Writing a Theology of Disabled Humanity
Publication Year: 2013
Literature critic and theologian Timothy J. Basselin consults O’Connor’s life and work to illustrate the profound connections existing between the theme of the grotesque and Christian theology. O’Connor’s own disability, Basselin argues, inspired a theology that leads readers toward greater recognition of God’s activity in a sinfully grotesque world. By combining disability studies, literary critique, and theological reflection, Basselin discovers a new vision for approaching the disabled, the grotesque, and the other in society. Flannery O’Connor reignites O’Connor’s own critiques of the modern affinity for perfection, self-sufficiency, and a clear separation between “good” and “bad.”
Published by: Baylor University Press
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Half Title Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph
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God is a mystery, and it is hard to know which of our efforts in life reach beyond to touch eternity and which will only return to dust. This book may well only be dust, but the process of its creation has surely had eternal consequences. The book’s outgraced me in our first thirteen years of marriage, but I hope to catch up with her at some point in the next fifty years, years ...
1. The Face of the Good Is Grotesque, Too
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Flannery O’Connor was diagnosed with lupus just as she became a professional writer, and she died fourteen years later at the young age of thirty-nine. Five years after diagnosis, she wrote curiously about her illness: “I have never been any-where but sick. In a sense sickness is a place, more instructive than a long trip to Europe, and it’s always a place where there’s ...
2. The Grotesque Good in O’Connor’s Fiction
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The “mud in man” is nothing to be ashamed of. It can produce .uni00A0.uni00A0. the face of God. .uni00A0.uni00A0. To recall this, to recall this incredible There can be little doubt that the primary purpose of the grotesque in O’Connor’s fiction is to hold up a mirror to facades of strength and lay bare the human soul’s deformities. task. Her grotesque characters challenge readers’ perceptions ...
3. Baptizing Modernity
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Like Mary Grace, Mary the mother of Jesus was grotesque. We are not accustomed to thinking of Mary as grotesque. our vision of her purity—sexual, moral, beautiful, loving, all of abled, with only one arm or one eye or with a mental disability that caused her to see “visions”? Was she nearsighted? What ill-did not fit into her culture’s definition of perfection; pure was ...
4. The Image of Christ and a Disability Perspective
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...“I read a lot of theology because it makes my writing bolder.” In Luke 19, Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey a week before his crucifixion. The author did not have to tell his readers that Jesus’ action was in fulfillment of prophecy. They knew. Jesus’ disciples, the Twelve and the others following him on that day, their longing for freedom from oppressors was tangible. As Jesus ...
Postscript: Complications of Language and Representation
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Despite the heavy influence of disability studies upon this book, I have attempted to keep the main text of the book goal has been to reimagine O’Connor’s work from a disability perspective and thereby to offer a new interpretation of her sig-nificance. The danger of my method lies in being misunderstood, discomfort, especially those familiar with disability studies. The ...
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Page Count: 158
Publication Year: 2013