Holy spirit, holy bodies?: Pentecostal spirituality, pneumatology and the politics of embodiment

Stone, Selina Rachel ORCID: 0000-0002-6675-3326 (2021). Holy spirit, holy bodies?: Pentecostal spirituality, pneumatology and the politics of embodiment. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Pentecostalism is often heralded as a movement which thwarts the platonic body-soul/spirit dualism, through its emphasis on embodied spirituality. Recent recognition of the ‘progressive’ pentecostal stream has been used to further prove that pentecostals have evolved from their perceived initial stance of ‘otherworldliness’. However, by looking at the history of classical pentecostalism and its contemporary ‘progressive’ expression in England, I argue in this thesis that pentecostalism has been characterised by a tension between a pneumatic dualism and a pneumatic integralism in relation to human embodiment. By pneumatic dualism, I propose that the Spirit is encountered by many pentecostals historically and in the present, as one who engages the human body in its physiological sense for the sake of healing and to deepen personal piety and religiosity. However, though the Spirit engages the body in this limited sense, she is not commonly identified with the problems of body politics in the church or the world whether in the matter of class, gender or racial injustice. In this thesis, I show that there has been a consistent minority within classical pentecostalism in the USA and the UK whose theological ethics have been informed by pneumatic integralism, within which the Holy Spirit’s presence is expected to liberate aspects of human embodiment beyond the narrowly ‘religious’, including in political terms. For this minority within pentecostalism, the Holy Spirit is recognised as one who attends to the oppressions which stems from the racialising, gendering and classing of human bodies, and who calls the church to respond. I argue that an integrated pneumatology in relation to the human person can be seen in Jesus’ resurrection by the Spirit. The retention of Jesus’ scars post-resurrection offers a basis for pentecostal ethics in which attentiveness to oppression and the practice of solidarity with the marginalised become markers of the Spirit-baptised.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: Other
Other Funders: St Luke's Foundation, The Centre for Theology and Community
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BV Practical Theology
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/11905


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