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Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI): A study in ecumenical theology and praxis.

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

The place of theology within the EAPPI programme is investigated, initially noting symptoms of tensions between theology and praxis. Using the methods of historical inquiry - textual analysis, empirical data collection, biblical and theological questioning - the issue is shown to be much deeper, namely that “theology” has been compromised at source and praxis is therefore affected. The central question becomes how to restore EAPPI’s use of theology to its critical potential. Materials specific to EAPPI assist the research: World Council of Churches (WCC) and EAPPI archives; semi-structured interviews of Ecumenical Accompaniers in Hebron, Bethlehem, East Jerusalem, Jayyus, Tulkarm and Yanoun; and the researcher’s experience of serving on an EAPPI Policy Group. Christian Peacemaker Teams and Peace Brigades International have helped to shape EAPPI accompaniment. Palestine/Israel’s historical background is considered in relation to EAPPI, as well as key developments in the missiology of the WCC. EAPPI presents a stance that can be described as a secularised version of the Gospel. The many different religious framings of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict demand a theological response that requires EAPPI to have an ecumenical theology. A theological reflection chapter supplies biblical and theological reflection aiming to enhance the position of theology within EAPPI. Contextual and global theology are represented through writings of Munib Younan and Miroslav Volf. The dissertation concludes on the basis of the evidence of earlier chapters, that there is a risk to EAPPI praxis if it continues to underplay theology, neglecting a vital source of critique that is capable of shaping praxis. When partisan theology is rejected, the alternative is not “theology” that is subordinate to a pre-determined narrative, or “no theology” but an ecumenical theology that is appropriate to a conflicted, multi-faith environment. The contours of such a theology are offered.
Original languageEnglish
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Award date2018

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