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Title: Encountering Christ through the passion of HIV : an inquiry into the theological meaning of HIV in the Church
Author: Manning, Vincent
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 6102
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: St Mary's University, Twickenham
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis argues that living with HIV today can be understood theologically as a type of 'passion experience'. Ten Christian women and men diagnosed with HIV in England have been interviewed. A close reading of their accounts of Christian life and faith will reveal similarities between their experience and that of Jesus and His disciples during the time from Gethsemane to the Resurrection. I will argue that living with HIV can be interpreted as a type of privileged encounter with Christ in His Passion. The study is structured as a series of encounters with HIV in two parts. In each chapter, in distinct ways, aspects of the phenomenon of HIV are examined. Part I justifies this research, explains why it is needed, and sets out in detail the methodological approach I have taken so that fresh insights and a deeper understanding of what it means to say that 'the body of Christ is living with HIV today' is revealed. I argue that the situation of people living with HIV today is misunderstood. Consequently, their pastoral and spiritual needs are not addressed within the Church. This situation arises because most people think that an HIV diagnosis is no longer as problematic as it once was. I will argue for the importance of memory and set out the historical context of HIV and Aids in both society (chapter one) and in the Church (chapter two) and provide a description of the contemporary reality of living with HIV in this country today. To understand the experience of living with HIV as described by my principle subjects, it is necessary to remember the disruptive force of HIV in both society and the Church and have an accurate description of the present reality. As I will argue, understanding or misunderstanding the past directly effects how HIV and those who live with HIV are encountered. My interviews with eight theologian-practitioners in chapter four will map the theological terrain of HIV. I argue that the significance of HIV is yet to be fully explored and remains potentially disruptive both within the Church and for academic theology. The value of personal encounters with HIV for these theologians will be evidenced. Having contextualised this study socially and theologically, the reader will encounter my principle research participants in their own words in chapter five. I will argue that what HIV means theologically cannot be apprehended with-out vulnerable encounter. Part II presents the main theological argument. An HIV diagnosis will be revealed as a type of gethsemane experience. I will show how my participants have undergone the passion of HIV and the scandal of the cross, and how they have made faith-sense of HIV. I argue that healing and strengthening are needed to carry the cross of HIV as disciples of Christ. Finally, I will argue that insofar as these sisters and brothers remain excluded and neglected, the whole body of Christ is diminished.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: 230 Christianity & Christian theology