Persona Non Grata: Literary-Theological Studies in Personhood

Rouner, Arthur Andrew, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Milbank, A., Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

Persona Non Gram dissertation is a thematic, literary - theological study of Scriptural personhood. The dissertation takes an under - developed topic from Hans Frei's constructive theology, identity and its cognate, personhood, and expands on that subject through an application of Frei's hermeneutic to material not heretofore widely recognized as appropriate for this analytical method. The dissertation takes as its point of departure the possibility that, as Frei's argument that reference to the ‘Jesus of history' and the ‘Christ of faith,' which had come about through historical - critical analysis of Scripture, had made reference to one Jesus Christ incoherent, reference to the Trinity has similarly become incoherent in the modern believing community, and for similar reasons: both Christological and Trinitarian doctrines depend on concepts of personhood. The dissertation argues that extrascriptural concepts of personhood have largely displaced Scriptural concepts of personhood in the contemporary believing community, rendering the broader concepts, which depend on concepts of personhood, apparently incoherent. The dissertation expands the domain of Frei's hermeneutical recommendation from the identification of the narrative of Biblical texts as their meaning, to the identification of the narrative of the believing community beyond the Biblical story, bringing to bear a literary - theological analysis as an alternative analysis to the more conventional historicalcritical analysis of such material. In the course of the application of this analysis, a narrative is constructed which traces the displacement of Scriptural concepts of personhood by extrascriptual concepts, and in so doing, re - coordinates the present believing community with a Scripturally - derived concept of personhood. The dissertation explores the subject of personhood in three primary areas: Chapter 1 brings literary - theological analysis, relying especially on Wittgensteinian critique, to bear on the problem of personhood in Reformation debate and in Enlightenment thought as received in the 20"" century imagination. Chapter 2 examines the problem in connection with Greek tragedy, and Chapter 3 examines the problem in connection with the themes of covenant, idolatry and identity in the OT, especially Genesis and Exodus.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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