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Title: Church, gospel and empire : a theological enquiry into the manner in which empire has impacted ecclesial formation and displaced originary gospel principles in the course of church history, indicating an alternative direction for future theology and praxis
Author: Haydon, Roger
ISNI:       0000 0004 2752 9457
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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This dissertation will argue that at an early stage in ecclesiastical history, the tradition's founding and constituent principles were betrayed by a complicity with the prevailing politics of sovereignty. This has led to a recasting of divine transcendence in terms of sovereign power and a displacement of Christianity by Christendom, from which the Western church has not recovered. The thesis follows the contours of contemporary theologians who seek to explain a dislocation between faith and socio- political life in terms of a fall in early modernity, but proposes that the earlier compromise represents a more decisive and determinative fall. In order to trace the genealogy of this compromise, the dissertation will examine its various manifestations in four synchronic historical studies. These are the third/fourth century writings of Eusebius of Caesarea; the early thirteenth century careers of Pope Innocent III and Emperor Frederick Il; the late seventeenth-century latitudinarianism of William Ill, Gilbert Burnet and the associated founding of the Bank of England; and the contemporary expression of what Hardt and Negri have termed 'Empire' and the rise of the politics of biopower. Through this genealogy, the historical alignment of the Christian church with the mundane politics of sovereign power will be demonstrated. The contemporary significance of this alignment, it will be argued, is that the Christian church is robbed of any political emancipatory potential. The final section of the dissertation will gesture towards ways in which theology may recover such a potential. Drawing on an alternative theological configuration which will already have been intimated in the four studies, the final section will develop an innovative Christological configuration of kenosis or what is termed 'kenarchy.' This will provide a re-imagining of the divine distinct from its implication with imperial sovereignty which could allow theology to make a more effective contemporary political intervention.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available