Resurrecting Christianities: Critical Theories and Constructive Postcolonial, Postmodern Christianities

By Betcher, Sharon V. | Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

Resurrecting Christianities: Critical Theories and Constructive Postcolonial, Postmodern Christianities


Betcher, Sharon V., Anglican Theological Review


Anyone working in constructive theology surely knows the age of epistemological positivism is over, such that something more than qualifying our proofs positive of a historical Jesus is at stake in the teaching of Christology. As Christians we live within the public humiliation of Christianity-within the decades consequent to its imbrication with racism, sexism, colonialism, and (especially poignant for us in Western Canada) cultural genocide, while currently the public face of Christianity has been assumed as a front for North America's "war against terrorism." Given the ways in which each of these structures of exclusion pivoted upon a Christological conviction, critical theories, like the practice of confession, prevent us from simply burying our sins under the insecurities of our present time. Critical theories help us remediate the ways in which our Christologies, our sacred imaginais, have been imbricated with structural oppression and the ways in which, without remediation of our symbolic imaginai, we will, among other things, metabolize these Christologies of imperial-colonial power and oedipalized disconnection from sentience. For these reasons as well as for reasons of a theologian's own intellectual integrity and ethical responsibility, the Christological curriculum needs to be brought into conversation with critical theories.

But that said, the practice of critical theory can, in the theological classroom, be felt as yet one more, even the final and most vulnerable, challenge to any hope of religious entrustment to life. Theology students, if not Christians in the world at large, can-given the ingress of modernity and their own desire for ontological security-reach for a foundationalist approach to religion, for biblical positivism or literalism-as is verified by the turn to religious fundamentalisms, scripturally-based evangelicalism, and the insularity of narrative communities. So how can progressive Christianities attend to the psychic need of humans, given modernity's dis-embedding technologies so stressing our capacities of life entrustment, without giving up the credible intellectual critiques so important to disrupting the more destructive vectors, that is, those occasioning economic division and ecological decimation, of the globalizing of modernity? The temptation for the academic trained up in modernism may be to present students with various Jesus portraits and Christological propositions and then demonstrate how critical theories invalidate such proposals, or at least produce intellectual skepticism. Applied in this way, critical theories contribute to a modernist epistemological rationalism which elides the lived body in its social milieu and thereby undercut the confidence of the learner. But could there be a way to apply critical theories to what we teach and how we teach, such that these tools of reflection can help us not only ameliorate this age of insecurities, but resurrect Christianities?

In pursuit of that possibility, I here consider where biblical and theological colleagues, working in the dimensions of poststructuralism and other critical theories, suggest we plant or root postcolonial, post-modern conversations on Christology. When we relent our struggles for mastery over Jesus, so much a part of both liberalizing and conserving modern theologies, where does Christological discourse end up? What does the application of critical theories suggest about the shape and content of Christologies for a feminist, postmodern, post-colonial context? This is not to say that critical theories can do everything for us. The practice of theology makes claims on us-to posit value, to promote livable imaginais-which are not necessarily the responsibility of other critical theories. Critical theories can help us undertake ethical, analytic reflection on our practice and help us, through something like theological archaeology,1 to recuperate theological wisdom from various historical strata of Christian experience. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Resurrecting Christianities: Critical Theories and Constructive Postcolonial, Postmodern Christianities
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.