Now showing items 1-20 of 1223

    • 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
      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)
      Commentary
    • 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.
    • Linear Pasts and Presents: Researching Dykes, Frontiers and Borderlands

      Williams, Howard; University of Chester (JAS Arqueologia, 2023-10-30)
      This editorial essay introduces the fifth volume of the Offa’s Dyke Journal (ODJ) by presenting a review of the contents, recent related research published elsewhere, and the Offa’s Dyke Collaboratory’s activities during 2022 and early 2023.
    • Year Abroad (A Dialogue)

      Illingworth, James; Gant, Mark; Fukurawa, Akiko; Puzey, Guy; Institute for Study Abroad; SOAS University of London; University of Chester; University of Edinburgh (Liverpool University Press, 2023-12-12)
      This article is the product of an exchange that took place over the course of two months between March and May 2023 and offers reflections on how the year abroad in Modern Languages has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The four contributors each bring a distinct expertise in year abroad provision and represent different language areas and geographical regions of the United Kingdom. The core themes explored in the discussion are the need for flexibility and resilience in degree programmes, the importance of accessibility and inclusion, and the challenges and opportunities of digital developments in a mobilities context. As well as reflecting on the impact of the pandemic on year abroad provision, the contributors also dwell on how the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union has altered the year abroad landscape.
    • Introduction: Transcultural spaces and identities in Iberian studies

      Gant, Mark; Rocha Relves, Susana; University of Chester; Politecnic Institute of Viseu (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020-11-05)
      This volume brings together innovative research across the diverse field of Iberian Studies, including insights from economics, society, politics, literature, cinema and other art forms, either in a revisionist perspective or incorporating new data. Reflecting recent developments in the field, the subject matter extends beyond the boundaries of Spain and Portugal, as it also includes transnational and transatlantic interconnections with Europe, Africa and the Americas and its scope ranges from the nineteenth century to the effects of the Catalan independence crisis and Brexit. The 18 chapters here are authored by established academics and early career researchers from the UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, Japan and the USA. The book will appeal to students, researchers and all who have a particular interest in deepening their understanding of the countries of the Iberian Peninsula.
    • Introduction: Memory, transition and transnationalism in Iberia

      Gant, Mark; Rocha Relvas, Susana; Edwards, Sian; University of Chester; Politecnic Institute of Viseu; University of Cardiff (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2023-02-27)
      This volume brings together a wide range of innovative research across the diverse field of Iberian Studies. It will be of interest to academic staff and research students, and will also provide a resource for undergraduate projects and for all those wishing to deepen their knowledge of the Iberian countries and their relationships with other parts of the world. The collection includes cutting-edge work in the fields of memory politics and historical revisionism, peninsular dictatorships, the Spanish Civil War, the Francoist legacy and transition to democracy, and colonial and postcolonial transnational exchanges between Iberia and other continents on a global scale. Within these core themes, pressing topics such as migrations, resistance, memory, exile and trauma, violence, sexuality and feminism, and their literary and artistic representations form the core of the volume. The 16 chapters are written by established and early career researchers from Brazil, India, Ireland, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, the UK, and the USA.
    • ‘Dizzy with the to-ing and fro-ing’: Diasporic prose of the ‘new South Africa’

      Blair, Peter; University of Chester
      Engaging with concepts of exilic and transnational writing established by Edward Said, Stephen Clingman, and others, this chapter offers a comparative survey and analysis of a wide range of fiction and nonfiction representing South Africa’s internal and external diasporas, mostly published between 1994, year of its first-ever democratic election, and 2021. A brief overview of the country’s formative immigrations and the internal displacement and external exile created by segregation and apartheid is followed by four sections. The first discusses texts by or about post-liberation returnees, including ex-activists and white expatriates, as well as perspectives from South Africa’s Jewish community and its exiles. The second examines narratives by or about new continental immigrants from the rest of Africa, including refugees, and novels chronicling the intercontinental roots, oceanic routes, and immigrant experiences of South African Indians. The third and fourth sections provide contrasting case studies of revisionist émigrés: J.M. Coetzee, who scrutinizes the migrant’s ‘substitutive’ desire to start afresh; and Zoë Wicomb, whose ‘translocal’ refines the ‘combinatory’ transnational. The chapter argues that identities in the ‘new South Africa’ and its external diasporas are diasporic in diverse and complex ways that challenge and reconfigure the paradigms of ‘contrapuntal’ exile and celebratory cosmopolitanism/Afropolitanism.
    • Embodying a Different Word about Fat: The Need for Critical Feminist Theologies of Fat Liberation

      Bacon, Hannah; University of Chester (MDPI, 2023-05-25)
      In contemporary Western society, fatness speaks for itself, affirming the fat person as an aesthetic and moral failure even before they say a word. Fat bodies, and fat female bodies in particular, are produced and reproduced as sites of excess and obscenity. Christian theology has protected itself from the contaminating touch of fat by ignoring fatness in theological discourse. Especially con-cerning is the relative absence of ‘fat talk’ from liberation and feminist theologies. It is time for a different word to be offered on fat that does not speak for itself and that emerges from the lived experiences of diverse women as they interpret their own faith and fatness. This essay explores the need for critical feminist theologies on fat liberation and identifies some features they might display. Here, I discuss Feminist Participatory Action Research and ethnography as methodologies that might help feminist theologians researching fat to prioritise the overlooked bodies and stories of fat women, and to continue liberation theology’s longstanding commitment to constructing historical projects oriented towards social change. Fat liberation, as a historical and theological project, calls for a ‘conversion’ to fatness and for a critical questioning of assumed ‘truths’ about fat. It positions the struggle against fat hatred as a pursuit of life and as faithful participation in the liberating activity of the God of Life.
    • Body/Image

      Bacon, Hannah; University of Chester
      According to feminist liberation theologian Marcella Althaus-Reid, if there is one thing that feminist theologies can claim in common it is that ‘the body always takes charge: our armpits come first’, more specifically our ‘bushy’ armpits. No doubt the choice of armpits here is deliberate by Althaus-Reid given the way this part of women’s bodies has been disparagingly associated with feminism and with the western feminist project of resisting restrictive beauty standards. To begin feminist theologies with women’s ‘bushy armpits’ is to begin with a confidence in women’s flesh and with a preparedness to confront and transgress social and religious norms that contain women’s bodies and mark them as disgusting. This chapter explores the ways in which Christian feminist theologies have approached the body, paying particular attention to feminist theological discussion around body image, especially concerning beauty, fatness and thinness. It first considers how feminist theologies have exposed, challenged and reclaimed aspects of Christian body theology before considering how feminist theologians have explored body image and women’s struggles for bodily integrity.
    • The Bible and the Violence of Fat Shaming

      Bacon, Hannah; University of Chester
      The Bible presents an ambiguous view of fat and fatness. Following normative gendered constructions of corpulence in the ancient world, fat symbolises excess, moral weakness, lack of self-restraint and lavish living, but it also represents divine abundance and is symbolic of life and wellbeing. Indeed, fat criticism in the Bible is reliant upon positive associations of fatness and this encourages us to read both constructions of fatness alongside one another. While negative constructions of fatness in biblical texts lend support to the gendered violence of fat shaming evidencing the ongoing influence of ancient attitudes on contemporary anti-fat attitudes, embracing the ambiguity of biblical texts troubles the contemporary political tendency to polarise fat as either ‘bad’ or ‘good’ and allows for the productive dimensions of fat shame.
    • Another World? Practical Wisdom for the End-Times

      Graham, Elaine; University of Chester (De Gruyter, 2023-11-11)
      Practical Theology today is inescapably and urgently conducted in the shadow of global climate emergency. This is made more acute by the emergence of the concept of ‘Anthropocene’, or the recognition that climate change is now being decisively driven by human intervention. This article explores aspects of contemporary ‘cli-fi’ culture which have emerged in response to environmental crisis. In their use of the language of ‘apocalypse’ to frame the nature of climate emergency, they carry strong resonances with Biblical literature and Christian theology. Can a dialogue between these different genres generate constructive theological wisdom that might direct us towards more equitable and sustainable ways of living?
    • Nicolas Mathieu entre le restaurant Drouant et la France périphérique

      Obergöker, Timo; University of Chester (Freie Universität Berlin, 2023-10-31)
      Space is a central factor in Nicolas Mathieu's novels. Notably his last ones Leurs enfants après eux et Connemara present a threefold spatial divide: the little city of peripheral France, the major regional capital and Paris. This divide is presents both through the lense of his fictional texts, but also in the light of the paratext. Whilst some attention is carried to the idea of posture as theorised by Meizoz, we endeavour to show that the paratopie (Maingueneau) of Mathieu is that of a mediator between classes and postions stemming precisely from his position inbetween places.
    • 'Men Shall Not Make Us Foes': Charlotte Brontë’s letters and her female friendship networks

      Wynne, Deborah; University of Chester (Routledge, 2023-12-01)
      Sharon Marcus in Between Women (2007) highlighted the variety of friendship models employed by Victorian women, focusing on the female friend’s role in the development of women’s emotional lives and sexualities. Drawing on Marcus’s key insights, this chapter will chart the role of the female friend in the development of Charlotte Brontë’s professional identity and her creation of characters such as Jane Eyre and Lucy Snowe, who speak powerfully of feminist concerns. The chapter will argue that female friends played a crucial part in helping Charlotte Brontë develop an understanding of women’s rights and she went on to find ways to represent feminist ideas in her novels. During her childhood and teenage years Brontë wrote prolifically ‘as a man’, always employing male narrators. Indeed, her juvenilia is characterised by an overtly ‘masculine’ style forged through her collaboration with her brother Branwell and her immersion in the male-dominated discourse of the Tory periodical Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine. She gradually gained a feminist voice following her inclusion in a network of close female friends at Roe Head School, particularly valuing the influence of the radical feminist Mary Taylor, who went on to teach in Europe and then emigrated to New Zealand to set up a shop and become a writer. The letters exchanged between Brontë and her female friends offer valuable insights into the importance of the female network in the mid-nineteenth century, when the professions and higher education were closed to women. Later friends, such as the novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, gave Brontë further opportunities to discuss women’s social roles and explore alternative identities to the prescribed ones of wife and mother. Examining Brontë’s letters, as well as her major novels, this chapter shows how her feminist ideas were shaped through the channels of a Victorian female friendship network.
    • “This Angel, who is now become a Devil, is my particular friend”: Romantic Satanism and Loving Opposition in Good Omens

      Tankard, Alex; University of Chester (McFarland, 2023-08-08)
      In the last years of the Cold War, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett wrote a buddy-comedy about two disillusioned field agents putting humanity before their respective sides to avert nuclear Armageddon. Gaiman’s 2019 television adaptation of Good Omens updated its setting to the present day – a questionable decision in the light of how successfully Ashes to Ashes (2008-2010), Stranger Things (2016-), and The Americans (2013-2018) demonstrated the stylistic and dramatic potential of blending a variety of genres in Cold-War settings. More importantly, while the adaptation kept brief scenes of secret agents meeting in St James Park, they were unrooted from their Cold War context, discarding the novel’s effective (and affective) shorthand for friendship between enemies in the shadow of mutually-assured destruction. In his DVD commentary, Gaiman explained that he “wound up having to write this [screenplay] as a love story. And part of the joy of writing a love story is the breakup” (“Hard Times” 51:58-52:12). For the necessary emotional tension, the adaptation found an imaginative framework in the novel’s literary ancestry: Romantic Satanism. With their partnership as gentleman-spies stripped away, the adaptation exposed, at the core of Crowley and Aziraphale’s relationship, the paradoxical opposition and fluidity of angels and devils found in British Romantic-Satanic literature, like William Blake’s illustrated Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790).