Towards a theology of relationship: Emil Brunner’s Truth as Encounter in light of relationship science

Berra, Michael Stefan (2021) Towards a theology of relationship: Emil Brunner’s Truth as Encounter in light of relationship science. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology. [Thesis]

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We live in an era of relationality and relationships that might be considered a unique point in history as relations are of utmost importance in almost every field of science and society. For theology, however, this is nothing new. Having a personal relationship with God is a common Christian expression and has even become an evangelical ‘shibboleth’. While this notion of relationship with God usually lacks a clear definition and its explication is often deeply flawed, this thesis argues nevertheless for a theology of relationship. Based on Emil Brunner’s seminal work Truth as Encounter, it is boldly proposed that relationship must be the prime leitmotif for the whole of theology. By re-introducing Brunner as a relational theologian that should be preferred over so-called relational theologies, trinitarian theologies and Karl Barth, he is suggested as a solid foundation that should be rediscovered for future investigations. Brunner’s basic category of personal correspondence or I-You relationship is summarised as reciprocal, asymmetric, free and marked by self-disclosure and responsiveness. Based on this taxonomy, the analogy of relationships is under scrutiny (is it accurate to speak of a relationship with God?) by investigating it in light of relationship science leading to the final analogical argument proposing that God-human interaction is indeed categorically a relationship and existentially intended to be intimate. Consequently, theologically this relationship needs to be the leitmotif leading to a theology of relationship rather than a relational theology. Finally, ten propositions for further research towards a theology of relationship are made to integrate the material, existential and formal dimensions of the leitmotif of relationship.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Sustainable Development Goals:
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 36661
Depositing User: Lisa Blanshard
Date Deposited: 26 Oct 2022 15:44
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 10:34

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