Nevertheless I Am Continually With You: A Cosmopolitan and Theopoetic Reframing of Pastoral Theology

Bruno Mattos Linhares, Jr.
Pastoral Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
September, 2008
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The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate a practice of pastoral theology that takes into account cosmopolitan, intercultural and inter-religious perspectives. I contend that one way to do this is through a process of re-mythologization of personal life stories, inspired particularly by the literary school of Magic Realism.

Chapter one introduces the preferred method of investigation, namely, one of structural uniformity as proposed by Donald Capps. This method is derived from art theory and simultaneously emphasizes techniques of convergence and juxtaposition between divergent perspectives. The chapter also presents a brief overview of the development of myths in human history and reclaims the usefulness of myths for understanding social and religious frameworks of individuals and populations.

Chapter two explores some works of Donald Capps, focusing particularly on his hermeneutical approach to biblical interpretation, based on the work of Paul Ricœur, as a resource for the interpretation of human “texts.” I apply those elements in a refrained and hopeful perspective for retelling problematic personal and communal stories.

Chapter three focuses on Rubem Alves, concentrating on the second and third phases of his work, those related to theology of liberation and his later exploration of theopoetics influenced by Magic Realism. In contrast to his first works, which engaged topics of human liberation and the maintenance of hope from a socio-political perspective, in his later theopoetic phase Alves advocates liberation and maintenance of hope through the telling and understanding of personal stories.

The fourth chapter draws on a personal encounter with a survivor of the Holocaust to construct an argument for the formative importance of the act of telling a story. It is precisely in presenting one's own perspective on significant life events that personal meaning can be sought, found and understood.

Lastly, as an appendix I present a translation of an important text by Rubem Alves that previously has not appeared in English. This text explains his shift from the language of pure theology to theopoetry.

ISSN: 2374-4103