Tragedy is a genre for exploring loss and suffering, and this book traces the vital areas where tragedy has shaped and been a resource for Christian theology. There is a history to the relationship of theology and tragedy; tragic literature has explored areas of theological interest, and is present in the Bible and ongoing theological concerns. Christian theology has a long history of using what is at hand, and the genre of tragedy is no different.
What are the merits and challenges of placing the central narrative of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ in tragic terms? This study examines important and shared concerns of theology and tragedy: sacrifice and war, rationality and order, historical contingency, blindness, guilt, and self-awareness. Theologians such as Reinhold Niebuhr, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Martin Luther King Jr., Simone Weil, and Boethius have explored tragedy as a theological resource. The historical relationship of theology and tragedy reveals that neither is monolithic, and both remain diverse and unstable areas of human thought.
This fascinating book will be of keen interest to theologians, as well as scholars in the fields of literary studies and tragic theory.
"For him [Kevin Taylor], tragic literature reveals fundamental structures of human life and experience that inevitably affect the shape of God’s work within creation. Incarnation is already God’s participation in tragedy - long before Christ undergoes his passion - and the communication of the Christian faith across subsequent centuries remains mired in tragic ambiguity. This theological thesis drives the text from start to finish, and it’s a thesis worth engaging."
- Janna Gonwa, Yale University, Reading Religion
"Incarnation is already God’s participation in tragedy—long before Christ undergoes his passion—and the communication of the Christian faith across subsequent centuries remains mired in tragic ambiguity. This theological thesis drives the text from start to finish, and it’s a thesis worth engaging."
Janna Gonwa, Reading Religion
1 The Question of Tragedy
2 The Bible and Tragedy
3 Apollo and Rational Coherence
4 Prometheus and the Economics of Sacrifice
5 Philoctetes, Contingency, and Being Onstage
6 Oedipus, the Novel, and Guilt
7 Dionysus and Perception