Prolonging the incarnation: towards a reappropriation of Ivan Illich for Christian mission and life together

Ewell, Samuel Earl (2014). Prolonging the incarnation: towards a reappropriation of Ivan Illich for Christian mission and life together. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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On the basis of my experience as a U.S. national living as a missionary in Brazil from 2003-2010, this thesis explores cultural, political, and ethical questions related to Christian mission, by reappropriating the life and thought of Ivan Illich. This thesis is an exercise in doing theology with and after Illich. One of the aims of my thesis is to respond to a ‘research gap’ in relation to Illich in the field of theology. In reappropriating Illich for contemporary theology, my thesis is two-fold. First, I bring his explicitly theological commentary (focused on the Incarnation) together with his earlier social criticism (focused on conviviality)" arguing that they operate in tandem as expressions of “Incarnational Christianity.” Second, I show that he offers a compelling contribution to contemporary accounts of Christian mission, with practical implications for incarnational mission. Illich’s three-fold contribution, I argue, relates to: his understanding of the incarnational basis of mission; his diagnosis of the social conditions which undermine and corrupt this incarnational movement; his insights regarding the cultivation of conviviality as a response to wider social concerns, such as economic and ecological crises, as a means for reclaiming the freedom of living in hope and of “prolonging the Incarnation.”

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Philosophy, Theology and Religion, Department of Theology and Religion
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BR Christianity


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