Some Aspects of Christology: A Dialogical Approach From an African Perspective With Special Reference to the Theology of Otto Weber

Bisem, Peter K. C. arap (1991) Some Aspects of Christology: A Dialogical Approach From an African Perspective With Special Reference to the Theology of Otto Weber. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Otto Weber's dialogical Christology distinguishes itself in not only offering a framework that eliminates the problem of a one-sided emphasis on incarnational Christology over that of the Cross, the 'above' over that of the 'below' by correlating both, but also as one in which there is an exemplification of the Christological discourse in its character of a continuous dialogue and critical engagement with predecessors and contemporaries; in which the particular or contextual finds continuity and critique in the universal, the cultural in the biblical, and one in which the concern to do justice to the inner dynamic in the Christian witness do not conceal the variety of its representation. Recent Christological discussions and debates show the recognition of the problem and shortcomings of a one-sided approach and the stress on one aspect against others. But few attempts seem to have been made to address the subject in a way that this is overcome and what belongs to the very nature of Christological discourse is exemplified. Hence the concern to do so in this attempt. In order to set Otto Weber's contribution in perspective. Chapter One examines the context and intention of his theology. This starts with a panorama of the theological trends in the German Protestantism of his upbringing; highlights on the theological crisis of the 1920s resulting from the experiences of the First World War and the emergence of dialectic theology; a process which culminated in Hitler's rise to power and the re-examination of the central question of the criterion of Christian witness and theology; the shift from the ontological question for theology to the relationship between revelation and history. After a brief biographical sketch in Chapter two, there is an examination of Otto Weber's background anthropology in Chapter Three. An undertaking that shows his concern to align the Christian acknowledgement of God's Lordship in faith with the character of Christian conduct and experience. The over-riding thesis being that the person and event of Jesus Christ exemplifies what humanity really is before God. In Chapter four is a preoccupation with Otto Weber's Christology. The immediate concern is an outline of his aim, method and structure of representation. This involves an analysis of 'above' and 'below' approaches to Christology, the former exemplifying classical Christology's concern to speak of the reality of God's prior superiority and majesty. And yet the criticism that is directed to its exponents such as Karl Barth is whether adequate attention has been paid to the fact that God's majesty is encountered solely in his condescension. Contemporary formulations of Christology exemplify the dominance of the latter. First with the quest of the historical Jesus school and with Wolfhart Pannenberg's conception of Christology as an inquiry into what Jesus was, but also with Christologies of the Cross. But the criticism and adoption of the correlative approach by Weber is given by the fact that the event of Jesus Christ do25not exemplify God as 'solely above' or 'solely below' but rather the God of man. Then there is the dialogical and discussive treatment of the Biblical witness to Jesus Christ, the examination of the whole question of Christ and history, and the Christology of the Church then and now. The basic thesis that emerges from these, and one which serves as a critique of traditional Christology right through to the ontemporary period, is that what one encounters in Jesus Christ is not a central point in a system, a model of human possibilities as was the case during the enlightenment, or a source of a new self-understanding which dominated the nineteenth and twentieth century through existentialist philosophy, but the salvation event of Jesus Christ, God's act of confrontation with the human creature. Chapter five, which serves as the beginning of the second part of the thesis, therefore, examines the Christianization of Africa; the experience of missionary Christianity and theology, the challenge of emancipation spirit and the resultant quest for African theology in the diversity of its representation. In Chapter Six is an examination of the emergent perspectives in Africa's contemporary theology. This includes exposure to the challenge of indigenization and the question of appropriate methodology which unites both the witness and the theology of the Christian faith; and the treatment of the dominant themes that have come to characterise this particular perspective. And it is within this context that the examination of that which is the centre of religious authority sets in perspective the treatment of the question of Christology in Chapter Seven. The insights gained from the two parts of the thesis are applied in a synthesized summary in Chapter Eight; the concluding reflection exemplifying the challenge of that greater dialogue; the confrontation and fellowship of God with us in Jesus the Christ. One where it can be said, 'It is no longer because of your words , we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the World' (John 4: 42 - RSV).

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Adviser: George Newlands
Keywords: Theology
Date of Award: 1991
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1991-75675
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2019 18:58
Last Modified: 19 Nov 2019 18:58
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/75675

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