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Title: "Even to your old age I am he, and to grey hairs I will carry you" : theological anthropology, phenomenology, and ageing
Author: Likely, Caireen Alana
ISNI:       0000 0004 7659 0027
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
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This study brings together Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology and Dietrich Bonhoeffer's theology to contest the Modern Model of the Subject (MMS) and to provide a model of subjectivity, and theological anthropology, that can better account for how ageing humans continue to present themselves qua subjects. It begins with an overview of the emergence of the MMS as a disengaged thinker with a cognitively held self, who is marked by cognitively-driven deliberative acts; and it highlights the ways in which this model may disenfranchise the ageing as humans. The process of reimagining this model begins with the phenomenological method which re-embeds the human subject in its bodily, social, and natural contexts. It continues with Merleau-Ponty's concept of bodysubject which points to the significance and pervasiveness of the body and to the self as a global, porous feature of the subject. A consideration of phenomenology's approach to knowledge reveals its inadequacies for a full, theological reimagining of subjectivity. Thus, the study turns to Bonhoeffer's theology to present the human subject as bodysubject before God. As body-subjects before God, humans are creatures characterised by bodiliness and a radical finitude which manifests as radical dependence and radical limitedness. Moreover, the humiliation of Jesus Christ reveals the frailty and fragility of human bodiliness, the openness and neediness of human dependence, and presents human limitedness in terms of suffering the work of God. Thus, passive receiving becomes the genuinely human act. An engagement with the work of Jean Améry, Frits de Lange, and John Swinton tests the hermeneutic strength of this reimagined subjectivity and theological anthropology for interpreting the experiences of ageing as those of a subject. The study concludes by sketching a theology and ethics of ageing, based upon this reimagined subjectivity and theological anthropology, which sees and values the ageing as humans who reveal the life of Jesus Christ.
Supervisor: Mawson, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theological anthropology ; Aging ; Phenomenology