Theology without Words: Theology in the Deaf Community, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Theology without Words

Theology in the Deaf Community, 1st Edition

By Wayne Morris


198 pages

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This book is a study of a Christian theology without words, focussing on theology in the Deaf Community. Deaf people's first and preferred method of communication is not English or any other spoken language, but British Sign Language - a language that cannot be written down. Deaf people of faith attend church on a regular basis, profess faith in God and have developed unique approaches to doing theology. While most Western theology is word-centred and is either expressed through or dependent on written texts, theology in the Deaf Community is largely non-written. This book presents and examines some of that theology from the Deaf Community and argues that written texts are not necessary for creative theological debate, a deep spirituality or for ideas about God to develop.


Theology without Words is not only an original contribution to Disability Studies, but also offers a fascinating insight into a silent world where meaning and faith are alive and well without speech. John M. Hull, Emeritus Professor of Religious Education, University of Birmingham and Honorary Professor of Practical Theology, Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education, UK Theology without Words is a well written book and challenges 'mainstream' theology to take more notice of other theologies, particularly the story-telling nature of Deaf theology. Revd. Cathy Nightingale, Chaplain among Deaf People and Team Vicar, Diocese of Manchester, Church of England The theology of disability needs thinkers who are careful and rigorous, yet thoughtful and creative. Wayne Morris is all of these things. In this challenging and provocative book Morris not only opens our eyes to new perspectives on a practical theology of deafness, he also provides deep methodological and practical insights into how the field of disability can and should be researched and precisely why it might be important that this is done well. This is an important book. John Swinton, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care, King's College, University of Aberdeen, UK ’Morris’ book is a valuable, well-researched combination of theological analysis and ethnographic studies and is an important contribution to the growing field of theology and disability studies. This book is practical theology at its finest and can be read profitably by theological scholars and church professionals alike.’ Religious Studies Review ’… for readers without experience of the deaf community Theology Without Words provides a window through which that community may begin to be seen and to be better valued for its uniqueness.’ Theology 'This study, an important addition to the Practical Theology series, is also a valuable contribution to the field of Disability Studies. … I found that the most

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction: 'In the beginning was the Word'; Part I The Deaf Community and Their Language: A sense of deaf identity; Talking with you hands: issues in British Sign Language. Part II In Search of Deaf Theology: Developing appropriate research methods; Deafining and doing theology; 'Anyone who has ears, Let them hear…' …but what about deaf people? Part III Theology Without Words: Theology without words: ecclesiology and liturgy; Deaf in the image of the deaf God; Conclusion: 'so many other things'; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Wayne Morris is Senior Lecturer in Theology at the University of Chester. He was previously National Coordinator of Church Action on Disability and has worked alongside Deaf people in the churches and education in the UK for 10 years. He is co-author (with Roy McCloughry) of Making a World of Difference: Christian Reflections on Disability (2002)

About the Series

Explorations in Practical, Pastoral and Empirical Theology

Theological reflection on the church’s practice is now recognised as a significant element in theological studies in the academy and seminary. Routledge's series in practical, pastoral and empirical theology seeks to foster this resurgence of interest and encourage new developments in practical and applied aspects of theology worldwide. This timely series draws together a wide range of disciplinary approaches and empirical studies to embrace contemporary developments including: the expansion of research in empirical theology, psychological theology, ministry studies, public theology, Christian education and faith development; key issues of contemporary society such as health, ethics and the environment; and more traditional areas of concern such as pastoral care and counselling.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Theology