Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.745401
Title: The content and implications of George MacDonald's theology with particular reference to his concept of 'the child'
Author: de Jong, John Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 0169
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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Abstract:
George MacDonald (1824–1905) was writing at a time of Evangelical unease. Some, in the face of challenge, retreated behind the walls of traditional Evangelical dogma, while others accom-modated their beliefs to a rapidly changing world. This ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ bifurcation of Evangelicalism provoked a response from MacDonald: he brings before us a child that offers a via media. Appearances are deceptive: it may look ‘Romantic’, but is rather a radical, sacra-mental icon undermining false doctrines of God and challenging the human response. This is a necessarily broad study, not only to do justice to the complexity of the Victorian context, but because MacDonald’s theology—which Chesterton described as ‘jewels in an une-ven setting’—is fragmented in an unsystematic opus of some fifty volumes of varying genre. An overview of MacDonald’s theology is constructed first; this is then used as the foundation for a close reading of his more opaque works before answering the question: What are the theo-logical implications of MacDonald’s ‘child’? This overview is presented in Chapter 5. To construct this, we consider (in Chapters 1–4) the wider context of MacDonald’s thought: his interlocutors, key influences, and social context. We consider, in some detail, the Victorian child: How did his contemporaries, religious and otherwise, view this enigma at the heart of society? What theology shaped those views? How did MacDonald challenge such received wisdom? We then use our wider, and more specific, understanding of MacDonald’s theology as a foundation for a more nuanced reading of fantasy novels such as Phantastes and Lilith (Chap-ters 6–8): these, it is proposed, do not illustrate what he thinks; they are what he thinks, and are a rich theological source. We close (Chapter 9) with a critical evaluation of MacDonald’s ‘theology of the child’, evaluating its contribution to theology today.
Supervisor: Quash, Jonathan Ben ; Ledger-Lomas, Michael Charles Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.745401  DOI: Not available
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