Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Hinze, Bradford E.

Second Advisor

Copeland, M. S.

Third Advisor

Dabney, D. L.


What does it mean to be a Christian self? This question could be pursued indirectly through various other questions such as Who am I? To what community and communal goals am I committed? and Why am I so committed? But there is a danger here that these questions might be posed as if an uncommitted self went out of itself to choose communities and goals. The postmodern critique of the subject enjoins us to ask first not Who am I? but Who are we? Ultimately, the question about the "we" is a question about our history and tradition: What is our history? Just as importantly, it is a question about our relationship to that history expressed in the question Why does it matter that we have a certain history and tradition? I suggest that these are the questions of ordinary believers: Who am I, a Christian who is also heir to the Enlightenment? What does the Judeo-Christian story mean for me-not merely as an allegory to be picked up or rejected, but as constitutive of my very being? And how might a "Christian" understanding of selfhood relate to the self as understood in other communities? Is a Christian understanding of selfhood normative in any sense that extends beyond the bounds of the actual Christian community?...



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