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Title: Christian kinship : relatedness in Christian practice and moral thought
Author: Torrance, David Alan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 072X
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2017
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Ideas of kinship play a significant role in structuring everyday life, and yet kinship has been neglected in Christian ethics, as well as moral philosophy and bioethics. Attention has been paid in these disciplines to the ethics of ‘family,’ but little regard has been paid to the fact that kinship is not a given, but is culturally contingent. The thesis seeks to remedy the neglect in recent Christian theological ethics by drawing on resources from the history of Christian thought and practice. It uses social anthropology both to unsettle the accounts of kinship used in Christian ethics, and to expose elements in Christian traditions of thought and practice relating to kinship. Notions of shared bodily substance, the house, gender and personhood recur cross-culturally in giving shape to kinship. By examining these four notions as they inform Christian thought and practice, a theological account is developed. Chapters dedicated to each of these four attempt to provide, in the first instance, a descriptive account of how the notion has structured Christian thought and practice in relation to kinship. Each chapter then turns, in the second instance, to a critical mode, offering a theological treatment of the chapter topic as it bears on kinship. The thesis concludes that kinship in Christ should be considered normatively primary for the Christian, but also that there are ways in which Christians have honoured this kinship in Christ by organising and playing out kinship on a smaller scale. In detailing the distinctively Christian organising principles that structure some practices of kinship ‘in miniature,’ another common practice – the special privileging of the blood tie in structuring kinship – is singled out for critique.
Supervisor: Banner, Michael Charles Sponsor: Church of England ; University of Cambridge
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Theology ; Ethics ; Christian Ethics ; Kinship ; Relatedness ; Anthropology ; Blood ; House ; Gender ; Substance ; Personhood ; Richard Baxter ; St Benedict ; Augustine ; Karl Barth ; Family ; David Schneider ; Janet Carsten ; Michael Banner ; Martin Luther ; Puritans ; Late Antiquity ; Assisted Reproductive Technologies ; IVF ; L'Arche ; Monasticism ; Spiritual Kinship ; Baptism ; Eucharist ; Marriage ; Adoption ; Reproduction ; Bioethics