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Laney Graduate School

Emory College

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The Role of Baptismal Water at the Vigil of Easter in the Liturgical Generation of Eco-theology


Stewart, Benjamin McAllister (2010)
Dissertation (317 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Adviser: Saliers, Don E
Committee Members: Flueckiger, Joyce ; McDougall, Joy ; Lathrop, Gordon (Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia);
Research Fields: Religion, General
Keywords: Easter Vigil; Baptism; Ecology; Water; Cognitive science; Conceptual metaphor; Eco-theology; Gordon W. Lathrop; Alexander Schmemann; Aidan Kavanagh; Kevin W. Irwin; Image schema; Ethnography; Liturgical theology
Program: Laney Graduate School, Religion
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/7mckz

Abstract

This dissertation explores the role of baptismal water at the Easter Vigil in cultivating responsible eco-theological orientation. Three sets of sources are examined, including twentieth century liturgical theology concerned with the eco-theological and cosmic dimensions of baptismal water at the Easter Vigil, accounts in cognitive science of the meaning-generative character of water, and an ethnographic account of Easter Vigil baptisms at one local congregation. The examination of liturgical theologians especially focuses on the work of Kevin W. Irwin, Aidan Kavanagh, Gordon W. Lathrop, and Alexander Schmemann, and discerns in their work some common proposals for the reform of baptismal rites at the Easter Vigil. In an analysis of cognitive scientific studies of water as a source domain, the image schematic structures of water are outlined largely by way of the CONTAINER and SOURCE-PATH-GOAL image schemas, with a focus on the significance of entailments peculiar to the source domain of water. The ethnographic account details the place of baptismal water in the significance ascribed to Easter Vigil baptisms in one congregation. Building on a synthetic analysis of the liturgical-theological, cognitive scientific, and ethnographic accounts, three practices are explored in detail for their capacity to foster responsible eco-theological orientation at the baptismal water of the Easter Vigil: praying in thanksgiving over the baptismal water, the act of baptismal washing, and extra-liturgical engagement with local watersheds.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION.....1

CHAPTER 1: LITURGICAL THEOLOGIANS AND THE WATER: THE ECO-THEOLOGICAL ROLE OF BAPTISMAL WATER AT THE EASTER VIGIL.....12

CHAPTER 2: BODIES, IMAGE SCHEMAS, AND MEANING IN RITUAL.....63

CHAPTER 3: WATER AND COGNITION IN COGNITIVE SCIENCE.....93

CHAPTER 4: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BAPTISMAL WATER AT THE EASTER VIGIL IN ONE LOCAL CONGREGATION.....144

CHAPTER 5: WATERS AT A CONFLUENCE: LITURGICAL THEOLOGY, ETHNOGRAPHY, AND COGNITIVE SCIENCE.....209

CHAPTER 6: THREE PRACTICES FOR ECO-THEOLOGICAL ORIENTATION AT THE WATER OF THE EASTER VIGIL.....249

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