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  • Unspeakable Fat, Unspeakable Beauty: Fatness, Apophasis and the Overflowing of Excess

    Bacon, Hannah; University of Chester (SCM Press, 2024)
    This chapter draws on Augustine’s theology of perfect heavenly bodies including his theological rendering of beauty and fat to consider what apophasis might mean for feminist theological thinking about fatness and women’s fat. Routinely criticized for promoting a flight from the body and its excessive passions and a vision of resurrection bodies as free from the imperfections of the material flesh, Augustine provides an interesting although perhaps unlikely dialogue partner for thinking about this. My claim is that there is much to glean from him, despite the difficulties he presents. There is also much to garner from feminist fat activism and from critical feminist reflections on the fluidity of fat embodiment. Both inform my feminist theological appraisal of fat bodies as unspeakable bodies
  • A Tale of Two Risings: Was the second civil war in England and Wales pro-royalist or anti-parliamentarian?

    Gaunt, Peter; University of Chester (Helion & Company, 2023-04-06)
    This chapter reconsiders the origins, nature and leadership of the two main risings during the so-called civil war in Wales, namely the rising which began in Kent and which spread to Essex, ending in the siege of Colchester, and the rising which began in Pembrokeshire before spreading to other parts of South Wales, ending in the siege of Pembroke. It highlights the complexities in branding either pro-royalist or anti-parliamentarian in tone.
  • A Tale of Two Cities: garrisons, strongholds, fortifications and sieges in the English civil war

    Gaunt, Peter; University of Chester (Helion & Company, 2023-10-27)
    This chapter explores the nature and role of garrisons and garrison warfare in the English civil war, focusing on the role of defended towns, refortified castles, fortified mansions and other strongholds. It goes on to compare and contrast Chester and Gloucester as strongholds and their role in the civil war.
  • The triumphs and tribulations of Sir Thomas Myddelton, summer and autumn 1644

    Gaunt, Peter; University of Chester (The Cromwell Association, 2023)
    Via a series of his often lengthy and quite detailed letters of the time - the full texts of which are transcribed and reproduced within the paper - this article explores Sir Thomas Myddelton's military campaigns and activities along the borders of Shropshire and Montgomeryshire during the late summer and early autumn of 1644, a period when he achieved some significant victories but also found himself frustrated and unable to make major advances into Wales, for reasons which are explored here.
  • The nursery of the king's infantry? Reassessing the civil war in Wales, 1642-46

    Gaunt, Peter; University of Chester (The Cromwell Association, 2023)
    This article reassesses the nature of the civil war in Wales and in particular the apparent support for the king found in most of the Principality. It explores royalist allegiance afresh, questioning the depth and strength of that allegiance, finding evidence for strained and waning support for the king's cause from quite early in the civil war and assessing both how and why parliament was able to secure most of Wales very quickly and without a fight in the latter stages of the war.
  • 'My wife was very unquiet and uncharitable also. God forgive her!'. First person accounts of women's lives during the English civil war.

    Gaunt, Peter; University of Chester (The Cromwell Association, 2021)
    This article explores the lives and lived experiences of some women during the English civil war period through the surviving contemporary first person accounts of those women themselves or of their male fathers/husbands/close family members.
  • 'That cage of violence and denne of theives': Beeston Castle, Cheshire

    Gaunt, Peter; University of Chester (The Cromwell Association, 2024)
    This paper explores the history, site and layout of Beeston Castle in central Cheshire, through the medieval period. However, it focuses on the role of the castle during the English civil war, during which it served firstly as a parliamentarian outpost and then as a royalist stronghold, blockaded, besieged and eventually retaken by the Cheshire parliamentarians. It draws heavily on contemporary primary sources, as well as on the discoveries made during recent archaeological work, to reconstruct the history of the castle during the civil war.
  • Introduction: Death and Fire in Early Medieval North-West Europe

    Williams, Howard; Lippok, Femke; University of Chester (Sidestone Press, 2024)
    Introducing this first-ever edited collection drawing together the latest research on the cremation of the dead in early medieval North-West Europe, the chapter identifies, rationalises and contextualises the book’s aims: to rethink the burning of the dead in the context of other dimensions to mortuary practices in the early medieval period and showcasing the significant theoretical, methodological and investigative advances of recent decades. The scope and rationale of the book are outlined, focusing on providing a rich and accessible resource for students and scholars of archaeology and cognate fields. The chapter then explains the distinctive process of the book’s creation: largely by transcribing and editing structured interviews. The nineteen constituent chapters of the book are then reviewed, and key themes and future directions are identified for the investigation of death and fire in the Early Middle Ages.
  • Towards Public Viking Research

    Williams, Howard; University of Chester (Routledge, 2024-03-06)
    This book is essential reading for those interested in the interdisciplinary study of the Early Middle Ages because our contemporary world is saturated with many different kinds of ‘Vikings’. Exploring our many 21st-century ‘Viking worlds’, spanning real-world, supernatural and digital landscapes, is a key priority for research in heritage studies, public history and public archaeology. The contemporary reception of the Viking Age demands our scholarly cross-disciplinary critical reflection and sustained intervention in profitable and insightful ways because the ‘Vikings’ are a key strand of global interest and debate regarding our human story and pre-modern world as well as contemporary preconceptions of identity, society, economy, politics, history, legend, mythology and religion. Our academic task extends beyond Europe to the globe and includes critically evaluating museum and heritage site interpretations, our public-facing academic outputs, but also a host of other fictional and rhetorical Vikings deployed across media from comic books and video games to commercial heritage tourism ventures and populist political mobilisations. In this chapter I argue that researchers and practitioners must integrate their expertise to tackle this challenge. I propose the specific field of transdisciplinary investigation – Public Viking Research – for these endeavours. Public Viking Research aims to tackle and critique ‘Vikingisms’ but also evaluate the ethical and socio-political responsibilities of our own research in the public realm. In this regard, we can both build critiques of contemporary Viking worlds as well as the impact of our own theories, methods and practice, working with real-world and digital communities and stakeholders to develop new creative and informed stories and visions of the Vikings.
  • Glaziers' Hollow, Delamere Forest, Cheshire: investigation and survey of a late medieval glassworking site

    Gondek, Meggen; Ainsworth, Stewart; University of Chester (University of Chester, 2024-03-27)
    In 2023, a gradiometer survey was conducted over two small areas of a medieval glassworking site known as Glaziers’ Hollow in Delamere Forest primarily to help identify the precise location of excavations conducted there in 1935 and 1947. This survey forms part of a larger project aimed at furthering the understanding of this scheduled monument in response to its current presence on the Historic England Heritage at Risk register. Over two days in June and another two days in November, a small team conducted the gradiometry survey alongside a suite of other non-invasive survey techniques. Results showed a focused cluster of magnetic anomalies that corresponded closely to previously unrecorded earthworks visible on the ground, as well as more modern disturbances and anomalies likely to be the location of the historic excavations. The signature of the readings is somewhat inconclusive as to the specific identification of a glassworking furnace or furnaces, but do suggest glassworking and associated activity close by, although results may be influenced by the amount of disturbance and potential overburden at the site.
  • Introduction: Peninsular Identities, Transatlantic Crossings and Iberian Networks

    Rocha Relves, Susana; Gant, Mark; Edwards, Sian; Politecnic of Viseu; University of Chester; Cardiff University (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2024-03-07)
    This volume promotes recent and innovative research in different areas of knowledge within the scope of Iberian studies, contributing to the deepening and dissemination of this expanding research area. This book makes available new approaches to the study of Iberian and Ibero-American spaces and cultures, with particular emphasis on Portuguese-Galician, Basque and Catalan identities produced in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, and during dictatorship. A considerable number of chapters discuss issues of memory, reflecting the impact of the Historical Memory Law in Spain and its lively discussion in the public sphere. Social mobilization and economic dynamics also play an important role in this volume. In addition, transatlantic contacts with Portuguese and Spanish speaking countries are covered, giving expression to the most recent trends in Iberian studies, which is broadening its scope to exchanges and influences between the Iberian Peninsula and South America and Africa. This volume will be of interest to students, developing and established researchers, and experts in Iberian studies.
  • The Bible and Animal Theology

    Clough, David; University of Chester (Oxford University Press, 2022-07-11)
    Attention to the place of animals in the Bible has been significant in provoking new Christian theological understandings of the place of animals. Theologians bringing the question of the animal to biblical texts have found a wide range of resources for discussing Christian belief about animals, with significant implications for Christian ethics. This chapter provides a survey of key themes and texts at the interface between the Bible and animal theology, including biblical understandings of animal life, the relationship between human and nonhuman animals, the place of animals in visions of redemption, and biblical accounts of human responsibilities for other animals.
  • How do Baptists discern the 'mind of Christ' at the Church Meeting?

    Llewellyn, Dawn; Moriarty, Ruth E. (University of Chester, 2023-09)
    At the heart of every Baptist church is the Church Meeting, where church members make decisions for their local congregation by discerning the mind of Christ. As a Baptist minister, I operate as a practitioner-researcher in this project by observing four local Baptist churches in north London and interviewing twelve members on the practice of discernment. As a relatively unexamined area of church life, this project aims to articulate Baptist discernment to renew the Church Meeting. Through the data collected and analysed by thematic and axial coding, Baptist discernment is identified, articulated, and named as slow wisdom. Slow wisdom is slow, listens to all members, and seeks consensus agreement through a prayerful and prophetic atmosphere. The theological emphasis on participation, described as ‘this body life’ is shown to be based on biblical images of the church as the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12.4-27) as the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2.4-5). By comparing slow wisdom to bell hooks’ practical wisdom (1994, 2003, 2010), slow wisdom finds broader terms of expression and rationale for participation and the Church Meeting is recast as a radical place. Slow wisdom uses embodied knowledge to form Christian practical wisdom (Miller-McLemore, 2016) that long-standing members use as an epistemological source to verify discernment. Therefore, knowledge of Baptist discernment is expanded from a biblical basis to recognise phronesis in the lived experience of faith and bodily practice of attending the Church Meeting as fundamental to discernment. Slow wisdom is not present when the Church Meeting fails to listen to all members. The project shows how members who are different to the habitual norm of the church are excluded. The low attendance of younger members and members from other denominations is shown to be effectively addressed by examples of best practices, alongside the project recommendation of sharing slow wisdom as a model for reflection. To explore Black and Brown members whose voices have been overruled in Church Meetings, Willie Jennings’ (2010, 2020) work on challenging racism in education provides a contrasting analysis. Through Jennings’ example, the project demonstrates how the design of the Church Meeting can be changed to be inclusive of all members to increase belonging among Black and Brown members. Having articulated slow wisdom, this new knowledge contributes to other denominations' discernment approaches and provides a pathway for renewal of practice and a revitalisation of the Baptist Church Meeting for Baptists. The portfolio submitted before this thesis shows a reflective research journey in Practical Theology as a Baptist minister. At the beginning of the professional doctorate programme, my research question concerned a critical discussion held at my first church in London. At the Church Meeting, church members shared their different views regarding whether the church building was a sacred space. My focus throughout the programme has been to understand how Baptists hear varied opinions and make decisions together at the Church Meeting. In my literature review, I examined the concept of churches as sacred spaces and places in Baptist research and other Christian traditions. By using a modified pastoral cycle, I reflected on the critical Church Meeting discussion, followed by an exploration of biblical models of revelation, churches understood as storied and incarnational places, and sociology and place. The review highlighted that while the content of the original discussion on sacred places was important, the context of the Church Meeting in which it was held was critical for Baptists. For my publishable article, I reviewed a contrasting sample of literature on unholy places. Now in my second pastorate in Cheshire, I explored ‘Mischief Night’ and the practice of charismatic Christians to prayer walk outdoors to reclaim the local streets from an unholy environment into a sacred place. I identified parallels between Baptist charismatic views regarding place and Celtic views on liminal places. I argued that determining good from evil through testing in prayer was believed by Baptists as a factor in discernment practice on Mischief Night. To complete the first stage of the professional doctorate, I returned to reflecting on decisionmaking within the Church Meeting to form the basis of my research proposal. Now in my third pastorate, I sought to make generalisations about the practice of discernment for Baptists at the Church Meeting. I selected a qualitative research approach to analyse a set of Baptist churches using the tools of observation, interviewing and coding. With a concern to express the lived experience of faith for Baptists, these methods were chosen to generate fresh data concerning an unarticulated discernment practice to existing discernment literature. I sought to articulate how Baptists discern together at the Church Meeting with an interest in revelation, testing or judging good decisions in discernment, the role of prayer and the significance of the Church Meeting for members. The project began with a specific question of revelation and sacred space in a multi-ethnic Baptist church. Through stage one, a broader topic emerged of how Baptists search for revelation from God to make decisions together which led to the final research question of ‘How do Baptists discern the mind of Christ at the Church Meeting?’
  • Don Cupitt: theological pioneer?

    Graham, Elaine; Smith, Graeme; University of Chester; Sarum College (SAGE Publications, 2024-01-31)
    This final article in a three-part series exploring the contemporary significance of the theologian and philosopher of religion Don Cupitt examines the extent to which he might be considered a ‘theological pioneer’. There are three possible areas of innovation: Cupitt’s work on non-realism, his adoption of postmodern philosophy and his advocacy of a religion of everyday speech. In each of these, Cupitt carried out ground-breaking work, but it is less clear whether his ideas have exercised a significant and lasting influence. While the Sea of Faith television series (1984) generated a substantial popular following, his work has not been widely adopted or developed by successive generations of theologians or scholars of religion.
  • Stylistics, point of view and modality

    Neary, Clara; Queen's University Belfast; University of Chester (Routledge, 2023-05-29)
    Revised version of chapter for 2nd edition.
  • Discussion: Hunter-Gatherers in the Landscape

    Taylor, Barry; Conneller, Chantal; Lane, Paul; Schadla-Hall, Tim; University of Chester; Newcastle University; University of Cambridge; University of London
    The work of the Seamer Carr project and the VPRT has created an unparalleled record of the human occupation of a North European, early prehistoric landscape. The test-pitting surveys and open-area excavations have recorded evidence for human activity that ranges in scale from discrete hunting events to the long-term, repeated occupation of particular landscape locations. Added to this, systematic augering of large parts of the basin, accompanied by palaeoenvironmental studies at key sites, has produced a detailed account of the environmental context within which these episodes of human activity took place. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an interpretive summary and synthesis of this data, beginning with an overview of the archaeological record of hunting and gathering/foraging around the shores of the former Lake Flixton and the islands near its centre, and what this can tell us about the changing nature of hunter-gatherer settlement, resource utilisation, logistics and material traditions between the Final Palaeolithic and the Late Mesolithic. The second part of the chapter brings together the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data to explore the changing relationships between humans and their environment.
  • God's Patience and Our Work. Hans Frei, Generous Orthodoxy and the Ethics of Hope

    Fulford, Ben; University of Chester (SCM Press, 2024-02-28)
    This book offers a new interpretation of Hans Frei's theology and ethics, their development, coherence in context and their relevance to contemporary Christian political theology and ethics. On this reading, Frei offered a subtle, flexible account of the essence of Christianity, a Christology which grounds Christ's living presence and enduring solidarity with the poor and marginalised and to history and the church in his particular identity. I show that he sought to recover the conditions for an ethics of responsibility and to articulate the terms of the publicness of Christian theology and ethics. His vision of Christian discipleship, shaped by Christ's identity, emphasises generous, reconciliatory love and practices of penultimate reconciliation amidst the structural divisions engendered by social sin. Above all, he outlined a theology of God's patience and providence to frame a hopefully realistic, contextually pragmatic, progressive engagement of Christian communities with politics and society.
  • Postliberal Theology

    Fulford, Ben; University of Chester (Wiley, 2024-03-28)
    An overview of Postliberal Theology, its characteristic concerns and themes, the contributions of key figures, debates about their ideas, its influence, achievement and agenda.
  • Art on the March

    Williams, Howard; University of Chester (JAS Arqueologia, 2023-10-30)
  • Rethinking Offa’s Dyke as a Hydraulic Frontier Work

    Williams, Howard; University of Chester (JAS Arqueologia, 2023-10-30)
    Building upon a fresh interpretation of Wat’s Dyke as a component of an early medieval hydraulic frontier zone rather than primarily serving as a symbol of power, a fixed territorial border or a military stop-line (Williams 2021), here, I refine and apply this approach to its longer and better-known neighbour: Offa’s Dyke. This linear earthwork’s placement, alignments and landscape context are evaluated afresh using a simple but original comparative mapping methodology. First, on the local level, I show that Offa’s Dyke was carefully and strategically positioned to connect, overlook and block a range of watercourses and wetlands at key transverse and parallel crossing points, thus observing and choreographing mobility on multiple axes. Second, I address the regional scale, showing how Offa’s Dyke interacted with, and controlled, biaxial movement through and between water catchments parallel and transverse to the monument’s principal alignments. Both these arguments inform how the Dyke might have operated on the supra-regional scale, ‘from sea to sea’ and also ‘across the sea’, by controlling the estuarine and maritime zones of the Dee Estuary in the north and the Wye/Severn confluence to the south. Integrating military, territorial, socio-economic and ideological functionality and significance, Offa’s Dyke, like its shorter neighbour Wat’s Dyke (in an as-yet uncertain relationship), configured mobilities over land and water via its hydraulic dimensions and interactions. Together, the monuments can be reconsidered as elements of a multi-functional hydraulic frontier zone constructed by one or more rulers of the middle Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia and operative both in times of peace and conflict.

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