Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Suffering, tragedy, vulnerability : a triangulated examination of the divine-human relationship in Hans Urs von Balthasar, Rowan Williams, and Sarah Coakley
Author: Cha, Boram
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 6174
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2019
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The present thesis puts the trinitarianism, christology, and anthropology of Hans Urs von Balthasar's kenotic theology, Rowan Williams's tragic theology, and Sarah Coakley's ascetic theology into critical and triangulated conversation: in order to argue that suffering and death is ontologized at the same level as love and life in God in the kenotic trinitarianism of Balthasar; that the tragic is given an ontological value in the tragic imagination of Williams; and that vulnerability is essentialized in the ascetic spirituality of Coakley. I will argue that, on the whole, their arguments tend to put a positive light on the darkness of suffering as that which proves to be christologically meaningful, and portray the divine-human relationship competitively in a shared proclivity for emphasizing Jesus's cry of dereliction on the cross ("My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"). A concern that moves the tripartite chapters forwards is to examine how these three respected thinkers are inclined more or less to conceive the divine-human encounter and the God-world relation competitively, and to show how that unfortunate conception serves to sacralize suffering, tragedy, and vulnerability in their accounts of divine-human relationship. In this context, I will consent to Coakley's critique that the classical understanding of non-competitive divine-human relation is undermined in Balthasar's kenotic theo-dramatics; and I will argue that although a non-competitive account is formally affirmed and espoused by Williams as well as Coakley, it is effectively operative neither in Williams's tragic imagination nor in Coakley's kneeling practice. What a non-competitive account of divine-human relations means is gradually fleshed out, with recurrent references to Kathryn Tanner, over the course of the thesis. It is given fuller expression in the final chapter's examination of the coincidence of divine-human goodness implied in the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, albeit without intending to delve into specialist knowledge.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available