Date of Submission



This thesis explores the transformative potential of theological categories within Western Christianity. In particular, this thesis explores the categories of memory, narrative and solidarity and their relationship to the broader categories of history; language; and community. The relationships between these categories are engaged by way of critically comparing and contrasting the political theology of Johannes Baptist Metz and the feminist theological hermeneutics of Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza. This thesis traces the roots of these categories from the political theology of Johannes Baptist Metz and critically explores how the feminist theological hermeneutics of Schussler Fiorenza both uses and develops them. This exploration reveals the debt feminist theologies owe to political theology for the critical and emancipatory articulation of memory, narrative and solidarity. It also reveals important connections between memory, narrative and solidarity and the broader categories of history, language and community. Accordingly, this thesis explores the implications of a feminist engagement with the relationships between: history and memory; language and narrative; community and solidarity. By way of an intensification of the particular a critical feminist perspective more clearly extends the theological potential of these relationships and so illuminates their importance in a vitally -- and even radically -- new way. In the work of Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza this extension is most clearly expressed through her critique of the kyriarchal socio-religious structures of Western culture and society which she grounds by way of a particular focus the church as the ekklesia of women. Accordingly, this thesis is divided into six chapters. Chapter One positions feminist theologies within the broader tradition of Western culture and society.;Chapter Two briefly traces the historical, philosophical and theological heritage of political and feminist theologies as theologies of social critique. Chapter Three examines the contemporary historical consciousness of Western society and deals with the concerns feminist theologies have with Western history. In understanding history as both the liberative and oppressive story of human agency this chapter explores the use of memory as a tool for the emancipation of Christian history. In Chapter Four we look at the formative power of language as the medium through which humanity understands existence and reality. By way of a feminist critique, this chapter explores how language can operate to both facilitate and inhibit the liberative stories of the Christian tradition. Chapter Five examines the basic vision and structure of community. Here, the conditions that help foster women's solidarity and contribute to the nurturing of authentic relationships and vital Christian communities are explored. Chapter Six reviews Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza's contribution to the transformative potential of the theological categories of memory, narrative and solidarity and offers two general critiques for further discussion. Chapter Six then concludes this thesis by engaging both Metz and Schussler Fiorenza in a critical-rhetorical reading of their work.

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Open Access


253 pages


Faculty of Arts and Sciences