Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

'Overlapping membership' and the two natures of Jesus Christ: A nonsupersessionist Christology
by Driedger Hesslein, Susannah Kayko, Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union, 2013, 260; 3576263
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation fills a gap in nonsupersessionist theologies by constructing a Christology that brings together Jesus' particular Jewish existence (his human nature) and his universal transcendence (his divine nature), while maintaining the equality, unity, and full participation of both natures. This Christology proposes that both natures interact in a relationship of multiple-formativity to constitute the one person of the Incarnation through 'contextual universalism' and 'overlapping membership.'

Using frameworks from the areas of multicultural theory and political theory, this dissertation first identifies the processes by which classical and contextual Christologies negotiate difference in the Incarnation. In doing so, it exposes that Jesus' Jewishness is problematically supplanted as Christologies unite the two natures of Christ through assimilationism, a process undergirded by the presupposition that coexistent differences cause untenable conflict that can be resolved only through a single agent that homogenizes difference.

Destabilizing this presupposition and counteracting its results, this project then constructs a new conceptual framework for Christology that simultaneously differentiates and unites the two natures without assimilating either nature or dispensing with Jesus' Jewish particularity. Building from Toni Erskine's work in international relations theory and her model of 'embedded cosmopolitanism,' this work proposes 'contextual universalism' for understanding the differentiated unity of the two natures. To accommodate this new understanding, Laurel C. Schneider's theological anthropology and Rita Dhamoon's theory of difference are brought together to define Jesus Christ's human nature as constituted of a unique constellation of multiple, relationally-engaged contexts. Through an integration of Bikhu Parekh's political theory and Mayra Rivera's theology, the divine nature is interpreted as the unassimilable and transcendent Other that protects and connects innumerable differences. This dissertation then adapts Erskine's concept of 'overlapping membership' to propose a Christology wherein the particular, Jewish, human nature and the universal, divine nature of Jesus Christ engage in a relationship of interactivity and multiple-formativity in the one person of the Incarnation.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Grau, Marion
Commitee: Abu-laban, Yasmeen, Cattoi, Thomas, Joslyn-Siemiatkoski, Daniel
School: Graduate Theological Union
Department: Systematic Theology
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 75/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Theology, International Relations
Keywords: Christology, Jesus Christ, Multiculturalism, Nonsupersessionist
Publication Number: 3576263
ISBN: 978-1-303-57263-0
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