Imagining human flourishing? : a systematic theological exploration of contemporary soteriological discourses

Marais, Nadia (2015-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: An inquiry into the nature and manifestations of human happiness is evidently today an important focus for many academic disciplines. The contemporary revival in happiness studies is accompanied by studies on the rhetoric of happiness. Theologians approach such inquiries from a variety of perspectives, but it would appear as if a deliberate shift from the rhetoric of happiness to the rhetoric of human flourishing is taking place. The intuitive location of such an inquiry is soteriology, because of the doctrine of salvation’s focus on the good news of the gospel. Therefore this study approaches the inquiry into happiness from the landscape of salvation, by way of theological cartography, wherein three contemporary discourses are identified. A first discourse portrays salvation as reconcilitation, wherein a forensic interpretation plays a pivotal role. John Calvin, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and Willie Jonker are examined as three influential types of this discourse. A soteriological logic of faith is identified as a central pattern within this discourse, also in portraying human flourishing as piety, joy, and comfort. A second discourse portrays salvation as liberation, wherein an ethical interpretation plays a central role. Gustavo Gutiérrez, Mercy Oduyoye, and Russel Botman are held up as three influential types of this discourse. An eschatological logic of hope is identified as an important pattern within this discourse, also in portraying human flourishing as a fulfilled life, healing, and dignity. A third discourse portrays salvation as transformation, wherein an aesthetical interpretation plays a core role. Serene Jones, Ellen Charry, and Denise Ackermann are employed as three influential types of this discourse. A creative logic of love is inextricably wound into this discourse, also in portraying human flourishing as grace, happiness, and blessing. Together, these three logics function within triadic form in order to respond to the questions and challenges of the day. In conclusion, contemporary discourses on salvation appear to have, in all three of the forms outlined in this study, to do with human flourishing – whether as piety, joy, or comfort; as a fulfilled life, healing, or dignity; as grace, happiness, or blessing.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die vraag na die aard en vorme van menslike geluk is tans aan die orde in ‘n verskeidenheid van akademiese dissiplines. ‘n Opbloei in gelukstudies gaan gepaard met ‘n ondersoek na die retoriek van geluk. Teoloë benader hierdie ondersoek vanuit ‘n verskeidenheid van uitgangspunte, maar daar blyk ‘n doelbewuste skuif te wees vanaf die retoriek van geluk na die retoriek van menslike florering. Die intuïtiewe tuiste van so ‘n ondersoek is die soteriologie, met die verlossingsleer se fokus op die goeie nuus van die evangelie. Derhalwe benader hierdie studie ook die ondersoek na geluk vanuit die landskap van verlossing, by wyse van teologiese karteerwerk, en word drie kontemporêre diskoerse daarin geïdentifiseer. ‘n Eerste diskoers beeld verlossing as versoening uit, en het daarmee hoofsaaklik ‘n forensiese interpretasie voor oë. Johannes Calvyn, Friedrich Schleiermacher, en Willie Jonker word as drie invloedryke van hierdie diskoers voorgehou. ‘n Soteriologiese logika van geloof speel binne hierdie diskoers ‘n sentrale rol, ook uiteindelik in die uitbeelding van menslike florering as vroomheid, vreugde, en troos. ‘n Tweede diskoers beeld verlossing as bevryding uit, en het daarmee hoofsaaklik ‘n etiese interpretasie ingedagte. Gustavo Gutiérrez, Mercy Oduyoye, en Russel Botman word as drie invloedryke tipes van hierdie diskoers voorgehou. ‘n Eskatologiese logika van hoop funksioneer binne hierdie diskoers, ook uiteindelik in die uitbeelding van menslike florering as ‘n vervulde lewe, genesing, en waardigheid. ‘n Derde diskoers beeld verlossing as transformasie uit, en het daarmee hoofsaaklik ‘n estetiese interpretasie ingedagte. Serene Jones, Ellen Charry, en Denise Ackermann word as drie invloedryke tipes van hierdie diskoers voorgehou. ‘n Skeppingslogika van liefde is aan die orde binne hierdie diskoers, ook uiteindelik in die uitbeelding van menslike florering as genade, geluk, en seën. Sáám funksioneer hierdie drie logikas binne triadiese verband om op die vrae en uitdagings van die dag te reageer. Kontemporêre diskoerse oor verlossing het, ten slotte, in al drie die vorme wat in hierdie studie uiteengesit word te make met menslike florering – hetsy as vroomheid, vreugde, of troos; as ‘n vervulde lewe, genesing, of waardigheid; as genade, geluk, of seën.

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