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Finding a critical space: practical theology, history, and experience

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posted on 2023-08-30, 13:58 authored by Zoë Bennett
This submission for a PhD by Published Work contains a selection of my published work from the period 2002-2012. The submission demonstrates my contribution in the field of practical theology to the quest to find a critical space in the dialectic between tradition and experience. The motor of my work has been the varied character of my context, and the discovery within that context of critical spaces to reflect upon its diversity. The publications are divided into three groups. The first outlines and explores the features of this foundational dialectic, with particular emphases on feminist theology and on the Bible. The second discusses and disseminates my pioneering work in developing the Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology, through a pedagogy in which this dialectic is illuminated. The work on the Professional Doctorate programme, which began in 2003 with the first student intake in 2006, constitutes the professional and practical context in which the majority of the publications submitted have been written. The third group of publications identifies the contribution which my research on John Ruskin’s interpretation of the Bible makes to our understanding of Ruskin and to the discipline of practical theology. The work on Ruskin includes the discovery and discussion of unpublished lectionary annotations and diary material, and analysis of these, both in order to demonstrate the ongoing significance of the Bible to Ruskin, and to understand and categorise Ruskin's biblical interpretation. Ruskin offers an analogue to the contemporary dialectic between experience and text/tradition/Bible. Through this exploration an innovative argument is made for the use of an historical figure in the work of practical theology. Conceptualising the pedagogical philosophy and practice of the Professional Doctorate is inextricably entwined with the research on Ruskin, and together they have given shape and form to the finding of a critical space.



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