Wales. Welsh Nonconformity rose rapidly to a dominant position in Welsh society and culture in the nineteenth century, but has subsequently declined equally rapidly. By the beginning of the twenty-first century its total demise is predicted. The research examines the contextual factors in this decline, and their relevance for possible recovery. Contextualisation is an essential part of missiology, in calibrating appropriate mission to the distinctives of a particular nation or locality. Wales is shown to be a distinctive context for mission, both nationally and regionally, in relation to specific aspects: religious, geographic, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, social and political. Contextual studies have been done for other mission contexts, but not for Wales. This research seeks to address this lack. The thesis first outlines the development of the main approaches in global mission, their underlying assumptions, and their outworking in the mission of local churches in the West. The approaches have been identified as Evangelistic, Lausanne, Missio Dei, Liberal and Emergent. Drawing on hundreds of questionnaire responses and extensive interviews with Nonconformist leaders, the research examines how the different approaches to mission have been expressed in Wales, and how each approach adjusted to each aspect of context. The growth trends of the different approaches, patterns of church and mission, and adjustments to Welsh contexts in the first decade of the twenty-first century, or not, are then examined. The resulting analysis enables good practice to be identified, and approaches for effective mission suggested for the coming decades.
    • Deconstructing Materiality: A Phenomenological Ethnography of Darśan and Indian Story-Telling Scrolls in Western Museums

      Gamberi, Valentina (University of Chester, 2015-11)
      This study investigates Western curatorial practices towards the darśan, the visual contact established between the Hindu worshipper and the deity who is believed to give life to its material representation, expressed by two sets of Indian storytelling scrolls, the Bengali pats and the Rajasthani paṛs. Whilst the scrolls, especially the Rajasthani ones, are believed to be the temples and the icons of the deity depicted, Western curators appreciate them either as examples of ethnographic theories, or as pure art works. On the one hand, materiality is thus animistically empowered (see Faure, 1998), and, consequently, is treated as an anthropomorphic entity or fetish. On the other hand, materiality is considered as a reified idea, an objectification of a social structure, or of an ideal of beauty. Latour (2010) calls this phenomenon of reification a factish concept, which is revered in a semi-spiritual or post-secular way. Modernity, according to Latour, is characterised by this opposition between self-evident, abstract and intellectual notions –e.g. the categories of the sacred and of the profane –and the concrete and irrational reality. The differentiation between reality and ideas recalls the broader boundary between the human and the nonhuman. According to Merleau-Ponty (2003 [c. 1956]), materiality coincides with nature, one of the fundamental criteria of the categorisation of human/nonhuman. While human characteristics are highly rational, materiality, along with animality, is confined within the irrational realm and is considered as a passive actor, except for Gell’s (1998) theorisation of material agency. However, his conceptualisation depends upon an anthropomorphisation of the artefact by invoking the particular example of children’s play with toys. The present thesis explores the contribution of phenomenology, as the study of embodiments and incarnations, in problematising the role of materiality in its relationships with humans, and so the boundaries between the human and the nonhuman. On the one hand, the study employs phenomenology as a methodological tool, according to which the researcher’s body reveals a particular and intersubjective appraisal of materiality. On the other hand, phenomenology, corroborated by posthumanist studies, is the theoretical approach by which the duality object/subject is problematised. By this logic, phenomenology challenges the ontological idea of the I or human as separated from the Other or the nonhuman, by replacing it with a hybridism and a fusion between the perceiving and the perceived. Fieldwork data problematises this anthropomorphisation of materiality. In fact, visitors’ responses escape from the curators’ control and reveal how museum artefacts possess an agency independent from any human projection. In addition, data emphasises the irreconciliability between epistemic categories and the empiric reality. For instance, the Durkheimian notions of the sacred and of the profane become inapt to describe the phenomenon of the recreation of religious contexts and places, such as temples and altars.
    • Action Research as a Way of Doing Theology (ART): Transforming My Practice of Preaching the Bible with My Congregation

      Boyd, Jason C. (University of Chester, 2015-03-30)
      This thesis explores action research as a way of doing theology (ART). The contours of ART emerged through a collaborative inquiry into my practice of preaching the Bible within the context of congregational worship. It began with a niggling question, “What was happening in the communication space between me and my congregation?” An action research pilot project (March-April 2006) with Cumnock Congregational Church (Minister, 1998 - 2008) prepared the ground for a collaborative inquiry with Witney Congregational Church (Minister, 2009 - present). With the latter congregation we developed Word Café, an adaption of Brown and Isaacs World Café (2005), as a method of creating communicative space (Wicks & Reason, 2009) in which we explored our experience of what happened when I preached a sermon and examined what, if any changes, occurred during the period of November 2010 to July 2011. This is ideographic research and as such engages in first and second person inquiry, weaving together the voices and insights of participants. In the first person I integrate my spiritual formation and academic development with my vocation as a preacher. In the second person I give an account of the way in which I entered into a collaborative relationship with my congregation to research my preaching practice and their experience of it. I have constructed a narrative of a self-reflexive, critical examination of a single case (Gustavsen, 2003; Reason, 2003) of iterative cycles which encompass the process of co-planning and of the Word Café. My intention is to make a wider contribution to the practice of preaching by modelling ART as a dialogical, relational way of being, and to inspire other preachers and congregations to develop their own ways of reflecting on their practices and experiences of preaching the Bible in their own contexts. Arising out of my inquiry into my preaching practice is the concept of ART which has the potential to create and nurture dialogical space in the exploration and transformation of various aspects of congregational life. This is a contextual, emergent, and interdisciplinary account shaped by narratives of learning. The actions we took in attempting to create communicative space yielded the themes of a fresh hearing of the Bible, listening with my eyes, and exploring my own insider-outsider positionality, in particular through narratives of wisdom and power, silence, and affections. Central to the practice of ART is the growth of the qualities necessary for being authentic as a practitioner-researcher. I set out to demonstrate the way in which the development of attentional practices increased my awareness as I navigated the insider-outsider positionality of a preacher and researcher.
    • Marital Imagery in the Bible: An Exploration of the Cross-Domain Mapping of Genesis 2:24 and its Significance for the Understanding of New Testament Divorce and Remarriage Teaching

      Hamer, Colin G. (University of Chester, 2015-06)
      Genesis 2:23 speaks of a miraculous couple in a literal one-flesh union formed by God without a volitional or covenantal basis. Genesis 2:24 outlines a metaphoric restatement of that union whereby a naturally born couple, by means of a covenant, choose to become what they were not in a metaphoric one-flesh family union—such forms the aetiology of mundane marriage in both the Hebrew Bible and the NT. It is this Gen 2:24 marriage that is understood in the Hebrew Bible as the basis of the volitional, conditional, covenantal relationship of Yahweh and Israel, and in the NT of the volitional, conditional, covenantal relationship of Christ and the church—that is, Gen 2:24 is the source domain which is cross-mapped to the target domain (God ‘married’ to his people) in the marital imagery of both the Jewish and Christian Scriptures. It is an imagery that embraced the concept of divorce and remarriage. The NT affirms that the pattern for mundane marriage is to be found in Gen 2:24 (Matt 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12). But NT scholars and the church have conflated the aetiology of the Gen 2:24 marriage with that of Adam and Eve’s marriage described in Gen 2:23, and thus see that the NT teaches that mundane marriage is to be modelled on the primal couple—a model that imposes restrictions on divorce and remarriage that are not found in the Hebrew Bible. In contrast, this study suggests that the NT writers would not employ an imagery they repudiated in their own mundane marriage teaching, and that an exegesis of that teaching can be found, focusing on divorce and remarriage, which is congruent with its own imagery.
    • Cur Deus Homo? The Implications of the Doctorine of the Incarnation for a Theological Understanding of the Relationship between Humans and Non-Human Animals

      Hiuser, Kristopher J. (University of Chester, 2014-10)
      This thesis examines the doctrine of the incarnation with particular attention to the implications of this doctrine for a theological understanding of human/nonhuman relationships. To do so, it is guided by two driving questions: Why did God become human in particular in the incarnation?, and what are the implications of the humanity of Christ for the way in which Christian theology construes the human/nonhuman relationship? Each chapter is guided by these questions, and seeks to find and test the answers given by four major theologians from the Christian tradition: Anselm of Canterbury and sin, Gregory of Nyssa and the image of God, Maximus the Confessor and the human constitution as microcosm, and Karl Barth and the human calling to be a representative covenantal partner. Through the use of the guiding questions, and engagement with these four theologians and their respective answers, three theses are developed over the course of the dissertation. First, that God’s motivation for the incarnation extends beyond the human to include the nonhuman creature. Of the various reasons put forward throughout this thesis, each of them is shown to include the nonhuman animal in some way. Second, that God became human in particular due to the unique human calling to be a representative creature. In arriving at this conclusion, various viewpoints are considered and ultimately rejected as being sufficient to account for God’s will to become human in particular. Third, the unique human calling of representation is shown to carry with it ethical implications for humans with regards to nonhuman animals. Given the human calling of representing creation to God, and God to creation, there are necessary ethical implications which such a calling has for what it means to be human.
    • Towards a Narrative of Hope and Resilience: A Contemporary Paradigm for Christian Pastoral Ministry in the Face of Mortality

      Smith, Alexis (University of Chester, 2014-10)
      Analysis of current pastoral care practice, particularly of Christian pastoral care providers and chaplains, reveals a contemporary lacuna in Christian theological frameworks which contributes to North American Christians’ inability to connect a theological understanding of death with the experience of their human finitude despite the presence of considerable literature on death and dying. This gap deprives many Christians of the possibility of finding a unique and specific source of hope and strength within their own faith tradition for facing crisis. This thesis provides a methodology and theological foundation for a uniquely Christian contribution for facilitating hope, resilience--even transformation--throughout the various stages of life until the time of death. Extensive analysis of Christian views of death, as contrasted with non- Christian views, examined through early Christian writings, late Medieval and early Reformation texts, and the late twentieth century work of Moltmann contributed insights into theological frameworks to remedy the gap and also uncovered themes, metaphors, and language that could be important as Christians interpret life experience and dying. The thesis then utilized three contemporary fields of study to apply the insights into a practical ministry model: (1) research in resilience; (2) Narrative Therapy as developed by White and Epston and utilized by Christian therapists; and (3) hermeneutic theory from Capps, Browning, and Gerkin. Insights from these sources were critically evaluated for application in pastoral counselling, support, and education to help people, both in crisis and when facing death, find a substantial hope that transcends the reality of what they are experiencing. This thesis proposes a distinctively Christian response to death that enables people to retain a sense of their own worth and dignity in order to live meaningful lives until they die. Many people find 21st Century healthcare impersonal and non-empathetic; the work of this theses is intended to be important for helping people regain their sense of self and identity, thereby supporting healing and resilience. In addition, the thesis proposes pedagogic and theological reflection methods that would enhance the practice of chaplains in a rapidly changing healthcare environment that will increasingly require them to demonstrate how their practice enhances the wellbeing of those they serve and provides a contribution that is unique and has value to the healthcare system.
    • Contextualizing Church Planting among the Oromo Society: With particular Reference to the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY)

      Djaleta Djaldessa, Tesso (University of Liverpool (Chester), 2011-06)
      This thesis aims to explore and analyse the success of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) strategy for Church Planting among the Oromo community in the wider social and cultural context of Ethiopia in general, and Oromia in particular. Since the 1970s the Church has made considerable efforts to effectively evangelize the diverse unevangelized peoples of Ethiopia and to create new Christian communities in their own cultural and religious contexts by developing what the EECMY calls ‘Church Planting strategies’. I argue that EECMY Church planting has been only partially successful in that, while the EECMY has approximately three million Oromo members, after one hundred and ten years of its evangelism in Ethiopia, the main reasons for this growth have been due to existing Church members having children and through members of other Christian denominations joining the EECMY. The expansion of the EECMY has mostly not been among Oromo people unacquainted with Christianity. This thesis, therefore, carefully examines and analyzes why and how EECMY Church Planting has been ineffective among the vast majority of Oromo people. Findings from my fieldwork demonstrate a number of reasons for the lack of success of Church planting among the Oromo people. Notable examples include: Oromos’ strong preservation of their culture and tradition, fear of the persistent Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC), persecution of evangelical Christians and the EECMY mission approach, EOC collaboration with the suppressive Abyssinian colonial system and the Western missionary cultural influence which was adopted and is still being practised by the EECMY. This study argues that a combination of a high regard for traditional Oromo culture and religion and widespread negative experiences of Christianity as a religion of repression and colonization has left many Oromo people feeling alienated from, and afraid of, Christianity. Recognizing the current ineffective nature of the EECMY’s Church planting strategies, this research then seeks to make a response by constructing alternative, contextually informed Church Planting approaches which do not disregard Oromo language, culture or tradition. In order to achieve this, the thesis develops contextual methods of mission, notably a ‘translation’ model of contextualization. A contextually appreciative approach to mission, it is argued, will in turn help to change perceptions of Christianity among the Oromo people and open up opportunities for a more successful mission praxis among Oromos.
    • An insider evaluation of the translation process in use in the BSL Bible Translation Project: Explorations in textuality, intermediality and sacrament

      Graham, Elaine L.; Young, Alys; Raistrick, Tracey A. (University of Chester, 2013-12)
      This thesis is a critical account of a qualitative, evaluative study into the translation processes and practices in use within the BSL Bible Translation Project, undertaken as a collaborative doctoral studentship funded by the AHRC/ESRC1. It has proceeded collaboratively, valuing the stories, knowledge and experiences of the participants. The data‐set presented herein was generated by means of participant observation and interviews with Project Team members. It was analysed in its digital, visual form using an inductive, thematic approach, and is presented with minimal commentary (Chapters 4 and 5). Following this presentation, the data‐set is further reflected upon in order to shed light upon existing understandings of sign language text composition strategies, team translation praxis, intermediality and sacrament (Chapters 6, 7 and 8). The evidence presented in this thesis represents a new source of data and offers valuable insights into translation and exegetical practice in its own right and, I will argue, as a means of human flourishing. This thesis problematizes previous descriptions of Signed Languages as ‘picture‐languages’, identifying two ways in which such descriptions have been unhelpful, even inaccurate. Firstly, that this nomenclature, with its association with picture‐books and pre‐linguistic skills, has contributed to the persistence of perceptions of d/Deaf people as being linguistically less‐able than their non‐Deaf peers and secondly, that such descriptions are deficient because they fail to fully capture the complex nature of Signed Languages. This thesis argues for a re engagement with the inherently cinematographic nature of Signed Languages and explores ways in which this would yield benefits in the fields of Deaf education, the teaching of Signed Languages to second‐language learners, and the training of interpreters and translators. This thesis will also argue that the translation practices of the BSL Bible Translation Project constitute a clear example of Deaf people engaging in metalinguistic reflection on their own language‐use. That is, that the data provide clear evidence of literate thought, specifically of Signed Language literacy in action, and is further evidence in support of the growing confidence and agency within the Deaf Community with regards to the status and the rich linguistic and material properties of BSL, including its suitability as a mediator of the sacred. This thesis will go on to offer reflections on what the data have to tell us about the nature of Biblical texts; both through how they are produced, and the nature of those texts as artefacts and bearers of religious meanings. Engaging with existing understandings of sacrament and incarnation, including the possibility that the act of Bible reading and translation can be said to constitute a sacramental activity, it argues that this is particularly so when such reading and ‘speaking’ of the text occurs through Signed Language.
    • Bonhoeffer: Responsible work - A diachronic approach to a synchronic theme: Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theology of work

      Plant, Stephen; Greggs, Tom; Fulford, Ben; McCabe, John H. (University of Chester, 2015-01)
      This thesis attempts to highlight in a new way the importance of work to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, both in what he wrote and how he lived, and draws upon history, biography, and theology. It constructs a narrative drawn from the interrelation between these elements in an innovative fashion, seeking to convey a fresh sense of the way in which Bonhoeffer’s theology relates to the context of the time. A central argument of the study is that Bonhoeffer’s engagement with the subject of work and his theology of work is something foundationally important to him and a theme which evolves and develops over time. Proposing work as a central hermeneutical key to the understanding of Bonhoeffer is a task which has not been attempted before. The thesis tracks the theme of work and its development, noting over the course of Bonhoeffer’s life how a fuller understanding of the centrality of work throws up fresh understandings of a number of key transition points in his life and makes sense of them in a new way.The final section argues that Bonhoeffer’s work in resistance in Nazi Germany was good work and that a theological formulation which guided Bonhoeffer towards his role in tyrannicide was present in his work-in-progress doctrine of the mandates, an incomplete doctrine which in the end is a hope-filled one. Methodologically, this thesis tracks the development and articulation of Bonhoeffer’s theology of work from the early days through to his arrest, focussing mainly, but not entirely, on his written output in the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Werke (DBW) series, but not including the prison theology because such an approach appropriately reflects the un-finished nature of Bonhoeffer’s theology.