Prodigal Christ: The Parable of the Prodigal Son in the Theologies of Julian of Norwich and Karl Barth

Cox, Kendall, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Hart, Kevin, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

This dissertation sets Karl Barth’s exegesis of Luke 15:11-32 in conversation with Julian of Norwich’s Example of the Lord and Servant. I present Julian’s story as a gloss on the Parable of the Prodigal Son that prefigures Barth’s later Christological interpretation in which he identifies Jesus Christ with the younger son. Drawing on Paul Ricoeur’s account of intertextuality, I demonstrate the coherence of such an identification and argue that Julian and Barth discern an overlooked interpretive trajectory arising from the Lukan text itself. Finally, I assess the radical doctrinal implications of their interpretations and consider the significance of parable as a mode of theology that is particularly well suited for Christological and Trinitarian reflection.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Julian of Norwich, Karl Barth, Luke 15, Parable of the Prodigal Son, Paul Ricoeur, Phenomenology of Parable, Theology, Doctrine of Election
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