Jesus, Transcendence and Generosity: Reading the Christologies of Hans Frei and Dietrich Bonhoeffer Together
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AbstractIn contemporary scholarship, both Hans Frei (1922–1988) and Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) are drawn upon by various scholars seeking to articulate a way between extremes such as fundamentalism, exclusivism or conservatism on one hand, and secularism, pluralism or liberalism on the other. This thesis argues that reading the Christologies of both theologians together towards a theology of the transcendence of Jesus points towards a robust answer to this question of a ‘middle way’ on which they are both put to use. Focussing on their remarkably similar Christological responses to what William Placher calls the domestication of transcendence, this thesis argues that Frei and Bonhoeffer complement and supplement one another’s work towards a theology of the transcendence of Jesus that is grounded in his unsubstitutable history-like identity as the crucified and risen one; and that this kind of theology is at the heart of what makes for what Frei calls a ‘generous orthodoxy’—i.e. a way between the various extremes mentioned above. After reading Frei and Bonhoeffer towards this end, the conclusion also suggests that such a theology derived from their Christologies should be supplemented with a more particular pneumatology, by virtue of which one is able to fully emphasise the broad generosity of God at the heart of a theology of Jesus’ transcendence.
BONIFACE, TIMOTHY,ROGER (2016) Jesus, Transcendence and Generosity: Reading the Christologies of Hans Frei and Dietrich Bonhoeffer Together. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.