• 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.
    • An analysis of Matthew Fox’s mystical immanence

      Partridge, Christopher; Evans, Joan D. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2010-12)
      The 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.
    • Between Texts: The Resonant Fictions of Sarah Waters

      Stephenson, William; Yates, Louisa (University of Chester, 2011-05)
      The central project of this thesis is to diagnose, define, and articulate the concept of resonance. Resonance is a deeply textual, but not intertextual, relationship that exists between fictional and theoretical texts, allowing the former to position itself as a co-discursive partner to the latter. This is achieved via the subtle importation of theoretical models into fictional settings. In this instance, a resonant relationship is traced between Sarah Waters’s three neo-Victorian novels – Tipping the Velvet, Affinity, and Fingersmith – and three publications which are representative of queer theory published in the early 1990s: Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, Epistemology of the Closet by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick (both published in 1990), and Terry Castle’s The Apparitional Lesbian (1993). As the introduction to this thesis clarifies, Waters’s novels are particularly useful to the resonant critic. All three novels are popularly and critically established as part of the neo-Victorian genre, yet their participation in many of that genre’s defining processes – overt intertextuality, metafictionality, parody – is limited. Limited, too, is their relationship with the Victorian texts that so infuse the genre. It is not, however, that Waters’s novels completely fail to reach for textual models; rather, as this thesis establishes, they reach for models found in contemporary queer theory, rather than canonical Victorian novels. This thesis contends that Waters’s fictions are examples of a distinctive assimilation and reworking of the postmodern principles that have helped to make the contemporary historical novel so very popular. The novels’ determination to articulate previously silenced voices, meanwhile, gives rise to this thesis’s second project, also stated in the introduction: an examination of the homonormative lesbians found in Waters’s novels. Women love, desire, and cherish one another – but are also viciously cruel, devastatingly unfaithful, and coldly deceiving to one another. The thesis as a whole identifies the range of relationships and individuals strewn across Waters’s neo-Victorian output as a co-discursive reverberation with queer theory’s politicised calls for queer representation. Each chapter surveys the extant scholarship on each of Waters’s novels, before pairing each fictional text with the theoretical text with which it resonates, in order to systematically examine the resonant relationship. As such, the fictional and theoretical texts examined in this thesis are given equal weight; theory is not positioned as a lens through which fiction is to be read. Chapter 1 traces models of performativity, Gender Trouble’s dismantling of the originating status of the body, and the failure of feminism to represent the lesbian through the bold picaresque narrative of Tipping the Velvet. Chapter 2 identifies Affinity’s claustrophobic corridors and panoptic middle-class houses as a receptive environment for an importation and repositioning of Epistemology of the Closet’s homosexual panic and the spectacle of the closet. Finally, chapter 3 finds the rather less deconstructive approach to lesbian bodies in The Apparitional Lesbian suggestive of Waters’s project as a whole; with regards to Fingersmith in particular, triangulated relationships, blocking gestures, and the de-apparitionalising of the lesbian are established as evidence of the resonant relationship.
    • Beyond Dialogue - An exploration of the Musalaha: Curriculum of Reconciliation model of interfaith dialogue with relevance for the UK context.

      Baker, Christopher T. H.; Rawlings, Philip J. (University of Chester, 2017-07)
      Issues concerning the integration of migrant communities into United Kingdom society have once again become the subject of national debate, with the publication of the Casey Review in December 2016. In the aftermath of terrorist incidents in Manchester and London, as well as the 2016 Referendum vote for the United Kingdom to leave to the European Union, the reported rise in racially motivated hate crimes and an increase in both antisemitism and Islamophobia, the necessity of developing healthy relationships between communities is imperative. When considering the question of whether segregation is on the increase or not Cantle and Kaufman conclude that while minority ethnic communities are dispersing there is significantly less mixing with the ‘White British’ communities, who seem to be withdrawing from mixed areas. The need for integration is vital. This research starts with the premise that religion is part of the solution, not a part of the problem. This qualitative research explores ethnographically the process of interfaith dialogue, by participant observation of three different groups over a five-year period, with intense reflection over the last three years. These groups were made up of Muslims and Christians, and Hindus in one group, all of whom had a deep personal faith in their respective religions. Using Salim Munayer’s Musalaha Six-stage Cycle of Reconciliation, which was pioneered in the Israel-Palestine context of 25 years of dialogue practice among Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians, the research adapts and builds on this model, for use in interfaith dialogue, developing a fresh definition of ‘interfaith dialogue’ and a method of interfaith dialogue appropriate for the UK context. The thesis makes three main contributions to academic knowledge. First, it presents a new definition and fresh approach to interfaith dialogue with relevance for the UK context, which is particularly relevant for devout believers in their respective religions, to stand alongside other models. Second, the results of the research identify a list of fourteen key themes, including identity, faith and reconciliation, which deserve further analysis. The research methods indicated that there are many more issues that, with further analysis, might be profitably explored. Third, that following the six-stage cycle the path to reconciliation, although remaining hard, is nevertheless achievable, especially for those whose faith provides the motivation and drive to engage at depth with the other.
    • 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.
    • Borrowed silence: A history of the practice of retreat in the Church of England

      Parker, Stephen; Greggs, Tom; Morris, Wayne; Tyers, John H. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2012)
      This thesis, which is the first attempt to write about the growth of retreats, deals with a rather sidelined but important development in the history of spirituality. It states when, how and why the practice of retreat was adopted and adapted in the Church of England after having been a devotion in the Church of Rome since the time of the Catholic Reformation and how it has developed since. It is divided chronologically into three major sections. The first tells the story of its adoption in 1858 by a group of Anglo Catholics in the form of the preached retreat and its subsequent spread to a small number of adherents, despite meeting opposition from Evangelical Christians. The second tells of the influence of a Jesuit brother, Charles Plater, and how after the First World War a number of Diocesan retreat houses were opened, the use of which continued to rise until after the Second World War. The third takes the story up to our present day with its adaptation to the needs of the present search for faith, its decline accompanying the present loss in membership in the churches whilst at the same time its adoption in various forms by non-Anglican groups. In particular it contains a history of the Society of Retreat Conductors. All the time comparison is made with what was happening in the Church of Rome. There are resonances with the history of the Victorian church, the attitude of the established church to the working classes, evangelism, the changing fortunes of Anglo Catholicism, the ecumenical movement and New Age Christianity. It is of interest to all who are concerned about spread of religious faith today.
    • Caught between presence and absence: Shakespeare's tragic women on film

      Rees, Emma L. E.; Scott, Lindsey A. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2008-10)
      In offering readings of Shakespeare’s tragic women on film, this thesis explores bodies that are caught between signifiers of absence and presence: the woman’s body that is present with absent body parts; the woman’s body that is spoken about or alluded to when absent from view; the woman’s living body that appears as a corpse; the woman’s body that must be exposed and concealed from sight. These are bodies that appear on the borderline of meaning, that open up a marginal or liminal space of investigation. In concentrating on a state of ‘betweenness’, I am seeking to offer new interpretive possibilities for bodies that have become the site of much critical anxiety, and bodies that, due to their own peculiar liminality, have so far been critically ignored. In reading Shakespeare’s tragic women on film, I am interested specifically in screen representations of Gertrude’s sexualised body that is both absent and present in Shakespeare’s Hamlet; Desdemona’s (un)chaste body that is both exposed and concealed in film adaptations of Othello; Juliet’s ‘living corpse’ that represents life and death in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet; the woman’s naked body in Roman Polanski’s Macbeth (1971) that is absent from Shakespeare’s play-text; and Lavinia’s violated, dismembered body in Julie Taymor’s (Titus, 1999) and Titus Andronicus, which, in signifying both life and death, wholeness and fragmentation, absence and presence, something and nothing, embodies many of the paradoxes explored within this thesis. Through readings that demonstrate a combined interest in Shakespeare’s plays, Shakespeare films, and Shakespeare criticism, this thesis brings these liminal bodies into focus, revealing how an understanding of their ‘absent presence’ can affect our responses as spectators of Shakespeare’s tragedies on film.
    • The charitable work of the Macclesfield silk manufacturers, 1750-1900

      Gaunt, Peter; Lewis, Chris; Starkey, Pat; Griffiths, Sarah J. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2006-04)
      The existing literature on philanthropic effort during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries has taken a number of different approaches to the subject. These include general works charting the development of the charitable sector, the exploration of voluntary organisations as a subsidiary topic to broader themes and regional studies adopting a range of perspectives. Most research in this latter category has been conducted on large towns and cities that generally have copious amounts of source material. In contrast, lesser provincial towns have received relatively little scholarly attention, despite the more manageable nature of their documentation. The aim of this thesis is to explore the growth of charitable organisations within Macclesfield, an East Cheshire industrial town that was dominated by the silk industry. This study concentrates on the period from 1750 to 1900, when the silk industry was dominant within the town and philanthropic activity was at its height. The town’s silk manufacturers were renowned for their charitable work and thus this research focuses on the extent to which this occupational group was critical in the development of Macclesfield’s voluntary institutions, the motives that lay behind their contributions, and their achievements. In order to see whether their involvement was typical of other businessmen, comparisons are drawn throughout with the charitable activities of contemporary entrepreneurs in a variety of urban settings. This study investigates the silk manufacturers’ participation in Macclesfield’s voluntary institutions in the fields of religion, education, public services and public amenities, together with any additional charitable acts. The evidence from all these areas suggests that in most cases the silk manufacturers were heavily involved in funding and managing these institutions. Their obvious motives reflected altruistic, religious and educational beliefs, but there were also a variety of other concerns that could have been contributory in determining their support for particular institutions. The primary achievement of Macclesfield’s voluntary sector was to provide a network of services that, in conjunction with later state initiatives, improved living standards for inhabitants by the end of the nineteenth century. This thesis gives an insight into the development of charitable institutions in a medium sized industrial town and demonstrates how one group of businessmen were able to dominate this field. Many silk manufacturers were generous in their support of charitable causes in Macclesfield, but the scale of their support did not match that of some other notable philanthropic families, such as the Crossleys of Halifax. The charitable work of the silk manufacturers appeared to be broadly similar to that of entrepreneurs in other small and medium sized industrial towns where they could form a dominant occupational group in public life. In larger towns and cities, this strong manufacturer influence was less evident and a greater range of other people contributed significantly to philanthropic institutions. This type of approach supplements the existing material on philanthropic effort during the long nineteenth century and overlaps a number of related subject areas, such as urban élite activity and the growth of the welfare state.
    • Cheshire castles in context

      Ainsworth, Stewart; Gaunt, Peter; Williams, Howard; Swallow, Rachel E. (University of Chester, 2015-07)
      This thesis considers a little-examined region of medieval Britain through the concept and significance of power and place applied to the architecture and landscapes of castles. Over the last thirty-five years, castle studies have shifted in their interpretations of the defensive, offensive and aesthetic landscape contexts of medieval fortified residences and have adopted a new line of research. It is now understood generally that, apart from occasional military activity, most castles were used less for military purposes and more for administration and display as the lords’ residences. No such study has been made of castles in medieval Cheshire, to critically evaluate and apply new approaches in castle studies to the Cheshire evidence. This thesis concerns the number, location and distribution of castles raised in medieval Cheshire — which included current areas of north-east Wales and Greater Manchester — under the quasi-independent earls of Chester and their tenants, c.1070–1237. The study is primarily one of landscape history and archaeology, which together span many disciplinary boundaries. It draws upon previously un-studied or under-studied documentary and cartographic sources, as well as new interpretations of archaeological features at and around castle sites. An original research approach is thus employed to revisit and reinterpret the changing social, political and historical frameworks of fortified élite residences in medieval Cheshire. Within the context of current debates on the historic landscape, in-depth exploration situates related castle case studies within their respective spatial and temporal environs.
    • The Church in the Eternal Purpose of the Triune God: Toward a Pentecostal Trinitarian Ecclesiology of Theosis drawing on the early theology of the Apostolic Church in the United Kingdom

      Black, Jonathan A. (University of Chester, 2016-04)
      This dissertation examines the ecclesiology of the early writers of the Apostolic Church in the United Kingdom, and seeks to build upon this largely neglected body of Pentecostal thought for the contrastive work of contemporary Pentecostal systematic theology. A particular emphasis is placed on the thought of D.P. Williams as the most significant Apostolic writer of the early years of the movement. Connections between Apostolic ecclesiology and the Pentecostal distinctive of the baptism in the Holy Spirit are examined, as well as the role of Trinitarian theology in early Apostolic ecclesiology. Attention is then given both to distinctive Apostolic themes, including the 5-fold ministry and the Eternal Purpose, as well as their approach to other ecclesiological doctrines including the Totus Christus and the Lord’s Supper, before moving on to a constructive synthesis.
    • Conservative Evangelicalism and the Environment: An Ethnographic Study

      Clough, David; Baker, Christopher T. H.; Morris, Wayne; Crosby, Christopher James (University of Chester, 2016-11)
      While there has been a long running debate concerning the relationship between the Christian faith and environmental attitudes and behaviours, the topic has been neglected empirically, especially in relation to qualitative research. This thesis addresses this gap and presents the results of fieldwork that included participant observation and forty in-depth qualitative interviews. The goal of this thesis is to present findings about the environmental attitudes and behaviours of four conservative evangelical congregations in North Wales, U.K., to further understanding about how Christian beliefs and interpretation of the Bible are formative in this process. To aid in this a modified ‘four voices of theology’ of Cameron et al. (2010) is used as an analytical template and to conceptualise results.
    • The Conservative party in north-east Wales, 1906-1924

      Smith, Jeremy; Williams, Thomas W. (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2008-12)
      Between 1906 and 1924 the Conservative party only won three parliamentary elections in North-east Wales - the Denbigh Boroughs division twice in 1910 and the county seat in Flintshire in 1924. Conversely the Liberal party won all the other elections throughout the period, with the exception of Wrexham which fell to Labour in 1922 and 1923. This, however, says more about the vagaries of the British 'first past the post' electoral system than it does about the true strength of the political parties in the region. Indeed, between 1906 and 1924 the Conservative party never averaged below 39 per cent of the electorate in the constituencies it contested. Given this impressive but unrecognised electoral position, what this study set out to do was to analyse the strength of Conservatism in a region where failure was the norm. The period was chosen because it saw the last Liberal administration in this country, and marked the start of the Conservative dominance of government for much of the twentieth century. It also saw one of the biggest cultural and social upheavals in British history with the advent of the First World War, and witnessed the enfranchisement of women for the first time. The general election of 1906 returned no Conservatives for Wales. In North Wales a conference was called to examine the situation and evaluate future prospects. This led to a review of party organisation in the region, the intention being not only to attract more working class people and women, but also to lessen the autocratic domination by the landed classes. In 1910 the Conservatives won the Denbigh Boroughs constituency with a large swing against the Liberals, and came very close to winning the Flint Boroughs by-election of 1913. The period of War, 1914-1918, saw all political parties moth-balled until the end of hostilities, but during the period of Coalition Government from 1918 to 1922 in which Liberal representation went almost unchallenged in North-east Wales, the Conservatives reorganised their Constituency Associations. By 1924 the landed domination of the party had diminished significantly, and in Flintshire the Conservatives won their first seat in an industrial working class area. Underpinning this success was a long-standing popular support, which after 1906 was better organised and mobilised for the Conservative cause through a variety of loosely attached organisations, societies and clubs. The Primrose League, an organisation that had been founded in 1883 to rally Conservative support, had a very high membership in the region compared to the rest of Wales. For example, the Denbigh Primrose League had over 800 members in 1912. A network of Conservative clubs existed in the region and as early as 1905 a thriving Workingmen's Association had been founded in Wrexham. The Conservative party was also well represented in local government; in Flintshire between 1907 and 1913 it had more county councillors than the Liberal party. In addition, the upheaval of War and the attraction of socialism to the newly enfranchised masses meant that the Conservative party had to widen its appeal to those people who had acquired the vote in 1918. By recruiting women and working class members the Conservative party was able to lay the foundations for a number of parliamentary successes in North-east Wales that lasted until the 1990s. It is therefore the contention of this thesis that the Conservative party not only survived a very difficult period, but that it emerged a strengthened and invigorated force.
    • 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.
    • Cornelius Van Til’s Doctrine of God and Its Relevance for Contemporary Hermeneutics

      Morris, Wayne; Hunt, Jason B. (University of Chester, 2017-03)
      Cornelius Van Til is known for his work in the field of apologetics. His distinctive approach emphasized consistency between methodology and theology in order to defend the Christian faith. Though often neglected, his doctrine of God provided the foundation for his methodology. The nature of who God is informs how we know him and how we interpret his word. The three most prominent contours of his doctrine were: the Creator-creature distinction, incomprehensibility, and the ontological Trinity. The value of these particular emphases is that they are key touchpoints for diagnosing apologetic methods and affirming the Christian system of truth. The nature of his assessment of methodology at the worldview level along these contours has wide-ranging implications for other disciplines, including hermeneutics. The following study explores the relevance of Van Til’s doctrine of God for contemporary biblical hermeneutics in terms of consistency between method and theology proper as revealed in the Bible. Van Til’s doctrine of God is relevant for contemporary hermeneutics both, in how ‘hermeneutics’ has come to be defined and in terms of how its relationship to metaphysics has been understood. In the former, there has been movement toward a more explicitly holistic definition, one that provides a general theory of understanding involving worldview assumptions. In the latter, the relationship between hermeneutics and metaphysics has been unavoidable. It has also been unstable and inconsistent. Van Til speaks to each of these trends from a self-conscious, Christian worldview. His work focused on worldview considerations and presuppositions, including metaphysical and epistemological concerns. It is argued that Van Til’s contributions are not only relevant for evaluating hermeneutical methods, but also contribute to some concerns of recent developments in the field. Two such developments which have influenced evangelical hermeneutics are Speech Act Theory (SAT) and Theological Interpretation of Scripture (TIS). Van Til’s contributions strengthen the effort to give due consideration to the divine author in discussions of meaning and method, but also serve to help critically evaluate and round out both. Lastly, the relevance of his theology proper is seen regarding the contemporary hermeneutical issue of the NT use of the OT. This provides a brief case study concerning a prominent contemporary issue in evangelical hermeneutics. Van Til’s contribution asks deeper questions regarding method and meaning which further the discussion, and detects flaws in some attempts to make sense of how the NT uses the OT.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The divine warrior and cosmic catastrophe: the impact of the sibylline oracles on interpretation of Mark 13:24-25

      Middleton, Paul; Angel, Andy; McBay, Susannah E. (University of Chester, 2017-04)
      The meaning of cosmic catastrophe language (CCL) in Mark 13:24-25 is widely contested: both in regards to what type of language is used and to what event it refers, namely the fall of temple at Jerusalem in 70CE or the Parousia of Christ. Recent contributions from Marcus, Shively and Angel have identified the mythological background behind the language, but still interpret this mythology in different ways. In this thesis I elucidate the tradition behind CCL, specifically that of the Jewish Divine Warrior Tradition (DWT), to assess further its development in the Second Temple period and inform interpretations of Mark 13:24-25. Using a historical-critical, criterion-based approach, I demonstrate that the DWT is used in thirteen texts in the Sibylline Oracles and that this use expresses divine opinion and judgement upon political entities and spiritual powers that oppose God and his heavenly host. I also show that the DWT in Sib. Or. 3-5 incorporates elements from Stoic cosmological imagery, which was separated from the Stoic doctrine of ἐκπύρωσις with the advent and rise of Roman Stoicism. The result of this has various implications for navigating the interpretations of Mark 13:24-27 and I conclude that the cosmic catastrophe of vv.24-25 is best understood as describing the cosmic upheaval and demise of spiritual powers that relate to the temple and its leaders at the coming of the Divine Warrior.
    • The Dynamics of Time and Space in Recent French Fiction: Selected Works by Annie Ernaux, Patrick Modiano, Jean Echenoz and Marie Darrieussecq

      Obergöker, Timo; Alsop, Derek; Griffiths, Claire H.; Garvey, Brenda (University of Chester, 2018-11-22)
      This thesis investigates the ways in which literary texts negotiate spatio-temporal movements and how, through the nature of narrative, they may offer models for expressing the lived experience of time and place. The theoretical framework traces developments in philosophies of time and space beginning with Henri Bergson’s concepts of duration and simultaneity. The desire to portray both of these informs Gilles Deleuze’s study of cinema to produce his writings on the image-temps and image-mouvement which highlight the constant change undergone in moving through space and time which he defines as différence. The transformative nature of our relationship with the space around us and the agency of the body in that transformation is seen by Deleuze as a positive creative force and one which demands a continual deterritorialisation and reterritorialisation evidenced in the literature studied. Henri Lefebvre further interrogates the importance of the body in the production of space and contributes to the debate around the creation of place and non-place taken up by Michel de Certeau, Edward Casey and Marc Augé, whose work on supermodernity articulates concerns about the absence of place at the end of the twentieth century. These theories provide a backdrop for a close reading of the literary texts published between 1989 and 2017. Each of the four authors selected interrogates spatio-temporal connections in their work and, in order to model our lived experience at the turn of the millennium they experiment with form, genre and language and raise questions about the formation, location and stability of the self. Patterns of repetition and rewriting in the works of Annie Ernaux and Patrick Modiano engage with non-linear approaches to narrative and problematize duration, stasis and the construction and accessibility of memory. The novels of Jean Echenoz explore non-places and liminal spaces in ways that suggest possibilities for the future of fiction and Marie Darrieussecq questions the centrality of the body in defining the self and its agency in creating place. My findings suggest that the desire to comprehend and mirror the lived experience of time and space motivates the literary project of the selected authors and that the nature of narrative, in its openness and fluidity, can replicate and respond to some of the anxieties around time, place and non-place at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st centuries.
    • The Evolution of Artificial Illumination in Nineteenth Century Literature: Light, Dark, and the Spaces in Between

      Richard Leahy; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2016-03-04)
      This thesis concentrates on the role of artificial light in the society, culture, and literature of the nineteenth century. Technologies of illumination in this period had a great effect on how society operated and how people experienced space and reality. These effects will be studied through reference to contemporary sources, historical analysis, and literary analysis. Each chapter uses a distinct theoretical viewpoint, and maintains a focus on a particular author (where possible). In the first chapter, the role of firelight in the works of Elizabeth Gaskell is examined, using Gaston Bachelard’s ideas on fire and psychology. The second chapter focuses on the role of candlelight in the works of Wilkie Collins, using Jacques Lacan’s theories on the Gaze. Due to the density of metaphoric references to gaslight in his fiction, Émile Zola’s work is the focus of the third chapter, while Jean Baudrillard’s theories on the nature of modern reality inform the theoretical analysis. The fourth and final chapter examines electric light’s rise to prominence and the rapidly changing attitudes towards it. It was impossible to limit this chapter’s study to only one author, so instead attention is paid to how electric light transitions from a fantastical technology to something real; this is done through a close examination of the early Science Fiction of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne, before the study moves to examine the realism of E.M. Forster and Edith Wharton. The theoretical background of this chapter is informed by a combination of previously covered theory, with attention also paid to posthumanism. The thesis identifies a number of trends and developments in the relationship between light and literature. It notes how artificial light created a space symbolically independent of light and dark, as well as elaborating on each light source’s individual symbolism. It also documents the relationship between artificial light and the transition of society and culture into modernity; it outlines the development, and cultural acceptance, of the notion of a technologically connected society and consumerism. Perhaps most importantly, this study identifies a psychological connection between literature, light, and the individual, and examines the representation of such a concept in the symbolism and metaphor of artificial light.
    • An examination and assessment of the role and status of women in the ‘holistic’ ministry of the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus

      Bacon, Hannah; Ackroyd, Ruth; Daba Bultum, Bekure (University of Liverpool (University of Chester), 2011-04-07)
      The purpose of the study is to investigate and analyse the role and status of women in the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) holistic ministry. Although since 1973 the EECMY has made some effort to support women’s ministry by passing a number of different policy decisions to authorise women’s involvement in different Church ministries, women are still silenced in various areas in ministry. The study, therefore, thoroughly examines and analyzes where, how and why women are silenced in the EECMY ministry. Findings from my fieldwork suggest a number of areas of ministry where women are silenced and demonstrate substantial reasons for this silencing. The study reveals that women are denied opportunity to participate fully in four key areas of decision-making, evangelism, leadership and ordained ministry for theological and cultural reasons. The investigation shows that women experience exclusion through under-representation and restricted participation in various areas of EECMY’s holistic ministry, but particularly in top leadership roles. Findings show that theological arguments are used to subordinate women with the effect that in the home, church and wider public spheres they are relegated to domestic rather than strategic roles. The study then seeks to respond to these cultural and theological barriers which exclude women from ministry by proposing a theology that is inclusive and liberating. It does this by means of seminal texts and Gospel stories about women. Further, it directly challenges oppressive texts, such as 1 Cor. 14:34-35, 1 Tim. 2:11-15 and Gen. 2, 3, which are used to oppress women in ministry and legitimise men’s authority over women and keep them in submission. By using liberative texts, such as 1 Cor. 11:5, Gal. 3:28 and Gen. 1:27, as lenses through which the other texts may be read, women can find a scriptural basis for their full involvement in the ministry of the Church using the gifts that God has given them. In order to realize this vision, the thesis proposes adoption of a series of principles which emerge from the liberative texts, including conscientization, engendered theological education and partnership. Embracing these principles will lead women in the EECMY to develop and engage in practical strategies to gradually bring about positive change so that the barriers of patriarchy will be dismantled and women will achieve full representation and participation in public, strategic and valued areas of ministry.