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Corpus Christi, To Be Eaten and To Be Written Questioning the Act of Writing in Hadewijch of Antwerp and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

Cho, Min-Ah (2011)
Dissertation (233 pages)
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisers: Jordan, Mark D; Farley, Wendy
Committee Members: Saliers, Don E ; Hall, Pamela M
Research Fields: Religion, General
Keywords: Theology; The Eucharist ; Writing
Program: Laney Graduate School, Religion (Theological Studies)
Permanent url: http://pid.emory.edu/ark:/25593/91909

Abstract

This dissertation presents the Eucharist as both liturgical and discursive space, and the act of writing as an aid to sacramental practice. I first focus my attention on the uneasy paradox of the presence and the absence of Christ's body at the Eucharist. This peculiar mode of Christ's existence at the altar invites both individual Christians and the institutional church to appropriate the Eucharist as a site of struggle, productive of change and the redefinition of ideas of the divine. I then turn to the works of two women writers who represent distinct methods of engaging the body of Christ that are germane to women and ethnic minority believers in the present multicultural context. Hadewijch of Antwerp, the thirteenth-century Beguine mystic, addresses the inevitable conflicts and compromises that occur when individual spiritual practices and institutional systems exert influence upon one another. Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, the Korean immigrant poet and performance artist, exemplifies the struggle to cope with a Christianity rooted in European and male-dominant ideological constructions. The two authors' writings suggest that whereas the institutionally circumscribed meanings of the Eucharist have converged to create metaphors by which Christians configure their identities as Christians, the referential and communal quality of the Eucharist has offered trajectories by which faith communities and individuals reconstruct the past and connect to others. At the level of theory, I examine the notion of sacramentality from Michel de Certeau's heterological perspective, in conversation with classical theologians, mainly Augustine and Aquinas, and contemporary literary theorists Judith Butler and Homi Bhabha. My dissertation opens up the eucharistic body of Christ to diverse and plural communities and describes it as the very place where different fleshes and the desires of individual Christians interact with each other and with the institutional Church. Thus, this work aims to offer a way to explore a new path--a path directed toward networks of individuals and communities rather than a single authority, a path that renews the body of the institutional church by virtue of the presence of diverse, individual Christian bodies.

Table of Contents

CONTENTS


Introduction
I. A Short Epigraph for My Writing about the Body………………………………..1
II. What about the Body of Christ?--The Body To Be Eaten………………………..6
III. What Does the Body of Christ Matter?--The Body and Its Mode of Existence at the Altar… ……………………………………………………………….….....11
IV. Why Not Without the Body of Christ?--The Body as a Communal Space.….18
V. Why Must We Write the Body?--The Body's Trajectory of Modernity……...21
VI. Dissertation Structure and Main Interlocutors
i. Methodological Suggestion (Chapter 1 and 2): Michel de Certeau……26
ii. Two Distinct Examples of Writing the Body of Christ(Chapter 3 and 4): Hadewijch of Antwerp and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha ………..………....31

One: Quest for Heterological Sacramentality: Michel de Certeau…………..….….39
I. The Body, One and Unified: Henry de Lubac….………………………............. 43
II. The Body, Heterogeneous and Dispersive: Michel de Certeau..………...………55
III. The Body To Be Eaten and To Be Written………..………….….……………....68

Two: Writing the Body of Christ, Diversifying the Body of Christ……....................81
I. The Sacrament According to Thomas Aquinas: Suffering with the Body of Christ…………………………………………………………………………87
II. Heterological Sacramentality and Mystical Writing…………………………..…95
III. Writing: The Process of Diversifying the Body of Christ……………………103
IV. Challenges and Further Suggestions……………………………………………110

Three: The Melancholic Body: Hadewijch of Antwerp……..………………...……121
I. Painful Body, Joyful Body…………………………………..………………….127
II. Hadewijch the Melancholic: Insights from Judith Butler………………………132
III. Constitution of Hadewijch's Writing Subject: Multilingualism……………...140
i. Latin Meets the Vernacular……………………………………………..144
ii. Spiritual Authority Meets Intellectual Credence……………………..148
iii. Bridal Mysticism Meets Minnesang …………………………………154

Four: The Indigestible Body: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha…………………………....162
I. Dictee: The Tongue, Daunted, Broken, and Confused………………...…….…170
II. Indigestible Body…………………………………………………………….....176
III. Dispersing the Body: The Body To Be Read...……………………...….…….189

Conclusion: From Another's Fable to My Fable……………………………………205

Bibliography…………….…………….………………………………………….……219

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