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Title: The pneumatological and eschatological methodology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's ecclesiology
Author: Emerton, David
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 2648
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis argues that Dietrich Bonhoeffer understands the church as a pneumatological and eschatological community in space and time. In understanding the church thus, the thesis contends that Bonhoeffer's ecclesial thought is built on pneumatological and apocalyptically eschatological foundations that give rise to a unique methodological approach to ecclesiological description – an approach that enables Bonhoeffer to proffer a genuinely theological ecclesiological account in which both divine and human agency are held together through an account of God the Holy Spirit: both God's own being and the being of the church's sociohistorical or human empirical form are spoken of appropriately with due concern for appropriate dogmatic ordering and proportionality in ecclesiological description. Critically, the thesis considers this pneumatological and eschatological 'both/and' ecclesiological methodology therapeutic to an endemic 'either/or' problematic present in contemporary approaches to ecclesiological discourse: that of attending in an account of the church either to the sociohistorical or human empirical church-community 'ethnographically', or to the life of God 'dogmatically'; and to each (problematically) at the expense of the other. The thesis suggests, therefore, that Bonhoeffer's ecclesial thought breaks open a necessary 'third way' in ecclesiological description between the Scylla of 'ethnographic' ecclesiology and the Charybdis of 'dogmatic' ecclesiology, and thereby establishes a programmatic theological grammar for ecclesiology per se. To substantiate these claims, chapter 1 diagnoses the endemic 'either/or' problematic in relation to contemporary ecclesiological literature. Chapter 2 then identifies the pneumatological and apocalyptically eschatological foundations of Bonhoeffer's ecclesial thought. Chapter 3 articulates how Bonhoeffer's 'both/and' ecclesiological methodology is built on these pneumatological and apocalyptically eschatological foundations and serves to treat the endemic 'either/or' problematic therapeutically. Chapters 4 and 5 together then outline the way in which Bonhoeffer's pneumatological and eschatological 'both/and' ecclesiological methodology further enables him to account for the socio-historical or human empirical church-community in a genuinely theological way. In both chapters, Bonhoeffer's theological conceptualization of spatio-temporality is explicated to demonstrate how, to account for the church's being in space and time, it is necessary to speak theologically about empirical phenomenology, both in accordance with and as a further exemplification of the 'both/and' ecclesiological methodology of Bonhoeffer's ecclesial thought.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: St. Luke's College Foundation ; Foundation of St. Matthias ; University of Aberdeen ; St Stephen's Church ; Twickenham
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Church