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A prophet of this world? A defence of Don Cupitt

Leaves, Nigel (2000) A prophet of this world? A defence of Don Cupitt. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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For the last thirty years the philosopher-theologian, Don Cupitt, has been at the cutting-edge of theological debate provoking a wide variety of responses from both critics and admirers. It is the aim of this thesis to demystify and defend this controversial, original, radical and contemporary Christian writer.

I will show the route (Chapters I and 2) which Cupitt has taken from his most debated book, Taking Leave of God, to the present-day providing insights as to the reasons for his embracing a pro jet fleuve - "a journey without any forechosen destination." I will counter his critical realist opponents who argue that Cupitt's writings are flawed and that without belief in an objective God, he (and those who follow him) cannot create ethics (Chapter 3) or religion (Chapter 4) that is meaningful for people. I will argue (Chapter 5) that his espousal of theological non-realism is a worldwide phenomenon. In particular, I will highlight that the growth of the Sea of Faith Networks is because his ideas resonate with ordinary people. Moreover, I will reveal that there is a highly significant number of both academic and lay theologians now producing a corpus of non-realist literature that not only complements what Cupitt has done, but also is "post-Cupitt." In a final Chapter I will give some pointers as to the future direction of Cupitt's writings.

It is my contention, then, that Cupitt' s writings are too important to be dismissed as off-beat or objectionable, and that they are of great significance to many people in enabling them to create a "faith for the future." Rather than be a destroyer of people's faith, it is my aim to defend Cupitt as one who has allowed them to find "liberation" from the many forms of realism that have kept them in oppression.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University’s Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Victorin-Vangerud, Nancy
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