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Title: Transforming news : a theological and critical analysis of contemporary Christian news handling in the light of the Apostle Paul's Corinthian hardship narratives
Author: Plyming, Philip
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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In this thesis I consider the contribution that the apostle Paul can make to a theological critique of Christian news handling. In the opening chapter I describe the complex context in which Christian communicators, both professional and lay, find themselves handling news stories and suggest why their task is a demanding one, not least because of the significant theological questions it raises. I conclude that such a critique of this communicative practice is overdue. The study then proceeds in two stages. In part one I make the case for including Paul in a research field where he has now been overlooked, and then discuss a number of texts in the apostle’s Corinthian correspondence which focus on its own hardship and suffering. I suggest that these passages are not only examples of Paul handling news but also, when read in the light of 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, indicate a theologically coherent approach to this practice on the part of the apostle. I conclude that the Corinthian hardship narratives involve an understanding of news handling that can be described as cruciform, that is, informed both in style and content by the cross of Christ. In the second part I use this Pauline model to inform a critique of two examples of contemporary news handling, analysed using qualitative research methodology: the Church of England’s handling of its own attendance statistics, and the newspaper Alpha News, published by Holy Trinity Brompton. Through interviews with those responsible for handling the news, textual analysis and focus group-led reception analysis, I explore the wider issues raised by each example of news handling and then show how a model of cruciform news can shed significant theological light on these issues and thus the challenges facing the faithful Christian communicator. I conclude the apostle Paul has a distinctive and significant contribution to make to contemporary Christian news handling, and that a cruciform model of news might help transform our understanding of this important communicative practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available