• The Allusivity of Grammar: Developing theory and pedagogy for linguistic aesthetics

      Sweetman, Robert; de Boer, Julia Rosalinda; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2018-01-11)
    • Incarnating the God Who May Be: Christology and Incarnational Humanism in Bonhoeffer and Kearney

      Kuipers, Ron; Novak, Mark Fraser; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2017)
      This thesis examines questions of humanity and divinity that are pressing in contemporary philosophy and theology as seen in the thought of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Richard Kearney. Both these thinkers seek to address issues around transcendence/immanence, sameness/difference, ontology/ethics, and post-metaphysical approaches to God. Chapter one explores the many convergences in their thinking with regards to these topics. Chapter two looks at the main divergence in their thinking: their respective Christologies. Chapter three, following up on the exploration of convergences and divergences in their thought, examines a possible way in which to mediate the difference in their otherwise similar patterns of thinking. The thesis aims, overall, to show that a Christologically-based incarnational humanism is a suitable and appropriate live option that is not only biblical, but also responds to issues in both contemporary philosophy and theology, providing a way to understand how the possibility of divine incarnation depends upon our ongoing human response.
    • Unwrapping the Gift: Empty Notion or Valuable Concept?

      Sweetman, Robert; Polce, Jonathon Emil; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2016-05)
      The concept of the gift has received ample philosophical attention in recent decades. Thinkers such as Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion have been major contributors to the conversation philosophically. However, their conclusions around the gift -- while generating many fruitful notions -- leave the gift impoverished from our ordinary experience. Further, their reflections make it difficult to predicated giftedness of existence. This thesis argues for a need to rethink the gift along different lines which seeks to widen the gift in order to be able to predicate it of existence. In order to make such an argument, the ideas of Kenneth Schmitz on the gift are recovered. Schmitz argues for an understanding of giftedness that includes a notion of reciprocity and receptivity -- contra Marion and Derrida. It is this notion of receptivity that makes Schmitz' framework able to be predicated of existence. Existence, understood as gifted, opens up fruitful avenues for anthropology and ethics, as well as argues for a certain disposition towards reality that is centered in wonder and gratitude.
    • "In the Embrace of Absolute Life": A Reading of Christology and Selfhood in Michel Henry's "Christian Trilogy"

      Ansell, Nicholas; Vanderleek, Ethan P.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2016-04)
      Michel Henry (1922-2002) was a leading 20th century French philosopher in the school of phenomenology. The final three books of his career focus on explicitly Christian themes and texts, and these books are now known as his “Christian trilogy”. This essay focuses on this trilogy in an exposition of Henry’s Christology, his concept of the Self, and how Christology and selfhood relate to each other. The exposition of Henry’s thought on this issue is stated in the following thesis, broken into three sections: 1) God always reveals himself as Christ 2) who reveals the Truth of the Self, 3) this revelation being identical with salvation. Said again, 1) God’s Revelation is always God’s self-revelation in Christ, and is never separate from 2) the human condition of the Self as a Son of God, and this condition is never separate from 3) salvation. Revelation, selfhood, and salvation. This essay is largely expository but several constructive attempts are made to apply Henry’s philosophy of Christianity to key theological themes, namely atonement, pneumatology, and ecclesiology.
    • Relationship Issues: Forgiveness and Promising According to Hannah Arendt and Jacques Derrida

      Hoff, Shannon; Ratzlaff, Caleb; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015-08-31)
      In retrospect this learning experience lead me to two conclusions. First, the way we hold someone responsible must reflect the openness and vulnerability of the actor and those to whom she relates. What we do when we hold someone responsible, administering a sentence, for example, must respond to the unending process of interaction and transformation that defines the human person in intersubjective life. This essentially describes the meaning and limits of holding someone responsible. The second lesson was more directly addressed in this thesis. It concerns the idea that the uncertain and vulnerable characteristics of the self that accompany our transformability, are not simply detriments to responsibility. Rather, the uncertain nature of a self as it exists in relationship with others is a condition of meaningfulness, responsibility, and love. As a condition of responsibility, our finitude calls for the sustaining ethical practices of promises and forgiveness. Uncertainty, even in its greatest manifestations as birth and death, is something we can embrace.
    • From Cynical Reason to Spiritual Creativity: An Exercise in Religious Anthropodicy

      Sweetman, Robert; Dettloff, Dean; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2015)
      This thesis explores the cultural ideology of cynicism as identified and critiqued by Peter Sloterdijk, who describes cynicism as an "enlightened false consciousness" that is "universal and diffuse." As an ideology, cynicism perpetuates the conditions of unjust society, but it is impervious to criticism. Instead of further critique, the thesis suggests religious traditions can offer means of overcoming the enclosure of cynical consciousness. Chapter one outlines Sloterdijk's approach to cynicism, including its historical development. Chapter two considers cynicism as a problem of self-understanding and proposes religion reveals that human beings are malleable through practices and techniques. Chapter three looks at three such techniques--awareness, compassion, and creativity--and offers them as solutions to cynical consciousness. The thesis aims, overall, to offer a way of considering the continued relevance and possibility of religious traditions, practices, and techniques to a cynical society such that alternative self-understandings and alternative social configurations might be made possible.
    • The I's Relationship to the other as Transcendent, Foundational, and Ethical in Levinas' Totality and Infinity

      Hoff, Shannon; Hanna, Eric James John; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2013-07)
      An interpretation and application of the key insights about the I and the other from Emmanuel Levinas' book: Totality and Infinity. The first chapter interprets Levinas' terminology, specifically his notions of the I and the other, and shows how he describes human experience. The second chapter explores how the other is transcendent to the I as a site of ongoing possibility for the significance of experience, how the other founds the I during human development in the person of the caregiver, and how the I's basic relationship to the other has an ethical character. The third chapter applies these insights to show how they can lead to a more authentic living out of interpersonal relationships and to better ways of thinking about human living in social and political contexts.
    • Speaking Bodies: Communication and Freedom in Fichte and Merleau-Ponty

      Hoff, Shannon; Morrisey, Jeffrey James; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2012-05)
      Drawing on the ideas of J.G. Fichte and M. Merleau-Ponty, I argue that experience and freedom are intersubjective, linguistic, and bodily. In the first chapter, I take up Fichte's three "fundamental principles" from the Science of Knowledge alongside his ideas of embodiment and intersubjectivity from the Foundations of Natural Right to show that all experience is an indefinite mixture of self and not-self, and, therefore, that both the experiences of self-consciousness and its freedom must also be accomplished with reference to the not-self, and particularly others. The second chapter is an examination of Merleau-Ponty's account of expression in his Phenomenology of Perception. The key insight I pursue here is that the medium of expression, which makes possible all significance, is bodily and intersubjective, and that any expressive act is therefore both self-opaque and soliciting cooperation. In the end, I turn to how this cooperation, i.e. freedom, should be enacted.
    • The Risk of Hospitality: Selfhood, Otherness, and Ethics in Deconstruction and Phenomenological Hermeneutics

      Kuipers, Ronald A.; Bonney, Nathan D.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2012-05)
      This thesis argues that attitudes of inhospitality operate subtly in our politics, in our religious beliefs and practices, and in our understandings of who we are. Consequently, the question of hospitality - what it is and what it signifies - is an urgent one for us to address. In this thesis I examine and outline the hermeneutics-deconstruction debate over the experience of otherness and what it means to respond to others ethically (or hospitably). In the first two chapters I defend the importance of properly understanding the ethics of both Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. Against the concerns of Paul Ricoeur and Richard Kearney, I maintain that a Levinasian and Derridean insistence on answering to the call of an unconditional hospitality is the best way forward in our attempt to respond with justice to strangers. Next, by engaging Martin Hagglund's objection to an ethical reading of Derridean unconditionality, I give attention to the theme of negotiation in Derrida's later work, a theme which I take to be the central feature of his account of hospitality. I conclude by proposing five theses concerning hospitality. These theses provide an overview of the main themes discussed in this thesis and once more address the various tensions internal to the concept of hospitality.
    • What Children Can Do: a Polycultural Garden Theory of Development for Education

      Blomberg, Doug; Huinink, Kevin; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2012-05)
      Limitation theories in developmental psychology have had a profound effect on educational practice; namely, theories that have been widely used to define what is developmentally inappropriate for children to do. Current research is presented to suggest new ways to think about the abilities of children and to challenge the popular applications of limitation theories. Modal theory as understood by reformed Christian philosophies is presented in a framework to view human development. The result is a new polycultural (cosmonomically diverse) theory of human development. Holistic education is investigated as a possible ally by comparing and contrasting it to the proposed theory and its application to education. Finally, the image and metaphor of a garden are introduced to enhance this polycultural theory and to offer application with suggestions for further study.
    • Translation of the Implicit: Tracing How Language Works Beyond Gendlin and Derrida

      Zuidervaart, Lambert; Huisman, Jelle; Institute for Christian Studies (2012)
      This thesis discusses the explication of the implicit side of language, from the perspective of the self, the social, and the text, as situated in the wider context of thinking about language 'beyond post-modernism.' Language is first discussed as an intricacy, an intricate and changing complex of explicit signs and implicit elements and processes. It is shown that the implicit processes, such the speaking of being (Heidegger), focusing (Gendlin), and the interrelatedness of language and culture (Agar), are ruptured by processes like deconstruction (Derrida) and the semiotic breach of the symbolic (Kristeva). Explication brings a part of the implicit to the surface in the form of creativity (Deleuze) and critique, which is also discussed in the examples of play (Gadamer) and care. The transformations involved are illustrated in reflections on writing (Plato), poetry (Trakl), life as immigrant, and on translation as a philosophical practice.
    • Discourse and the Common Good: Legitimation and Plurality in Habermas and MacIntyre

      Chaplin, Jonathan; Smith, Adam Benjamin; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2006)
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    • Forgiveness: the Gift and Its Counterfeit

      Olthuis, James H.; VanderBerg, James; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2002-11)
    • Nemesis and Fulness: Reinhold Niebuhr's Vision of History, 1927-1934

      McIntire, Thomas; Moquist, Tod Nolan; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2001-01)
      There are many excellent studies of the life and thought of Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), prominent Christian ethicist, social philosopher, and political activist of the American Century. Most studies focus on his mature works of mid-century, particularly his theological ethics. The following study treats his emergent theory of history between 1927-1934, especially the idea of progress and the narrative of modern capitalist society. During this formative period Niebuhr wrote three major books (Does Civilization Need Religion? [1927], Moral Man and Immoral Society [1932], and Reflections on the End of an Era [1934]) which reflect his intellectual passage from religious liberalism and the politics of persuasion to "Christian-Marxism" and the politics of power. The following thesis will trace the diverse historiographical influences found in these works, from the church-historical perspective of Ernst Troeltsch to the dialectical materialism of Karl Marx. It is common to say that Niebuhr was purely a theologian of history. But following Ricoeur and White, I describe the main ingredients of a philosophy of history that are present in these writings: myth, plot, social processes, patterns of progress and cycle. Moreover, he was a "thinker in time"--these philosophical elements combined to render a plausible and meaningful narrative context for social action. In the early period Niebuhr began his lifelong critique of Enlightenment, capitalism, and the idea of progress. Following Robert Nisbet's analysis of the concept of progress in Western cultural history, I will argue that Niebuhr traverses his own peculiar dialectics of history, moving from the idea of progress-as-freedom (in the twenties) to the idea of progress-as-power (in the thirties); from the form of irony to the form of tragedy; from the concept of the voluntary reform of the excesses of captialism to the concept of the frank use of coercion to implement a socialist alternative to captialism. His philosophy of history in this period thus reflects in Christian idiom aspects of the very antinomies of the Enlightenment regarding personality and power, freedom and fate, which he desires to overcome.
    • Speech as Metaphor of Human Becoming According to St. Augustine of Hippo

      Marshall, Paul A.; Filipenko, Yana; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 2000)
    • Tracing Ruth in the Straits and Islands of Im/emigrant Blood: Be/longing in Rootedness and Routedness

      Olthuis, James H.; Lai, Anthony D.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1999)
    • Revealing/Reveiling the Sacred: the Atheology of Mark C. Taylor

      Olthuis, James H.; Robinson, Julie; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1998)
    • Power and Mutuality in Modern Foreign Language Education: The Possibility of a Christian Orientation

      Olthuis, James H.; Smith, David Ian; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1997-09)
    • Liberal Progressivism and Public Policy: A Foundational Analysis of Unemployment Insurance in Canada

      Marshall, Paul A.; Hogeterp, Michael C.; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1995-10)
    • Independent Filmmaking: Projecting a Screen of Particularity With Integration

      Seerveld, Calvin; Macklin, Scott; Institute for Christian Studies (Institute for Christian Studies, 1995)