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EmptinessFeeling Christian in America$
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John Corrigan

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226237466

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226237633.001.0001

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Emptiness and American Christianities

(p.1) Introduction

John Corrigan

University of Chicago Press

Christian groups in America, committed to the cultivation of a feeling of emptiness and a theological program of self-denial, have defined themselves through a process of via negativa in which they attempt to establish collective identities and a rationale for belonging by detailing what they are not. Disestablishment has abetted that process by creating the conditions for the proliferation of religious groups who serve as foils. Viewing the history of Christianity in America as the promotion of the feeling of emptiness turns our attention from historical narratives that recount the progressive enlargement, refinement, alteration, erasure, and reinvention of a certain core set of principles and beliefs thought to comprise the essence of Christianity. It alternatively evokes fluidity, indefiniteness, contradictoriness, paradox, the anxious construction of appearances, the unreliability of language, and preoccupations with failure and loss.

Keywords:   emptiness, fullness, disestablishment, via negativa, identity, belonging

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