Date of Award

3-1-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Religious and Theological Studies

First Advisor

Theodore M. Vial, Ph.D.

Keywords

Cyberspace, Eucharist, Internet, Media, Religion, Theology

Abstract

This study looks at the Eucharist in cyberspace, beginning with a case study of a faith community who met with controversy after the group shared the ritual in cyberspace. Based on a qualitative study of the practice and its aftermath, the theoretical analysis includes the nature of the Internet itself and its capacity as a location for networked communities; its capacity to operate as a communication medium for a religious ritual; and the involvement of active users.

The users in this case were members of a religious community interested in preserving their Eucharist theological tradition. The first set of major issues revolves around the process of negotiating the manner in which the practice and the use of technology can be reconfigured to accommodate the innovation. Such reconfiguring involves a level of interaction in which the criteria of a networked community for Eucharist can be said to exist. Negotiating a use of the Internet should give attention to aesthetic elements that makes for a robust engagement using the medium. The next set of major issues involve evaluating whether or not a Wesleyan/holiness theology of Eucharist, nuanced by a Calvinistic view of Christ’s presence, would be fitting to an online venue. I explored a creative redeployment of these theological traditions in terms of Eucharist in cyberspace being a networked communication of grace characterized by the agency of the user, who joins other participants in a sacramental encounter with Christ. I analyzed what each piece looked like theologically in tandem with a cultural perspective of the Internet and religious practice in cyberspace. I concluded that there was theological warrant for adapting the Eucharist to cyberspace for a legitimate practice that could fulfill the religious and theological purposes sought by a networked community.

Provenance

Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Janice L. Duce

File size

278 p.

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

Theology, Religion

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