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Incarnational Social Thought

An Interdisciplinary, Ecumenical Internet Research Center at Duquesne University

Incarnational Social Thought (IST) identifies and interprets various Western and Eastern Christian texts written after the beginning of the Oxford Movement in the Anglican Church in 1833, which have formulated theories of social change based on the ontology of the first four Ecumenical Councils (325-451), Nicene Creed, Definition of Chalcedon, and Athanasian Creed, as expounded by classic Greek patristic texts.

IST will examine these and similar documents of the undivided Church in the light of historical perspectives like Christian Sociology, Christian Social Thought, and Radical Orthodoxy. It will also interpret them from philosophical methods such as Hegel’s dialectic of difference and identity, critical theory, and postmodernism.

The Incarnation of the Word (John 1:14) underlies the events of salvation history reported in the Gospels. Both this sacred history and the Chalcedonian dialectic of the two natures of Christ that arises from it require the pursuit of social justice. Christ’s human nature includes all humankind and is thus inherently social. His divine nature, by becoming flesh, affirms and enhances the value of matter, including the materiality of human culture. Consequently, it is the duty of every Christian to promote the physical as well as the spiritual well being of humankind.

The purpose of IST is to awaken praxis out of the theories it examines, not to be mainly “an activity for academics remote in academic ghettoes,” as Kenneth Leech calls them, “but an activity for Christians at the street level” (as quoted in Andrew Bradstock and Christopher Rowland, eds., Radical Christian Writings [Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2002], 327).

Co-Directors: C. Don Keyes, Professor of Philosopy, Duquesne University, and John Orens, Professor of History, George Mason University.

Eastern Orthodox Associates: Bogdan Bucur, Assistant Professor of Theology, Duquesne University, and John D. Jones, Professor of Philosophy, Marquette University

Anglican Associates: Kenneth Leech

Fellowship of St. Alban & St. Sergius