Touching the future: A feminist theology of eschatalogical bodies
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AbstractThis thesis reclaims the eschatological future in light of and for feminist theology. It is mindful of critiques which expose the patriarchal, androcentric, and futuristic tendencies of traditional eschatological thought. Themes are detected amongst these critiques that pertain to the process, content, and time of eschatology: feminist theologians have proposed that traditional models of eschatology present the process as known and controlled by God alone; the content as fleshless and static; and the time as dislocated from present realities and concerns. Feminist theologians respond by attending to and affirming the complexities and significance of present embodiments. Three aspects of existence that are typically associated with women emerge as integral to this pursuit; namely embodied relationality, fluidity, and sensuality. I detect in these responses both potentials and problems. Reclaiming aspects of existence that have been excluded from and therefore devalued by eschatology, specifically because of their association with women, is affirmed as a necessary and important contribution. However, I note that the overwhelming (if understandable) reluctance amongst feminist theologians to speak of eschatological finality, or to grasp at specificity about the future, prevents us from hoping for fulfilled experiences of these aspects, and robs all of creation of a usable and hopeful future. The eschatological future is ultimately left in the hands of patriarchy. I attempt, therefore, to reconstruct the process, content, and time of eschatology in such a way that it not only affirms embodied relationality, fluidity, and sensuality, but also offers new and beneficial ways to think about these values. My thesis is thus firmly rooted in present feminist perspectives on, and some women’s experiences of, embodiment. What is more, it converses with these by negotiating some ways in which a reconstructed eschatology can be open to and changed by our present existences, even as it is able to inform and direct them. My ultimate goal is to uncover in the eschatological future a way in which to take and transform patriarchal constructions of female bodies in order to uncover a real and present hope for all bodies.
CitationPennington, E. (2010). Journeying through otherness: Exploring understandings of otherness in relation to love of neighbour, enemy, self, and God. Unpublished MTh thesis, University of Chester.
Pennington, E. (2013). Does feminism need the future? Rehtinking eschatology for feminist theology. Feminist Theology, 21(3), pp. 220-231.
Pennington, E. (2015). Touching the future: A living eschatology. International Journal of Public Theology, 9(1), pp. 47-67.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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