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The Third Yes: Invitation, Response, and Collaboration in Dramatic Theology


The Third Yes: Invitation, Response, and Collaboration in Dramatic Theology

Elias Downey, Martha (2016) The Third Yes: Invitation, Response, and Collaboration in Dramatic Theology. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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EliasDowney_PhD_S2016.pdf - Accepted Version


In this thesis, I position theology and theatre as conversation partners in order to argue that a dynamic, dramatic theology provides a viable and vibrant methodology capable of revealing what Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar identified as the “fire and light” at the heart of theology. This methodology stands firmly on the foundation of revelation through faith, tradition, and reason, but moves beyond this to dramatic encounter and the possibility of participation in the glory of God. At the intersection of theology and theatre I find three Yeses: divine invitation, human response, and divine/human collaboration or synergos. Using Balthasar’s Theo-Drama as a starting point, I engage with both theological and theatrical texts and practices in order to illustrate that the paradigm of gift as well as the aspects of “entering in,” movement, and embodied, live action are found in both disciplines. Four different approaches are utilised to illustrate the third Yes of divine/human collaboration: covenant, the plerosis of incarnation, theatrical and musical improvisation, and the concept of human interconnectivity in twentieth-century philosophy. Two important texts, the biblical book of Job and Luigi Pirandello’s play, Six Characters in Search of an Author, serve as proving grounds for the presence of the third Yes in both theology and theatre. By allowing the dialectic of divine initiative and human responsibility to play out within the context of drama, I seek to make room for a third way, one which is not biased toward either a theology from above or a theology from below, but one which reflects the ongoing dramatic encounter between divine and human actors.

Divisions:Concordia University > School of Graduate Studies > Individualized Program
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Elias Downey, Martha
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Individualized Program
Date:12 April 2016
Thesis Supervisor(s):Allen, Paul and Jamieson, Christine and Sussman, Mark
Keywords:Theology, Methodology, Theatre, Encounter, Job, Balthasar, Pirandello
ID Code:981005
Deposited On:16 Jun 2016 15:54
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:52
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