The Fullness of Time: Christological Interventions into Scientific Modernity
As a work of Christian dogmatic theology, this dissertation proceeds from the primary theological claim that human existence in time is determined by the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. It also examines how the predominant accounts of time in the modern West have been affected by, and produced by, claims of scientific authority. The implications of these accounts are not only a matter of abstract doctrinal and philosophical reflection. Instead, they have had, and continue to have, concrete ramifications for human life together. They have been death-dealing rather than life-giving, characterized by a set of temporal pathologies that participate at the deepest level in marking some lives as expendable.
There are four particular pathologies that this project addresses in turn. The first is the mystification of theology by questions of human origins, especially as those questions are addressed by figures of scientific authority. The second is the problem of progress and politicized eschatology, in which securing a desired vision of the future becomes a human project. The third is temporal distancing, in which some human beings are marked as temporally retrograde or outside of history. The fourth, and final, problem addressed is the Hegelian perspective outside of time from which time is evaluated.
This dissertation offers a set of Christological temporal recalibrations through a reading of Søren Kierkegaard and Karl Barth, highlighting the ways that both figures rejected an approach to time that is not coincidentally intertwined with a racialized account of history, and with the co-opting of Christianity by the modern Western state. It also suggests how the liturgical calendar may, and may not, provide Christians with the formational resources to think differently about their own time, and about their neighbors.
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