The trinitarian gift unfolded: sacrifice, resurrection, communion

Griffiths, John Mark Ainsley (2015) The trinitarian gift unfolded: sacrifice, resurrection, communion. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Contentious unresolved philosophical and anthropological questions beset contemporary gift theories. What is the gift? Does it expect, or even preclude, some counter-gift? Should the gift ever be anticipated, celebrated or remembered? Can giver, gift and recipient appear concurrently? Must the gift involve some tangible ‘thing’, or is the best gift objectless? Is actual gift-giving so tainted that the pure gift vaporises into nothing more than a remote ontology, causing unbridgeable separation between the gift-as-practised and the gift-as-it-ought-to-be? In short, is the gift even possible?

Such issues pervade scholarly treatments across a wide intellectual landscape, often generating fertile inter-disciplinary crossovers whilst remaining philosophically aporetic. Arguing largely against philosophers Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion and partially against the empirical gift observations of anthropologist Marcel Mauss, I contend in this thesis that only a theological – specifically trinitarian – reading liberates the gift from the stubborn impasses which non-theological approaches impose.

That much has been argued eloquently by theologians already, most eminently John Milbank, yet largely with a philosophical slant. I develop the field by demonstrating that the Scriptures, in dialogue with the wider Christian dogmatic tradition, enrich discussions of the gift, showing how creation, which emerges ex nihilo in Christ, finds its completion in him as creatures observe and receive his own perfect, communicable gift alignment. In the ‘gift-object’ of human flesh, believers rejoicingly discern Christ receiving-in-order-to-give and giving-in-order-to-receive, the very reciprocal giftedness that Adamic humanity spurned. Moreover, the depths of Christ’s crucified self-giving and the heights of resurrectional glory, culminating in the Spirit’s eternal communion, convey sin-bound creatures into the new creation, towards their deified end, through liturgical mediation which reveals true giftedness. The gift is thus no aporetic embarrassment but the means of entry into and – more significantly – the very texture of the new, eucharistic creation.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Oliver, S.
Keywords: Theology of the Gift, Reciprocity, Gift-Exchange, Trinity, Creation, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Sacrifice, Self-Giving, Kenosis, Resurrection, Communion, Sacraments, Baptism, Eucharist, Deification, Ethics, Scripture, St. Augustine of Hippo, Maximus the Confessor, St. Thomas Aquinas, Nicholas of Cusa, Marcel Mauss, Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Marion, Hans urs von Balthasar, René Girard, Joseph Ratzinger, John Milbank, Rowan Williams, Graham Ward, Antonio López
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal theology
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Humanities
Item ID: 29014
Depositing User: Griffiths, John
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2015 09:40
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 17:05

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