Kenosis & Ascent: The Trajectory of the Self in the Writings of John Milbank and Rowan Williams

Ryan Green

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This work is a piece of constructive theology that explores the thought of Rowan Williams and John Milbank in charting the progress and dislocations of the self: its contemporary expressions, its premodern versions and future projections. In this thesis the self is seen to be constructed through a new emphasis on culture – language, relationality, history and community – and gift. Indeed, the very giftedness of the self is to be discerned in the ‘constructedness’ of its identities as it encounters the eternal in time and in history and gift is discovered through the limits of human language and desire. The twin themes of kenosis and ascent shape the argument in each chapter as this thesis moves from contemporary iterations of the self, back into patristic visions of the self, into a dialogue with Vico and Hegel, and finally into the practice of the Church as ‘an arena of the soul’ and the self’s distance from and mirroring of the Trinity. In this theological portrait of the self, a new kind of ‘human making’ (culture) is imagined that is both kenotic and theurgic, as human articulations of the self echo and anticipate the creative activity of the divine.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
  • Myers, Benjamin, Principal Supervisor
Award date01 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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