Arts & Humanities

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    The Power of Homeplace: The Hospitality of Celtic Christianity in Wendell Berry’s “Watch With Me”
    (2020-05-01) Dimmick, Emily
    Wendell Berry is well known as a writer and scholar on the importance of place and community in daily life; while his works speak to the importance of caring for a place, the way he lives in turn influences the way he writes. For Berry, the experience and scholarship of place and community go hand in hand, each affecting the other. For this reason, it is logical to look at Berry’s own homeplace to see how it shapes his writings; his emphasis on the value of place should lead to an analysis of his place. While scholars have looked to the community of Henry County, Kentucky-Berry’s lifelong home-for answers on how place outside of Berry’s writing has affected his perception of place within his writing, there is another community that Berry is directly connected to, one that has not yet been explored in context of Berry’s ideals of home and community: Ireland. Berry’s ancestors hail from Ireland, the land of rolling green hills that produced the place-and-community-orientated tradition of Celtic Christianity. Ireland, and therefore the traditions of Celtic Christianity that have so greatly shaped the culture of the Emerald Isle, forms part of Berry’s place, though removed a few generations.
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    Open Theism as a Christian Paradigm: Situating Open Theology within Evangelicalism
    (2017-05-05) Nelsen, Anthony
    While the traditional understanding of omniscience claims that God possesses divine foreknowledge, it will be argued that open theism presents a stronger case for the nature of God. Christians must examine the relational dynamic shared between God and humans that is revealed in Scripture. Therefore, Scripture needs to be brought into question and as a result, Christians must use reason, tradition, and experience to better understand the God revealed in Scripture. In this paper, I will address the following topics: The traditional view of Scripture and the image of God this interpretation has produced; I will then assert passages from an open view of God and this interpretation and establish the uncertainty of Scripture; next I will examine the logical understanding of the open view for God; finally, I will situate open theology within evangelical Christianity. Therefore, an analysis of Scripture and reason combined will reveal a relational God who is influenced by human decision making and contains an open view of the universe in line with evangelical Christianity. The destiny of human action cannot be known by God for certain. The traditional Christian view has assumed God’s sovereign omnipotence and omniscience over creation, with claims rooted in Scripture. In this view, God possesses divine foreknowledge—knowing all that has happened, is happening, and will happen in the future. However, this understanding of omnipotence and omniscience leads to unilateral control, resulting in debilitating effects on God’s divine characteristics. Christians claim to believe in an omnibenevolent God who cares for his creation in an intentional, and specific way. The traditional understanding claims the God revealed in Scripture possess divine foreknowledge and divine sovereignty over creation. As a result, how does a God who is omnibenevolent, and knows the future of human action, create the reality in which humans currently live? The more important question is whether this idea is faithful to the overall biblical portrait of God. Given these ideas, both the traditional view of Scripture and the open view will need to be further explored.
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    Returning to a Childlike Faith: Cultivating Trust, Wonder, and Play as Virtue and Worship
    (2017-05-11) Dearduff, Joseph
    Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? A child, Jesus says: For unless one turns and becomes like a child, she shall never enter the kingdom of heaven. He who humbles himself like a child shall be greatest in the Lord’s kingdom. These are the words of the Lord. Children are beloved by Christ and adored by today’s adult. Books like J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Lois Lowry’s The Giver and films like Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, classic pieces of artistic beauty in the genre of coming-of-age-fiction, possess a certain nostalgic appreciation, a reminiscent familiarity, for the celebrations and decimations of the adolescent protagonist’s story. Dr. Seuss and Shel Silvertsein remain timeless, with their characters and storylines anchored in the memories of those long- and far-removed from the age when their noses were buried in those outrageously illustrated pages. Adults dream of when time was abundant, responsibilities were fictitious, and money was nothing other than colored paper passed between finger-nail-chewed hands during “Monopoly Night.”
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    Remembering the Guatemalan Civil War
    (2016-05-12) Gray, Maria
    In Guatemala, the land of eternal spring, the topic of their thirty-six year Civil War (1961-1996) is almost taboo. It is certainly not discussed in the cafes, eco-attractions, and Mayan historical and archeological sites attracting thousands of tourists. Still, the track mark of the Civil War is easy to see if you know where to search. While living in Guatemala, my Spanish tutors tearfully shared with my fellow students and me the stories of the people they knew and family members they had lost. They are still scarred by the actions of the government-supported death squads. Despite the twenty years since the conclusion of the war, they are disgruntled by the lack of change that has come to Guatemalan society in that time. The poor are still poor and the government is still corrupt. When an army truck one day drove down the streets of Antigua, I witnessed the visibly automatic response of heightened apprehension and anxiety that still lingers.
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    William Apess, Pequot Pastor: A Native American ReVisioning of Christian Nationalism in the Early Republic
    (2016-04-30) Goodnight, Ethan
    In the opening chapters of his monumental work Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville observed how "the social condition of the Americans is eminently democratic; this [democratic condition] was its character at the foundation of the colonies, and it is still more strongly marked at the present day."1 Tocqueville here is clearly alluding to the settlement of New England by the Pilgrims and Puritans in the 1620s. Tocqueville's narrative of a democratic national heritage established in Protestant faith was one aspect of a greater early Republic campaign to reimagine colonial and revolutionary American history. As a cultural and political project emanating from the revivals of the second Great Awakening, as well as the fears of political division, numbers of lettered men and women were "reinventing" the United States as a Christian nation. Outspoken Christian nationalists like Justice Joseph Story joined Tocqueville in solidifying the Pilgrims and the Puritans as the foundation of religious and political liberty found in antebellum America."
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    Literacy in The Book Thief: Complicated Matters of People, Witnessing, Death
    (2015-04-16) Lee, Grace
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: Evidently adolescent Holocaust literature explores a variety of themes, such as coming of age during the time of Nazi Germany either as a Jew or as a Gentile helping Jews, the fact that there were Germans who had ties with Jews but did not take any action to help and stood by passively, and also the terrible experiences the Jews were suffering under the Nazi rule in concentration camps. The one theme adolescent Holocaust literature seems to fail to explore is how literacy helps those who are in Nazi Germany and the Jews. One such text that explores the theme of literacy and the power of literacy for Gentiles and Jews in Nazi Germany is The Book Thief.
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    More Than a Slave Woman
    (2015-05-08) Ullrich, Ronald
    In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content: In Galatians 4, Paul, using allegory, famously addressed those who were trying to earn their salvation. Abraham had two sons: one by a slave woman, and another by a free woman; he had one son naturally, and the other supernaturally. Hagar represented those who are born under the Old Covenant, those who live under the law are slaves to the law, trying to earn their salvation. Sarah, on the other hand, represented those who are born according to the Spirit and are free to be sons supernaturally redeemed by God’s grace rather than by their own merit. The problem is not that Paul used Hagar and Sarah here as a metaphor. Before even starting this train of thought, Paul himself says: “These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants” (Gal 4:24). The problem is that Paul’s metaphor has been used wrongly to take precedence in Christian interpretation of Genesis 16 and 21, creating a precedent for allegorizing her to the point where she no longer seems human.
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    “The Same Credit for Our Virtues”: Ida B. Wells-Barnett and the True Black Women of the Anti-Lynching Movement
    (2015-05-15) Conrad, Sarah
    Women of the nineteenth century were expected to live a certain lifestyle that emphasized the ideal that “the true woman's place was unquestionably by her own fireside--as daughter, sister, but most of all as wife and mother.” Women reigned in the domestic sphere and were forced to stay; anything outside the home was the domain of men. It was in these separate spheres where the concept of “true womanhood” first began to take form. The true woman was submissive to her husband, cared for and raised the children, and did not stray outside of her sphere of influence. These women were from the upper and middle classes. However, to be considered a true woman was often the goal for women of all social standings. It was the ideal that society had placed upon them as to how they should act and where their skills were best put to use.
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    Villain or Tragic Hero: Resurrecting the Life of King Saul
    (2014-05) Monroe, Charles
    Perhaps one of the most forgotten and unappreciated stories from the Old Testament is that concerning the first king of Israel. Saul’s successor, David, overshadows his rival in the amount of literary work completed concerning the character and life of the “man after God’s own heart.” There is a disturbing lack of emphasis given to Saul who offers one of the most compelling and scary lessons for the Christ-follower today. Western commentators have been quick to give King Saul short shrift with little apparent regret or mention of his relevance to everyone. Jewish commentators have not succumbed as easily to the overshadowing of David and have given King Saul more thought, depth, and sympathy. Saul’s story should cause the reader’s heart to jump as one realizes that Saul probably started off more humbly, spiritually mature, and wise than they did. His tragic ending does not simply conclude a tale depicting a poor wretch who “didn’t have what it takes,” but his end shows how fragile our faith is when suffering under the weight of pride, self-gain, and irreverence. This thesis will assert that King Saul has often been ignored/under – or at least - interpreted in the Christian west, when compared with his treatment in Jewish interpretation. His story contains a compelling, relevant lesson for today’s believers.
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    Speech as Action: The Restoration of Voice in The Kitchen God’s Wife
    (2014-04-14) Wade, Kerry
    Like her internationally acclaimed novel, The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan’s second novel, The Kitchen God’s Wife uses oral narration to address the intergenerational and intercultural struggles of Chinese-American mothers and daughters. Instead of viewing the goal of Winnie’s narration as creating a union with her daughter, I would like to concentrate on the act of speaking itself as a means of reclaiming identity. It is through her speech that Winnie acts to reclaim her personhood that had been silenced by male and cultural oppression. The Speech Act Theory, championed by John L. Austin and further developed by John R. Searle, uses the concept of illocutionary acts to show how speech is active not passive. This theory recognizes the ability of language to do more than simply describe reality and recount events. "It was for too long the assumption of philosophers that the business of a ‘statement’ can only be to ‘describe’ some state of affairs, or to ‘state some fact’, which it must do either truly or falsely. (…) It has come to be commonly held that many utterances which look like statements are either not intended at all, or only intended in part, to record or impart straight forward information about the facts" (Austin). Austin offered a new insight that language is action and can, and does, result in action. Language does not only describe and bring understanding, but it can also have a performative function. The Speech Act Theory, specifically the concept of successful illocutionary speech acts, expands on the idea of speech as an action that has the ability to change reality.
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    Loved into Wholeness, Made Whole to Love: Discovering the Animus in C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces
    (2013-04-01) Macfadyen, Sarah E.
    To be beautiful, whole, and truly loved are the longings of Orual, the protagonist and narrator of C. S. Lewis’s final novel, Till We Have Faces (1956). The process by which she is able to realize these desires is illustrated throughout the novel through the image of being given a face—that is, a complete psyche or soul, —and Orual must know and accept this face before she can stand in the presence of the gods; the question, “How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?” (Lewis, p. 257) is central to her spiritual and psychological development. While the question seems rather obvious, the process that it prompts is certainly not easy or painless. Orual’s narration traces a highly complex process of development that, without close examination, is easily misunderstood. As the culmination of Lewis’s fictional works and, in many ways, a capstone to his life and career, Till We Have Faces is a beautiful and intricately woven tale that can give abundant enjoyment, but which also deserves and requires exacting analysis. A method by which to delve into the world of Orual’s mind is to study and apply the psychoanalytic theory of Swiss psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung to Orual’s developmental process and journey to completion. Orual’s personal and spiritual growth is inextricably connected to her struggle with gender and the conflicting qualities existing within her unconscious mind; by recognizing these qualities and seeking to trace their movement from her unconscious to her conscious mind by applying Jung’s theory of archetypes—and, more specifically, of the animus—it is possible to discern how Orual, with the direction of the gods, is able to gain a face and to commune with the gods as a beautiful, complete, loved, and fully individuated character.